Recommended tech tools to make retrieval practice quick and easy

There are lots of tech tools that make retrieval practice, spacing, interleaving, and feedback quick and easy. How can you sort through all of them? We've done the work for you. Check out our recommendations below!

Which tech tools do you use? What did we leave out? Comment below and let us know.

Also, join the Powerful Teaching book tour in a city near you! Details below.

P.S. We also love Google Forms! Quiz yourself on trivia facts from Powerful Teaching.


Powerful Tech Tools for Retrieval Practice

laptop circle.jpg

Here’s a roundup of tech tools that harness retrieval practice and provide features in line with the science of learning. Each tech tool has free options, can be used during and outside of class, and includes instant feedback.
FlipGrid is platform where students respond to brief prompts via informal videos. Powerful for both K-12 and higher education, students engage in retrieval practice without even knowing it. Bonus: Students can respond to each other's videos for interactive and elaborative feedback.
Kahoot has a “Remind” feature for spaced practice, providing a desirable difficulty in a low-stakes environment. Bonus: Instead of worksheets, assign Kahoots for homework and even more retrieval practice at home.
Plickers have a “Live View” feature that provides instant feedback for teachers and students, promoting metacognition and transfer of knowledge. Bonus: Students don't use cell phones during class! Students hold up cards with QR-like codes that you can scan using only your device. Perfect for large classes.

PollEverywhere includes many question formats, including open ended polls and Q&A formats. Bonus: PollEverywhere integrates well with PowerPoint, Google Slides, and Keynote. You don't have to launch a separate app.
Quizlet has a feature where students view questions until they’ve correctly answered twice. This is supported by research on successive relearning, or the importance of retrieving multiple times, not just once. Bonus: Quizlet is a great tool for students to create and use flashcards outside of class, too.

Quizizz has a “Jumble” feature that mixes up content – perfect for interleaving. Bonus: The random order makes it tough for students to cheat.

Socrative includes multiple-choice and short answer questions for retrieval practice. Research demonstrates that both types of questions boost learning. Bonus: Socrative works well on the fly and also for exit tickets.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • We have not been paid to recommend or endorse these tech tools. We like them because they boost learning with research-based features!

  • Tech tools promote engagement and motivation, but make sure you emphasize the benefits for learning, too.

  • Research demonstrates that tech tools can decrease anxiety and increase anxiety. Avoid competitive activities and focus on retrieval.

  • These tech tools work great for teachers, and more are available for students, including Anki, TrueLearn, and StudyBlue.

For more recommendations on harnessing tech tools for retrieval practice, check out the podcast/blog Teaching in Higher Ed and the blog by Matt Miller.


Powerful Teaching in a city near you!


Authors of the new book, Powerful Teaching: Unleash the Science of Learning, are launching their book tour! Join Pooja K. Agarwal, Ph.D. (cognitive scientist) and Patrice M. Bain, Ed.S. (veteran K-12 teacher) in a city near you

July 10-12: Orlando, FL (registration now available)

July 22-24: Washington, DC (registration now available)

July 26: Chicago, IL (save the date!)

August 3: St. Louis, MO (registration now available)

September 17: Belleville, IL

September 27: St. Louis, MO

October 10-12: Tacoma, WA (registration now available)

October 17-19: Denver, CO (registration now available)

November 22-24: Boston, MA (registration now available)

Can't attend? Join our Powerful Teaching book club on Facebook! The conversation has already started and we'll begin discussing Chapter 1 from Powerful Teaching starting Monday, July 8.

Read excerpts from Powerful Teaching. The book is also available on Kindle! Want an audiobook or translation? Email us and let us know.