I got my first computer as a high school graduation gift. It had
no hard drive or storage device and contained only the BASIC programming
language--yes, I am that old! After purchasing a small storage
device that saved the files on a cassette tape, I was in business!
I wrote a small program that let me input and review flash cards.
My husband and I used that simple program through our bachelors
and masters degrees. Finally, in our doctoral program we found
a real flashcard computer program. We were in heaven! I would type
up our class notes in preparation for tests and then transfer the
information piece by piece to the flashcard program. When we were
nearly the only students who passed all sections of our comprehensive
exams on the first try, everyone suddenly wanted a copy of the
thousands of electronic flashcards we had used. Needless to say,
we were hooked! That's why I was excited to review StudyX ($39.95),
an electronic flash card program developed by Jeff Minis of Jeff
StudyX creates a file for each topic you wish to study, such as
state capitals or French vocabulary for Chapter 2. You add cards
by typing the question and the answer in a user-friendly interface.
One very nice feature of StudyX is the auto fill, where you type
the answer and the program pulls an editable definition from an
online dictionary. Once you have added all the questions and answers,
you can choose from a variety of study options. Flash Card Quizzing
displays the question with four multiple choice answers, including
the correct answer and three randomly selected answers from other
questions. The program tracks questions that are answered correctly
and marks them as mastered after two consecutive successful attempts.
It also monitors questions that are missed and increases their
frequency to help the student attain mastery of difficult items.
You can generate printed tests automatically as multiple choice,
matching, or fill-in-the-blank questions. Or you can create Web
tests that present the information in a Web format that can be
submitted for automatic grading or emailed. The flashcards can
be printed in a variety of formats, including as a study sheet,
paper flash cards, or Avery 3x5" cards. There are a few sample
files included with the program, such as state capitals and geometry
vocabulary, and more files can be downloaded from the website.
There is also a fun and helpful feature called Autopilot Study
that allows you to study the cards at set times while you do other
things on the computer. For example, I reviewed the state capitals
while working on other computer programs. Every two minutes, one
state capital question popped up on the screen and wouldn't go
away until I answered it. The frequency can be set from one to
ten minutes, and a password can be added that will be required
to exit the program. There are also several simple games that ask
questions at random times while you work your way through a maze,
play multiplayer trivia or ping pong, build a city while shooting
down airplanes, or navigate a tunnel. Math Practice generates addition,
subtraction, multiplication, or division problems for the number
set you designate.
The nice thing about flashcards is that they can be used as a
powerful learning tool for nearly any subject under the sun. With
StudyX, you could easily create very simple files for early elementary
students and complex study materials for college students or professionals.
I would love to see the ability to integrate graphics and audio
or video files added in a future edition, which would be helpful
for studying diagrams, matching sight words with pictures, etc.
Having the statistics constantly displayed at the bottom of the
screen is very helpful. It would be great to have the option of
viewing a report with statistics for each question. I liked the
nice range of options that allow you to customize the program for
your particular needs. The interface of StudyX is intuitive to
use, so even fairly young children could enter their own questions,
or mom could create printed tests with ease. The program is available
on the company's website, www.studyx.com,
for a free 30-day trial, so you can try it
before you buy it. I would strongly encourage you to try this great
study tool and see if it would be useful in your homeschool!