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StudyX Review by Dr. Anne Margaret WrightJeff Minis
14366 Manchester Rd.
Manchester, MO 63011
I got my first computer as a high school graduation gift. It had no hard drive or storage device and contained only the BASIC programming language--yes, I am that old! After purchasing a small storage device that saved the files on a cassette tape, I was in business! I wrote a small program that let me input and review flash cards. My husband and I used that simple program through our bachelors and masters degrees. Finally, in our doctoral program we found a real flashcard computer program. We were in heaven! I would type up our class notes in preparation for tests and then transfer the information piece by piece to the flashcard program. When we were nearly the only students who passed all sections of our comprehensive exams on the first try, everyone suddenly wanted a copy of the thousands of electronic flashcards we had used. Needless to say, we were hooked! That's why I was excited to review StudyX ($39.95), an electronic flash card program developed by Jeff Minis of Jeff Computers.
StudyX creates a file for each topic you wish to study, such as state capitals or French vocabulary for Chapter 2. You add cards by typing the question and the answer in a user-friendly interface. One very nice feature of StudyX is the auto fill, where you type the answer and the program pulls an editable definition from an online dictionary. Once you have added all the questions and answers, you can choose from a variety of study options. Flash Card Quizzing displays the question with four multiple choice answers, including the correct answer and three randomly selected answers from other questions. The program tracks questions that are answered correctly and marks them as mastered after two consecutive successful attempts. It also monitors questions that are missed and increases their frequency to help the student attain mastery of difficult items. You can generate printed tests automatically as multiple choice, matching, or fill-in-the-blank questions. Or you can create Web tests that present the information in a Web format that can be submitted for automatic grading or emailed. The flashcards can be printed in a variety of formats, including as a study sheet, paper flash cards, or Avery 3x5" cards. There are a few sample files included with the program, such as state capitals and geometry vocabulary, and more files can be downloaded from the website.
There is also a fun and helpful feature called Autopilot Study that allows you to study the cards at set times while you do other things on the computer. For example, I reviewed the state capitals while working on other computer programs. Every two minutes, one state capital question popped up on the screen and wouldn't go away until I answered it. The frequency can be set from one to ten minutes, and a password can be added that will be required to exit the program. There are also several simple games that ask questions at random times while you work your way through a maze, play multiplayer trivia or ping pong, build a city while shooting down airplanes, or navigate a tunnel. Math Practice generates addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division problems for the number set you designate.
The nice thing about flashcards is that they can be used as a powerful learning tool for nearly any subject under the sun. With StudyX, you could easily create very simple files for early elementary students and complex study materials for college students or professionals. I would love to see the ability to integrate graphics and audio or video files added in a future edition, which would be helpful for studying diagrams, matching sight words with pictures, etc. Having the statistics constantly displayed at the bottom of the screen is very helpful. It would be great to have the option of viewing a report with statistics for each question. I liked the nice range of options that allow you to customize the program for your particular needs. The interface of StudyX is intuitive to use, so even fairly young children could enter their own questions, or mom could create printed tests with ease. The program is available on the company's website, www.studyx.com, for a free 30-day trial, so you can try it before you buy it. I would strongly encourage you to try this great study tool and see if it would be useful in your homeschool!