by Ross Cooper: ADE, GCT
For the past week I have had the opportunity to experiment with a new app on my third generation iPad, Kids Flashcard Maker. This program is a universal app that runs on both the iPad and iPhone (or iPod Touch) with a single purchase, and it is made by the INKids company. Overall, I found the app to be very intuitive, as I was able to thoroughly familiarize myself with all of its features in about fifteen minutes. Also, as a fourth grade teacher, I could easily envision the app becoming a part of my regular instructional routine.
The app allows for the creation of flashcard decks, with each deck having the ability to hold countless cards. The cards are easy to create, and the options for each one include: the name of the designated word; an audio recording; an image; and video. All of these features make for quite the immersive experience. The audio is recorded during the creation of the card. Images can be added from Dropbox, the camera roll, the camera (taken while the card is being created), and from Google Images. Video can be inserted from these same sources, with YouTube taking the place of Google Images. Once multiple cards are created, their order can be changed within a deck, but they cannot be transferred from one deck to another.
Overall settings include: setting the cards to automatically transition at specified intervals; the option to have each card’s audio automatically play; background music, which is selected from the device’s iTunes library; and three different fonts to choose from for flashcard creation (Helvetica, Good Eatin, and Marker Felt). Finally, the app supports iCloud content synchronization. Upon enabling this feature on both my iPad and iPhone 5, all of my decks were almost instantaneously synchronized between both devices! Finally, decks can be shared amongst users via email, and all users must possess the Kids Flashcard Maker app in order to access the content. As far as some of these setting are concerned, they must be set for the entire program, and not for individual decks. More levels of customization would be much appreciated in a future software update.
On the whole, I could easily see myself having my fourth graders create flashcards in order to study their vocabulary and spelling, as well as to engage in many kinds of digital storytelling (podcasts, news broadcasts, YouTube mashups, etc.).
The $4.99 price tag is a bit steep, but the apps ease of use makes it worth considering for any classroom teacher, as well as for any parents with a child at home.