“Am I StudyBlue?”

StudyBlue is different from any other web tool I have examined so far, for it has a more specific purpose and its possibilities are more constrained. Yet it does not make it less potentially useful in a classroom environment! This free web tool that syncs with the mobile application is a digital backpack meant to ease all study sessions. One can log on from Facebook, Gmail, or any e-mail address to create a profile. After that, one is invited to join a school, and then join classes. For a class that would be new to StudyBlue, the teacher could create a class (for exemple, English 101) and have all students join in from their account. The StudyBlue interface is basically the same for both teachers and students. It consists of a Backpack to fill with materials, that is different classes, flashcards, and any type of file. Each class’s folder can contain its specific flashcards and files as well, so that teachers and students can organise the study material according to their various classes (English, Spanish, Math, etc.) Any material may be shared with classmates, which promotes mutual aid. Setting alerts, resuming saved study sessions, and contact classmates are other useful features of StudyBlue that allow better self-supervision of one’s learning and studying process. (+) Not to forget: one can connect an Evernote account to a StudyBlue account. A new notebook is thus created in Evernote, which allows to transfer notes taken on Evernote to StudyBlue and transform them into flashcards. (+)

Texts, images, voice transcription, and even equations (alright, these may be unrelevant to language learning) can be used to create flashcards. Digital flashcards are awesome because they help spare time on cutting out and writing paper flashcards (+), so they may encourage students that are more lazy when it comes to studying (me, and many others) to actually take a few minutes (because it is really what it takes) to type those up and start revising seriously. There is no reason not to, for one can create them anytime-anywhere through an iPad, an iPhone, an iPod, or an Android device. (+) Therefore, one can also carry them everywhere, which is so much more convenient in the bus than hundreds of cardboard cards. (+) Furthermore, one can search for notes sets of flashcards created by any other StudyBlue user. For instance, it would be great for a student looking for notions that she or hewould not have taken sufficient notes on, or a busy teacher wanting to enlarge a bank of expressions rapidly for her or his students.

Review sheets and automatically-created practice quizzes based on the flashcards are great for self-assessment. They give a true idea of a student’s mastery of certain notions, and can be taken an infinite number of times. Every quiz grades are saved in order to see how a student progresses. This confirms the effectiveness of a study session, or indicate if further revision is needed. Again, students will either take pride in their progress or understand that their objectives might not yet be attained. As quoted in this article, teacher Tammy Howell affirmed that “since repetitions and reinforcement increase the familiarity and comfort of study material, [StudyBlue] is the ideal learning tool that allows for an increase in student achievement.” This web tool may not be appropriate to study more abstracts notions or broader concepts, I confess, yet is certainly well designed to fulfill the needs of lower and intermediate level language learners. Cognates, idiomatic expressions, proverbs, verb tenses, singular-plural forms, pronunciation, words and their definitions, written form of numbers, adjectives, terminology, and short facts regarding absolutely any subject in the world are only a few of the multiple aspects of language that can be mastered using StudyBlue.

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