A few weeks ago, the Quizlet team visited Rebeccah Kilian's middle school Latin class at the Town School for Boys in San Francisco. We were really impressed with how Rebeccah uses Quizlet in the classroom to encourage her students to be active and engage in studying vocabulary in new ways.
In her teaching, Rebeccah wants to make learning Latin an interactive team effort. Her classroom is a place to get "a bit weird" and have fun during the school day. When she invited us to visit her class, all we knew was that we'd be playing a game called "Trash Ball." While we weren't sure what that meant, we were definitely intrigued.
Quizlet and "Trash Ball"
To play "Trash Ball," students first split up into two teams. Rebeccah opens a Quizlet set on the projector at the front of the classroom. Then, the teams take turns trying to get the right definition for each term projected on the whiteboard to get points.
One team member is nominated to answer: if they get it right, they get a point, and a chance to earn additional points by taking a shot at the trashcan at the front of the room. Close-up shots earn 1 point, and shots from the back row of desks earn 3 points. If they get the question wrong, the other team has the chance to answer and take an extra shot for those points.
Quizlet has always been great for competition with Scatter and Space Race, but it was new for us to see a teacher bring the competitive spirit to Quizlet’s most uncompetitive mode, Flashcards. Our team got a chance to play too, though our command of Latin wasn't nearly as good as Rebeccah's students.
Adjustable Speed in Space Race
All of our class visits include time to get in-person feedback — and Rebeccah's students were very eager to give us their suggestions!
The students begged us to build adjustable speeds in Space Race, one of their favorite ways to study and compete. Many of the definitions they’re studying have a few parts and they pointed out that it can be really tough to type in a longer answer, especially when the pressure is on in the game's higher levels.
Getting this feature right is tough. If players can compete at different speeds, then keeping the high scores fair is a challenge. To account for this, we might be able to build an adjustable points system, where the faster you play, the more points each word is worth. You could still compete at lower speeds, but for fewer points.
Multiple Correct Answers
Students asked for Quizlet to accept any answer as correct if there were multiple definitions for a word. One of the examples they gave us was that when shown "familiae," they want to be able to answer with "to the family" or "for the family" and be marked right. Remembering either definition shows their understanding of the Latin word.
While this might seem like a simple request, it actually gets to the heart of some of the limitations of Quizlet's current data model (and gets us thinking about the possibilities for the future). Right now, Quizlet matches a term to its definition letter by letter. However, in addition to accepting multiple correct answers (rather than requiring students to type in every letter exactly on both term and definition), we’d love to be able to incorporate other sorts of info about a term — part of speech, gender, example sentences, etc. We're looking forward to exploring these exciting new directions (and hopefully make Quizlet more flexible and easier to use).
Thanks to Rebeccah and Town!
We're so appreciative that Rebeccah and her students took the time to show us how they use Quizlet, ask great questions to our team and share their feedback. We're looking forward to coming back again this year to see what else they'll cook up!
What games do you play with your students in class using Quizlet? Are you a teacher in the Bay Area who’d like Quizlet to come to your classroom? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or let us know in the comments!