Review by Monica Encarnacion, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2017

ClassTracks

Useful digital flash card practice tool, but could be better.

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3-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Gamelike interface engages kids as they learn at their own pace. Adapts to students' needs and provides additional practice, opportunity to correct mistakes before moving on.

Cons: Definitions must be typed in exactly to match teacher-provided alternate answers, or responses will be received as incorrect. Colorful graphs track progress but do not specify words student struggled to learn.

Bottom Line: Web-based tool that lets teachers custom-create word lists and digital flash cards to help students practice and master new words, track progress over time, but it’s a shame useful data is missing. May be ideal for language classrooms.

ClassTracks enables teachers to use their own language learning content to create and distribute digital flash cards for students. Teachers import previously created vocabulary lists or customize new ones to use with their language students. These flash cards are then turned into online lessons that teachers can assign to an entire class or a specific student. It'll work well for students learning a new language or for English language learners who need vocabulary review. The ClassTracks website can be used in the classroom for independent practice, and it's great for center time. It's also a good tool for creating homework assignments or quick assessments, especially in blended learning or flipped classroom environments where students are using digital tools to work independently and reinforce in-class learning.

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ClassTracks is an online vocabulary practice tool that allows teachers to create customized flash cards. There's a 30-day trial but after that, teachers must contact ClassTracks for a quote. Teachers begin by setting up an account that can be linked to their email or their Google Classroom or Edmodo account. From there, teachers can create a new class or import a class from Google or Edmodo. Vocabulary lists can be created brand-new or imported from Word or Excel. More than 70 languages are included, and teachers can customize word lists by adding alternate acceptable answers, visuals, and audio. Audio is available for vocabulary words, but not for their definitions. Images can be added from a limited photo gallery, by URL, or from your computer. Students log in via a code teachers provide.

Each lesson involves flash card practice, but the practice evolves over four levels of play. First, students choose the multiple-choice definition that matches a word or picture. Second, students select the multiple-choice word that matches a given definition. Third, students type in the definition for a word. The fourth and final level challenges students to type in a word that matches a definition. When students make mistakes, they're given the correct response and prompted to type it in. Students are also prompted to go back and redo the questions they got wrong. Besides written instructions, audio and color cues let students know how they're doing. While teachers can also track students' progress, the colorful charts seem to be missing some information, like which specific words a student struggled with. 

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ClassTracks can be an engaging way for students to digitally practice language and receive immediate feedback while correcting their errors in real time. The program challenges kids to actively recall each term before they are given the correct answer. Spaced repetition lets kids repeat words when they make mistakes, boosting retention and making it easy for them to succeed. It'll be most effective with older students and those who can follow directions independently. Students must be able to read or at least understand the basic instructions of the game if they're to successfully complete tasks. For example, when students type an incorrect word or definition, they must read and understand the written instructions that tell them to try again: "Type the term in red and press ENTER!"

Ultimately, since ClassTracks is a flash card tool, its potential for learning is dependent on teachers using it strategically. Since repetition has the potential to help cement difficult words, teachers may find it to be a helpful solution for maximizing the efficiency of vocabulary practice for ELLs and those students with limited English proficiency. The program includes a very wide variety of languages for teachers to choose from. However, the photo gallery is limited: The provided images might not be specific enough. To maximize learning potential, teachers will want to create their own images.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
3

The interactive, gamelike interface makes flash card practice a bit more fun. Alternating tasks keep students engaged as they learn the same words and definitions at different difficulties.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

Teachers can type in or import vocabulary lists, customize them with alternate acceptable answers, visuals, and audio. Spaced repetition helps students practice and retain what they learn. Includes 70+ languages. 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
2

Sound and visual cues let students knows how they are doing. Students can correct errors in real time, but need to read directions independently. There's also progress tracking, but info is incomplete.


Common Sense Reviewer
Monica Encarnacion School support staff

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