We’ve come a long way since the days of reciting passages to class by rote and learning by writing out lines from a textbook. There is an incredible array of technology at our fingertips, that creates a space for individually tailored learning, in a way that we haven’t had access to before.
When it comes to revision, technology can play an integral role if we effectively use the tools available to us. From scheduling and self-assessment using Google spreadsheets, to flashcard applications and collaborating with peers, to the interactive online programs delivered by FutureSchool – there are a multitude of ways to get students absorbing and using information.
Tracking A Student’s Progress and Needs
Student self-assessment generates the most valuable information when it comes to improving a student’s revision. With a simple Google Spreadsheet listing all of the subject matter in a course, students can flag each line as ‘Understood,’ ‘Need some help’ or ‘Do not understand,’ using a simple traffic light colour coding system.
Once this is completed, a clear snapshot of a student’s current position is immediately revealed, and revision can be structured around individual needs. This is one of the simplest and most profoundly effective ways to use technology when planning out individual revision schedules. From there, further tools can be used to aid in revision.
Different Tools for Different Learners
By first assessing the type of learner the student is, the most appropriate technology tools can be chosen to specifically meet their needs. Separating needs into three broad categories: visual, auditory or kinaesthetic can help match them with tools that will best help their studies. Finding a combination of each of these will help the most:
YouTube can be a very effective tool for learning topics. There are an abundance of videos at all levels – from University lectures to animations from independent organisations that can aid in self guided revision.
The BBC Learning Zone houses an extensive archive of visual content available to all students on every topic in the national curriculum. You used to be able to record these to VHS in the middle of the night, but that’s no longer necessary – they can be watched instantaneously.
The Khan Academy, similarly to the BBC Learning Zone, hosts an array of videos on a number of topics. There is also a corresponding mobile app that integrates with the online visual material.
BBC Bitesize Podcasts are perfect for listening to while on the go – in the bus, while traveling, walking around a park. With repetition, concepts begin to take hold.
iTunes U can be used both on a computer and on any Apple device. A quick search of any topics reveals a wealth of resources – from videos to audio lectures, from a range of respected sources. A tremendous resource.
This one may not have occurred to all students, but students can use their own smartphones to create audio resources for themselves. The process of compiling notes, summarising and then repeating the information back to a recording is a form of revision in itself, and listening back to it can be an incredibly effective tool. It’s a perfectly customised auditory resource for a student.
If a student learns best from textbooks and written resources, OpenStax College provides a huge online compendium of free textbooks and resources for students. Perfect for the learner who absorbs information as they read.
Mind maps are a classic form of revision, that helps students link concepts across an entire curriculum. Today, simple and affective apps like FreeMind make mind mapping a quick, interactive process that can be carried out on mobile phones and laptops.
Google Scholar and Google Books allow students to search inside books, search for flashcards and even search inside of papers. With a bit of encouragement to explore the possibilities, there is an incredible amount open to anyone who is willing to search.
There are range of tools available on the web and through apps to taylor revision to the individual needs of students. By harnessing these tools and appropriately using them, students can take control of their own learning and deconstruct topics that seem overwhelming or ‘too difficult.’ On the other hand, perhaps one of the most valuable technological resources for revision comes in the form of an app that can be used to block distracting sites – like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and allow students chunks of focused revision time.