Bitsboard

Here is a great application for educators and students alike. It’s a learning tool that gives the opportunity to children and adults to mentally take in loads of information in a fun, interactive, and addicting way. You can download the application from the app store on your iPad for free. Whenever an application is free and seems interesting enough for me to use in the future, I go right ahead and download it. The next step for me is to try it and have fun with it. If it’s not worth it, I’ll just discard it, but if it is of value to me, I’ll keep it. Well, this one passed the test. So, this is why I would like to share this application with you. Read through this article to discover all about this teaching tool. To start, you can take a look at the following short video:

You can further discover Bitsboard’s app through their website. The presentation is long to read but easy to follow and nicely done. It’s presented in a step by step to do list. There is no other place where you’ll be able to get complete information on this app as this site. To make it shorter, I’ll try to review the main features so you can have a good idea about Bitsboard.

First of all, why is it so unique? Because the application offers dozens of mini games and quizzes and a catalog with an excessive array of content. In the article Fifty Nine Minutes, Randon Ruggles writes, Bitsboard « is absolutely a game changer in terms of educational apps. At this time the app has access to over 100,000 flashcards that include pictures and audio.” Furthermore, it is fully customizable, which means you can create your boards, add users and tweak the settings of games to your liking. Additionally,  Bitsboard is a global learning platform, you can share custom lessons with anyone via the catalog. According to Special Needs APP if you had to download just one application, this is the one you need.
The home screen is where you can access your existing boards and that is also where it is possible to create more boards. The creation of a new board is done by clicking on the plus sign. There are different options offered to you to create one. You can browse the premium collections section to quickly find some of the most popular boards. You can view the existing catalog, download your boards, import from Dropbox, Import from Quizlet, create a new board, copy or combine. If you found a teacher that submits great stuff, you can eventually search by writing her or his user name. If you click on the catalogue, you can select from popular topics, popular boards or type a key word for a specific search. When creating a board, you get full access to Bitsboard’s catalog of images, so you won’t be losing time trying to find the right image. But, you have the possibility to add your own photos from your library, camera, web search, Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, or Dropbox if you wish. Let’s say you want to search the word provinces, the result will show the different options containing that word. This is the fastest way to find what you are looking for. When a board is selected, the various games will be launched. There are 24 in all to choose from. Some examples of the games are: Word Search, Match Up, Unscramble, Spelling Bee, and Story Time, just to name a few. And now, it is possible to glance at your progress. As a teacher, you can customize games to each students’ level of learning and Bitsboard will automatically save the settings.  Patricia Monticello Kievlan from Common Sense says “Bitsboard is an attractive, flexible way to approach simple content in different ways, to vary studying approaches, and to have available a tool that automates certain processes that can be tedious for a teacher, such as creating multiple-choice or true/false questions.”

How can this be used in the classroom?
As a future ESL teacher, I think this app has varied usages. You can create your own sets of flashcards depending on the topic that you are teaching. The app can serve as a preparation to students for tests and verify if they learned their vocabulary well enough. Why not include Bitsboard’s games within station learning activities implemented in a classroom? Or even have students play with it as a reward when in class work is completed before others. Randon Ruggles cited above also suggested that teachers create spelling lists that students can download on their iPad on their arrival at school. He adds on that vocabulary lists can be viewed at home and there wouldn’t be any more excuses for lost papers. In the same vein, I suggest that students can create their own lists and play the games to help them memorize difficult words. It’s a great tool to help learn a new language and new vocabulary. The options are endless. You can teach your students about currency, time, the months of the year, action verbs, etc. You can assign the students homework if they have access to iPads at home. One thing that I also found interesting about Bitsboard is that when students visualize vocabulary lists, a voice pronounces the word and students can have it repeat as many times as they want and practice how to say the word.  Unfortunately, at the moment, there is no website for Bitsboard and I think that would be handy for those who don’t own a tablet yet.

Learning while playing is always fun. Everyone loves to play and when you play, you don’t even realize that you are learning. It’s not a burden to learn this way and it captivates those who don’t see school as very interesting. Bitsboard will make happy students and keep them engaged longer.

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Bitsboard

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