Monday, September 24, 2012

Introducing Anki to the classroom

Last semester, I taught my Freshman English (Economics faculty) class in a traditional way - without Anki, smartphones, or computers.  We studied a set curriculum with regular, consistent testing.

This semester, the plan is to introduced Anki into the classroom and continue with the same curriculum and testing.  I hope to find out if using Anki increases my students' scores.  I also plan on using a questionnaire to find out the students' attitudes and feelings toward using Anki and smartphones in class.

Today, with the help of a student assistant who speaks Japanese and English, I introduced Anki to my class of 24 students.  Hopefully, I clearly explained the general idea and the plan to use it in class.

As many of my students are not very computer savvy, it basically took the whole 45-minute class to walk them through the process of signing up for a free account on .

From past experience with students using cell phone email accounts (which cannot receive the confirmation email) and forgetting passwords, I had the students all use their standardized, university email address and the same, simple password.  This will allow for troubleshooting of account problems to be done much more easily.

The plan is to meet in the computer lab every Monday for the students to make their own cards from the class materials.  During the other three days of the class in the week, as part of the learning process, the students will work in pairs to learn how to use Anki correctly and effectively.  At least, that is the plan for now...


  1. If they all use the same password, wouldn't this open up the potential for abuse (trashing a disliked classmates scores for example)?

  2. It went fairly well, overall. Most students, when properly shown how Anki works, understand the basic concept and how it works. The real challenge is to get them to actually use it outside of class. If they don't use it and don't feel that it is an effective way for them to learn, they just won't want to use it. And it is that motivation - the "wanting" to use Anki or any other study method - that is the most important.

    One reason I have stopped using Anki as a teaching tool is because I have found it is not effective for students who really don't want to learn; they are not motivated. I still use it almost two hours a day, but that is because I am motivated.

    In the end, motivation seems to the most important. "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink."