Have you heard about the digital task card craze, and more specifically, Boom Cards™?! If not, that’s okay! I’m here to help you understand what digital task cards are, how they work, and what they offer you as a teacher. If you have heard of digital task cards, hopefully these tutorials will help you to better understand how to use them and what features they offer. Here’s a little preview. 🙂
Digital task cards are the perfect time saving solution to your classroom. Because they are digital, it saves you the prep time and materials that paper task cards require. They also can be used in a number of different ways, and it’s a great option for teachers in a 1:1 classroom to integrate technology into centers and student learning.
First things first (and probably the most important question you may be asking…HOW MUCH DOES THIS COST?!) You’re in luck, it’s FREE! Right now Boom Learning™ is offering 4 levels of membership, Starter, Basic, Power, and Ultimate. Right now, all memberships are less than $25 for the whole year but it ends 12/31/17 so hurry! The Basic membership is $9 for the year, however with the purchase of a Boom Deck via TpT (yes, this includes purchasing a free deck on TpT), your membership is FREE! That means you can download a FREE TpT Boom Deck AND get a FREE year of Basic Boom Learning Membership but it’s only good until December 31, 2017! How awesome is that?! (This free deal is run through Boom Learning™ and is subject to change without notice.)
Okay, now you may be asking, how am I going to find a free Boom Deck to give this whole digital task card thing a try? Guess what, I’ve uploaded a FREE Boom Deck to my TpT store for just that reason. You can download it for free to give Boom Learning a spin. Now that you have a free Boom Card set, let’s check out Boom Learning and all that it has to offer!
The first thing you will need to do is create a Boom Learning account. Provided within your TpT purchase of any Boom Deck is a link to the deck. By using this link, you will also get the free basic account, which allows you to track data! Hold up a minute…did I just say these Boom Decks track data?! You bet I did! Data tracking has never been easier. When a student plays a Boom Deck, you will receive their speed and accuracy scores. How perfect! Self grading assessment tools! Life just got a little easier! No grading, no precious time wasted. Just log in, and record the data. I’ll go into depth on how to get the data later in this post.
Now that you have created your account, you’ll want to set up a classroom. Setting up a classroom allows you the opportunity to add all of your students (up to 80 with the basic membership) so they each have their own account to play their assigned Boom Decks. When you set up your classroom, Boom Learning automatically gives your classroom a username (don’t worry, you can edit this, you’ll be using this as one way to log your students into Boom Learning) and prompts you to set up a password.
Now that you have a classroom you need your students! You can add students by first and last name, initials, or whatever you choose. Again, Boom Learning will give your students an automatic username just like it did for your classroom. You can change this, as well as their password. I recommend using something very simple for their password, such as initials and student #. Example: Ben Apple is student #3 in my class, so his password would be “ba3”. Just for ease of student memory, and to stray away from the strange passwords that students may create. Here is the tutorial for classroom setup and adding students to your class:
Now that you have a Boom Deck and a classroom set up, it’s time for your students to play! The best part of Boom Learning™ is that you get to pick and choose what decks students play. You are totally in control. When you purchase a deck, they will appear in your library. The tutorial below walks you through assigning decks to students.
Now you may be wondering HOW to use these new Boom Decks. Here are a few suggestions. 🙂
~ Use them as beginning and end of the year assessment tools
~ Allow fast finishers computer time, and let them play any deck they want so that you can rest assured they are playing a quality educational “game”
~ Use them as part of your centers. As students play during their center, they will receive immediate feedback. So cool!
~ Assign specific decks to students, so they can master specific content. Ex: if Suzy Grape is struggling mastering her multiplication by 6 math facts, assign her a deck to practice those facts. If Joe Blueberry is struggling with his multiplication facts by 9, assign him that specific deck. Boom Cards™ are great for allowing differentiation.
~ Use them as vacation assignments for students. Students have a login of their own, so they can login to Boom Learning from any computer or device anywhere (as long as they have internet access).
Curious to see what the decks look like? Let’s take a peek at a few to get you excited about the endless possibilities!
You may also be wondering, how exactly does logging in work? There are so many options! You can log in from your teacher account by clicking on your classroom, you can log in using your classroom username and password, or students and each individually log in using their username and password.
If you are using Boom Cards as a center, I would suggest preparing for centers by logging into your classroom on Boom Learning™. Now your center is set up and ready to go, and all students have to do is find their name and click login so that their data can be tracked. Check out the login tutorial below.
And now for the best part, and probably most important time saver, the data tracking feature of Boom Cards. When a student plays a Boom Deck, they get immediate feedback about their answer being correct or incorrect before moving on to the next card in the set they are playing. At the end, students are given an accuracy score. But the best part, YOU get to see their performance. Performance is in graph format, showing you if students got the card correct or incorrect, with red and green. You can also view the cards students got wrong, and it will show you the most recent incorrect answer they chose. For example: if the card asks “what is 2 x 8” and the options are a. 10, b. 16, c. 4, d. 14. If the student first chose a then chose b. The card would show exactly that. IF however it took more than 1 try to get the right answer, ex: student chose c, a, b. The card would tell you the student chose a then got the correct answer as b. It only tells you the most recent incorrect answer the student picked (see picture below for example). The data tracking tool also shows you the overall accuracy and speed. Another note about accuracy. If a student has played the deck just once, you will see the accuracy for that specific play. If the student played the deck twice, you will see the average accuracy over the two plays. Example: on the first play Jack Bean scored an 80%, and on the second play Jack Bean scored 100%. On the teacher tracking tool, you would just see that Jack Bean has an accuracy of 90% for that specific deck. The tutorial about how to view student performance is below.
I hope you have found this tutorial series helpful in getting started with Boom Learning™! Get excited about digital task cards! Just think about this – less prep, no printing (life saver when school supply budget is running low), time saving with the data tracking tools, and most importantly, a fun way for students to practice academic skills! What are you waiting for? Go on and give it a try! Here are a few other Boom Card sets you can test out. 🙂
(and if you’re not 100% committed to making the switch to digital task cards, some of the sets include paper task cards as well)