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Ed. Magazine

Tool in School: Quizlet

Quizlet has become one of the most used tools these days for teaching and learning.

When 15-year-old Andrew Sutherland created a software program in 2005 to help him study 111 French terms for a test on animals, little did he imagine that the program would eventually become one of the fastest-growing free education tools, with 30 million monthly users from 130 countries.

“Quizlet has absolutely become a valuable tool,” Sutherland says. “In the United States, half of all high school students and a third of all college students use us every month. That’s not something I expected to happen when I made it in high school, and it speaks to how essential it has become.”

Part of the appeal is that Quizlet takes a simple idea — picture paper flash cards — but gives it a modern twist. Online users create study sets (terms and definitions) or use study sets created by others, including classmates. They then have multiple ways to study the information: virtual flashcards or typing in answers to written or audio prompts. There are also two games: match (drag the correct answer) and gravity (type the correct answer as asteroids fall).

The online format is key, he says. “The appeal of a digital learning tool is that it can ask much more dynamic questions than what you can do with paper. Quizlet can figure out what material you’re struggling with and just focus on that. It can also verify what you know and coach you to only stop studying when it thinks you’re ready.”

Recently, they launched Quizlet Live for students to work in teams during class. Teacher feedback was key, he says, but adds, “My favorite type of feedback is hearing from teachers about new-use cases. The other day I was at a chocolate store and wearing my Quizlet shirt. The woman there said she uses Quizlet to train all their new employees about their chocolate. I want that job!”

Ed. Magazine

The magazine of the Harvard Graduate School of Education

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