Saturday, 18 July 2020

More on Retrieval Practice: LearningApps, Flippity, Quizizz and Genially

Retrieval Practice is essential to make lessons stick and transfer information from students' working memory to the long memory. There are many ways to do this, being the art of posing questions the most common ways to achieve this. I will talk about questioning in MFL in another entry but as I wrote about TaskMagic and Textivate in my previous post as essential IT tools to carry out retrieval practice, I will continue with other apps which help with memorisation and independent learning (self-quizzing) in my students.  I use all these three apps as homework assignments, in the language lab/ IT suit or even in the classroom if students bring their own device.  They have also being instrumental during my asynchronous online lessons during lock-down.


This must be one of my favourite tools/apps of all times! LearningApps is an online tool which allows you to create a wide range of activities within minutes, including listening! save your activities and share them via a link or QR code with your students.  Why do I love it?
  1. I can create my own activities, meaning, tasks around the Sentence Builders we are working on during lessons. This means I can personalise the exercises to specific sets and/or specific students if I choose to do so.
  2. Students do not need to create an account to work on the activities! There is an option for students to open accounts and I can create classes to overview progress but I choose not. Kids already have many usernames and passwords and I do not want to create more. Normally, students will do a screenshot of their completed activities and paste it into our  class OneNote. They love that I trust them!
  3. It is extremely easy to share via link, QR code or by embedding the activity, which will allow me to incorporate them to other tools/apps such as Genially. 
  4. There is a very wide range of activities and unlimited use!
  5. IT IS FREE!
My favourite LearningApps task is Free Text input.  This allows me to create translation activities from English into Spanish, with my famous initials as support!  I find this exercise extremely powerful if done from memory!  Free Text input also has text-to-speech functionality, which means I can create dictations for students, which again, is very useful for listening practice.

I can also create a matrix of activities for students progressing in difficulty or incorporating different skills.


This is another great tool which I found out about during lock down thanks to the wonderful Joe Dale. Flippity also allows you to create excellent activities aimed at Retrieval Practice. There is a wide range of exercises to choose from! I particularly love Scavenger Hunt! The Randomizer tool is also great for Sentence Builders! Vincent Everett and Mike Elliott have come up with lovely ideas on how to use the Randomizer as a machine to practice chunks for reading/speaking practice. 

This is Mike Elliott's video tutorial on how to use this app in conjunction with Flipgrid for oral practice.

This is Vincent Everett’s example 1 and example 2 on how to use the app for reading and writing.  Vincent suggests to spin the tool to make a sentence in Spanish. Students then write it down and translate into English. Students use the nudge to make improvements and repeat the process. At the end they buikd a paragraph out of your sentences.

Wheel of names is also great as a Randomizer to be used in whole classroom activities from the IWB.


Quizizz is, in my opinion, the best Quiz App for teachers and students out there at the moment. Why do I love it?
  1. Students do not need special login to do the activities
  2. It allows you to create different types of quizzes, not just multiple choice!
  3. You can incorporate listening (up to 10 seconds) which is great to create listening/ dictation exercises to help students memorise Sentence Builders. This is an example of a listening Quizizz activity.
  4. Students can do the quizzes live but also as practice as many times as they want to which develops independent learning!
  5. You can create short answer quizzes but also long answers!  I use the app very successfully to practice model potential written answers to oral questions.  This is an example of an oral Quizizz activity.
I use Quizizz for homework assignments and for activities within the classroom. For me, the beauty of Quizziz is how it can develop independent learning by making students use it for self-quizzing. You can also create your own classes and monitor progress. 


 Genially  is a fantastic tool which I discovered thanks to Carmen Quiros and which allows you to create info-graphics, great presentations and a nice range of games via Escape Room templates and Board Games. Escape Rooms can be time consuming to generate, I will not lie but, this app offers great templates to use. In our MFLtwitterati Padlet, there are many examples of great Escape rooms using Genially! What I like, in particular is that in Genially you can embed the activities from LearningApps as one of the challenges or the links from Quizizz so you can end up with a very comprehensive activity very well planned with different skills. 

Within Genially, you can also find Game Boards.  I used these for synchronous lessons during lock-down with my Alevel classes which, sadly, do not have many students. Students advanced around the board by answering specific topic questions in Spanish!  I can see this working very well in my classroom IWB and with big classes too, working in teams.  For example, students will advance positions after  translating specific input, orally, based on Sentence Builders (Retrieval Practice in a different form!)

Of course there are more apps/tools to use!  For example Quizlet/Memrise which I actively use to assist students in their learning homework.  However the apps above go beyond the flashcard format and are examples of IT use in a meaningful planned way not just for the sake of it!

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