Thursday, February 28, 2008

Flashcard Friends - Myspace for Homework?

As I sat with The Boy, ostensibly to help him with his homework, I realized what he struggled with more than his reading - the medium of his homework. He fiddled and dawdled over each task I asked him to complete, looking at everything but the homework sheet. Finally, as I prodded him he let it all out in one frustrated exclamation of truth.

"I hate papers", he cried.

I actually think that's one of his big problems. He flies by in math, doing it in his head, but struggles with reading and writing. The Boy who can play complex computer games without being able to read all the complicated instructions, simply isn't engaged by paperwork. I began to wonder if I should look for computer games that taught reading.

When I saw Flashcard Friends, I immediately saw possibilities. Flashcard Friends is like a social network, but it can include your child's teacher as well as friends. I am still investigating ways to incorporate it into my son's computer time, but when my daughter saw me watching the introduction video, she immediately asked me to send her the link. I see a lot of promise for her, as well. There are already Flash Cards on the site on so many of the subjects she is now studying and there are even practice tests. If she got her friends to join up, they could share their notes and information by uploading their own flash cards. It's a very interesting concept, and bound to appeal to kids. This is a computer generation, what could be more appealing to them than a site that lets them connect with friends and study at the same time? The site was inspired by kids who wanted a fun way to study using the computer.

There's too much for me to explain, but if you have children of school age from Kindergarten to college, you should watch the video and see how Flashcard Friends can work for them. You can find them at Here's the press release for the website, it explains it all much better than I could.

Flashcard Friends Combines Social Networking and Online Learning

Second generation Web 2.0 entrepreneurs create a FREE “social learning” website for students, homeschoolers and teachers

Belmont, CA. – February 21, 2008 – Flashcard Friends combines social networking—a la Facebook and MySpace—with online learning. The inspiration for Flashcard Friends came when the founders of the company, Kendall and Ryan Hogan (now ages 15 and 12) were being forced to create flashcards by their whip-cracking father. They complained that “flashcards are lame…why can’t we do them on the Internet…and why can’t they be fun like MySpace.” Their father, Mike, a web 2.0 entrepreneur, started asking questions about how it might work. Kendall and Ryan described a social network where students could create flashcards and share them with their classmates; or teachers could create flashcards and share them with their students.

With the help of their father, Ryan and Kendall defined what they wanted their website to do. Then their father recruited a top-notch team of developers and got it built. You can now see their website at Following in their father’s footsteps, Kendall and Ryan are second generation web 2.0 entrepreneurs.

Old school (printed) flashcards are a powerful and proven memorization tool. By using them, Kendall and Ryan were able to substantially improve their test scores. But online flashcards enable a lot of very powerful capabilities. For example, spelling, pronunciation of foreign words, automated testing and correction, images, all of this and more is a snap with Flashcard Friends.

Once the flashcards are in the system, you can share them with friends. The Hogan kids are now looking forward to the day when they return from summer break, only to inherit online flashcards from the class ahead of them. In addition to finding flashcards through friends, you can navigate through flashcard decks by category (e.g. math > algebra), or search by tags, keywords, and more.

Some of the website’s functionality:
• Create flashcards with text, pictures and sounds (ideal for foreign languages)
• Four different learning modes: find one that fits you, or use them all
• Auto-magically creates tests from the flashcards and then corrects them
• Uses social networking to manage sharing card decks
• Find existing flashcards by subject, school, teacher, book and more
• Speak into your computer and add the recording to the cards instantly
• Turns a spelling list into spelling flashcards with a spoken version of each word
• Includes web 2.0 technologies like user ratings, bookmarking and tagging
• …and much more

Flashcard Friends enables students to create flashcards, share them, memorize them and then test themselves. Flashcards can be used at every level, from Kindergarten to post-graduate, and for every topic, from learning colors to preparing for the legal bar exam, learning a language, or studying for the SAT.

Nancy Ferraro 5th Grade Teacher, Granite Bay, CA: “I was very excited to discover Flashcard Friends. I introduced it to my 5th grade students, and we have been using it ever since. The students like how easy the site is to navigate, but they are so jazzed to see their friends’ flashcards. My students have already exchanged flashcards on multiplication, fractions, the 13 colonies, and space. All this in one week! I will definitely use this site for all of my classroom flashcard needs.”

About Flashcard Friends
Flashcard Friends, the social learning website, is pioneering the powerful combination of social networking and online learning. The company was founded by students, for students. The entire website is free to all; students, teachers, homeschoolers, everyone. You can register for free at For more information call (650) 595-2400, or email mike (at)

See web demos of here:


Mike said...

Thanks for the nice write-up. I'm the creator of Flashcard Friends and it really makes me feel great to see people using a recommendng the system. We'll be adding progress reports in about a week and soon it will also have games!

andrea said...

My daughter introduced it to her teacher who shared it with her other students. They all thought it was a great idea! It's a unique and useful study system.