Wrapping up Anki – almost


Wrapping up Anki – almost

29 Nov ’19 Teaching 0

This case study shares the experience of using AI informed flashcards (Anki App) with a mix prior attainment, all male, Key 3 English class for the past two months. When I say “wrapping up” – I mean, ‘we’ were are almost finished with our investigations and will definitely be using Anki Decks to support our next unit on Othello.

I was using a “Retrieval Roulette” to present low stakes, quizzing, at the start of class with the aim of building “success-motivation-success” momentum. Having written and refined approaching two hundred questions for Year 9 “A Christmas Carol” (and Y8 “Hound of the Baskervilles”) I wanted an even greater return on this investment (ROI).

There are a number of platforms that offer flashcards creation tools, I selected Anki App because it was online and mobile app.

Remembering is greatly aided if the first presentation is forgotten to some extent before the repetition occurs. – Henry L. Roediger III

Teacher feedback

Having written the questions and answers, creating a Deck is easy. Tagging questions was a new feature. Sharing a Deck with students is easy.

The ability to “tag” questions is very useful and I will make more of that feature moving forward.

Analysis – Anki App does not have an admin panel or group analytics. I can therefore not offer an evidenced based analysis but what I can offer you is my professional perspective, a summary from their assessments and direct feedback from the students.

Anki offers a very versatile solution for students to learn when not in class, review missed lesson content or review lesson content. An Anki session is a useful option when lessons are subject to planned disruption – eg medical / photos / where only part of the class are planned to be absent.

I would see value in an Anki lesson 1/10. This is less than our students would like, a surprising 2/5.

Students are telling me that they would rather “Anki” (it’s become its own verb) than complete the set homeworks. Consequently, I have had to follow up on the formal set homeworks!

Students are assessed under “controlled conditions” fortnightly. The last four assessment group mean 3.15, 4.44, 4.90, 5.45 out of 10.

Student feedback

Students are, and have been, very positive about learning with Anki. So much so, that our 80% of student would prefer 3 taught lessons and 2 Anki sessions per week, 20% would like 1 Anki session a week, rather than 5 taught lessons.

Students liked;

  • The instant feedback
  • The flexibility and mobile learning aspect of Anki – both in school and on the App. “I can review a Deck anywhere, at any time. My parents see it as learning and not me being on my phone.”
  • The App – students like the easy of a default App.
  • “It feels like recapping a lessons.”
  • “It can be quite relaxing. (Low stakes)
  • Anki enables us to catch up on missed classes (that may be true to an extent). There was a sense that the app was available, “even if Mr Still is not.”
  • “I can practice or selected areas / chapters via tags.” The tags were very well supported by the students. Two students discussed with me how they like to know “what they are learning” and “where it is in the book.”
  • I like questions around the book as well as questions about the book (contextual and knowledge)
  • Offline* – Anki is available offline once the Deck is downloaded this is highly regarded
  • “Notifications remind me to practice.”
  • Students are now creating their own flashcards for other subjects

Moving forward

After the break we move onto Othello (Y8 onto Romeo and Juliet). Today, the students asked “will there be an Anki for that?” The simple answer is yes however I will be giving the Deck “build” and tags some serious thought.

Decks questions categories: “Vocab,” by Act, “Literary devices,” as applied to the text are completed. 150 cards or so, for each Deck.

Vocab and literary devices are complete.

Next – “Keywords,” and “Conventions, Context and Author.”

Then – “Questions,” by Act. I am considering questions from key textual references and then key knowledge/signposting.

Any help of the later two would be appreciated and I am happy to share the completed Decks.


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