Are you a little old school? Do you love using flashcards? Personally, my answers are yes and yes. I use flashcards constantly for everything from studying in my own classes to writing my “real” lesson plans (the ones I actually use in class which are much smaller and much more to the point than the fancy ones I submit to the district).

Flashcards are great for both learning the vocabulary in a new language and teaching it. Unfortunately, with multiple classes, many, many students, and oftentimes less than optimal storage space, sometimes physical flashcards are not the most ideal resource to use. Especially now, considering that many of us are teaching our students virtually. Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means ever giving up my flashcards, and you shouldn’t either.

Quizlet is a fantastic app that lets teachers and students create their own flashcards and study them in a variety of ways including quizzes, games, spelling, and practice tests. I used Quizlet almost religiously when I was in college and trying to survive upper level Spanish and French classes. I found it incredibly useful. So much so, that when I began teaching English classes I made my students sets of flashcards on Quizlet to study as well. While it worked well in some classes, Quizlet fell a little flat in many of my low-beginner classes. Even though my beginner classes are much more vocabulary heavy than my intermediate or advanced classes, my students simply did not seem interested in using the flashcards on Quizlet. I discovered that, while they were a great resource for me, many of my beginner students lacked the digital literacy (and sometimes the digital interest) to use them. So I had to figure out another way. I still like to make student sets of flashcards with Quizlet, and always encourage them to use them, but I try to reserve it for my intermediate students or my students who express an interest in technology.

For my low beginner and less digitally inclined students, I have began using Google Slides flashcards. The benefits of Google Slide Flashcards include:

  • fitting in seamlessly to my class slides
  • Google Slides has a free flashcard template
  • audio can be inserted
  • easy to download for my students
  • easily shared to Google Classroom
  • they can be downloaded into PDFs (or JPGs) which can then be easily shared by text, WhatsApp, or email. PDFs also don’t require students to have to sign into or navigate any websites.
  • being able to add fun backgrounds and pictures
  • Google Docs flashcards can still be imported onto Quizlet

While there are plenty of reasons that I like using flashcards on Google Slides, the most important reason why it has become a staple in my classroom. It’s accessible. It can be adapted to meet the needs of all types of students. For students with low literacy real photograph and audio clips of the vocabulary words can be used. For students who lack digital literacy or digital interest the PDFs or JPGs can be sent directly to their phones, WhatsApp, or email addresses. For students who are looking to improve their digital literacy it gives them an easy first step. And for everyone in between it’s simply a great resource that they are appreciate. Google Slides are also free for students who wish to create their own slides.

Creating your own flashcards with Google Slides is easy! All you need to create a set of Google Slides for your classroom, is a Google account. Right in the template gallery at the top of the screen there is a flashcard template. Select the template and simply replace the example photos and words. You can add your own photos (without fear of copyright issues if you’ve seen our recent post the Problem with Pictures), audio, videos, charts, or diagrams. Once you’re finished simply share it to your Google Classroom or share the link to whatever learning platform you’re using to teach. If you need to download the flashcards as a PDF, PPT slides, or JPGs, just click file and download.

For a simple tutorial on creating flashcards with Google Slides check out this video on YouTube.

As always, Happy Teaching! LC