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Cardwiki: simple and adaptive

I recently heard from Michael Bollinger and Max Holnaicher, a couple of German university students who developed Cardwiki, a simple, collaborative flashcard study tool.  They created it for themselves at first.  Michael shared some background:

Max studies in Warwick (Management) and I study at LSE, University of London (Accounting with Law). It made no sense to us, that every student created flashcards individually. With social sharing being prevalent in almost all aspects of the web, we decided to bring social collaboration to flashcards. Students immediately understood the value: “I need flashcards for 10 chapters in my biology book?  If I invite 9 friends to collaborate with me, I only have to do 10 % of the work. Amazing!”
The students want to keep their product simple and pure and they are looking to share their project with K12 kids as well as university students.

Cards may be viewed individually or as a full set.  After registering, your own flashcard sets appear on your cardwiki page.  You can easily share cards with friends or classmates using links or via the Facebook button.

Michael and Max are particularly proud of the thumbs up/thumbs down/thumbs sideway feature that allows students to rate their level of understanding and forces cards they don’t know as well to display more frequently until the thumbs are mostly up.

Michael explains:

Cardkiwi uses the spaced repetition algorithm, which increases recall rates by up to 50%. The feedback thumbs, which are known in almost every culture, make the spaced repetition algorithm accessible to most age groups.  If 1 billion students around the world are able to learn 50% more in the same time period, what will happen?

Students are encouraged to connect sets of cards to their textbooks with a title, author, or ISBN search and  specifying a chapter.  Though users do not have to connect a set of cards to a textbook, in their blog, Michael and Max share the value of this feature, especially for high school and university students.

We noticed that working collaboratively with a student from another university can be very difficult. You can simply never be sure that their “Finance 101” course covers the same material as yours.

However, all University courses tend to have a “core textbook” on which they are based. So, by tying your flashcard set to a specific book, this allows you to collaborate on the part of the course content that is based on textbook material.

We thoroughly believe that two minds working collaboratively are likely to produce better results than one, and therefore encourage you to tie your sets to a book.

Another flashcard option is Quizlet.  While it has fancy features like audio, flip vs. flow option, speed games, and large bank of existing card sets, it does not make use of the very nice Cardwiki’s spaced recognition algorithm.

Take a look at this simple, but elegant student-created study solution.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


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