Website review by Jennifer Sitkin, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2014

Cardkiwi

Basic flashcard tool offers practical rating system

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Grades
6–12 This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Subjects & Skills
Critical Thinking
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Pros: A free tool with an interactive component to help students memorize information.

Cons: Stored sets of cards could be easier to access.

Bottom Line: While flashcards can only take students' learning so far, some may find the rating system a beneficial study aid.

Teachers can share Cardkiwi as well as other flashcard apps and websites so students can see the different options available to them. The best use of the site is to help students with retention of basic information. Teachers may want to assign individual students to create a set of flashcards. Students can also work in collaborative groups to tackle larger amounts of content. As a follow-up, teachers can ask students to share topics that they had a hard time learning (thumbs down), and those concepts should be reviewed again in class. In addition, class activities that build on the content of the flashcards are encouraged to help students develop higher-order skills and promote more in-depth learning.

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Cardkiwi is a free service designed to help kids easily create flashcards and share them with friends. Registration is simple; users need only an email and password to set up an account. To create a set of flashcards, students enter a title and get started building a deck. Students are encouraged to use textbook names or ISBN numbers as titles. The idea is for students to work collaboratively to create flashcards, or to use previously stored sets for a specific textbook. Students can type information or upload images, and completed sets are stored on the site. 

What makes Cardkiwi a bit different is its simple, adaptive recall feature. As students study a particular set, they rate their understanding of the content (thumbs up or thumbs down). Based on the rating, the site determines how frequently to display a particular card. Be aware that students are encouraged to share flashcards socially, either with a link or via Facebook.

While it isn't flashy, Cardkiwi can be a practical tool for students' basic studying and memorization. Even without detailed directions, creating, sharing, and studying sets of cards is fairly easy to figure out. The rating system requires students to be more involved than just reviewing the content -- the developer claims that their algorithm can increase retention by up to 50%.

However, a few issues make it a less appealing choice for digital flashcards. Searching for previously created sets is done using textbook titles, rather than by subject. The size of the overall database or the quality of card sets isn't clear. The site's Examples link could confuse some students, as it has examples of common topics rather than examples of flashcards.

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

It's a basic memorization tool without any bells or whistles. The rating system could increase students' interest in studying.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

Flashcard-style memorization won't advance students' higher-order thinking skills. That said, the site's adaptive rating tool may help students focus on content that's more difficult for them to learn.

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

A short video overview partly explains how the program works. It's easy to create and share flashcards, though it isn't clear how to access sets of cards created by other users. 


Common Sense reviewer
Jennifer Sitkin Classroom teacher

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