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Kids 'flip' over memory cards

An educational aid developed by a mother to help her daughter's schoolwork has won exceptionally high levels of approval from teachers and pupils, according to a survey.

Primary and secondary schools across Glasgow have given the thumbs-up to miniature personal study cards called Flippers which help children memorise core curriculum facts. The study cards are also used for homework and exam revision and can give teachers instant assessments on pupil progress in many subjects.

First featured in a TES Scotland article by columnist Mike Russell (December 3), Flippers are the brainchild of Glasgow mother Linda Barnes.

Based on a version of personal study cards used for language vocabulary in Japan, Mrs Barnes adapted the idea to help daughter Leah, aged nine, who was having difficulty with sums.

Flippers consist of 60 small blank cards strung on a metal ring. Pupils write down the word, sum or fact on one side, and the correct answer on the other. When all the cards for the lesson have been filled in, they look at the questions and try to answer them. Then they just flip over the card to find out if they were right. Repeated use helps children memorise the information.

Mrs Barnes, who lives in Muirend, has now set up her own company, Pink Porcupine, to introduce them to schools across Britain.

Glasgow City Council's education department picked up on the Flipper cards and, working with Pink Porcupine, conducted a pilot scheme in 10 primary and three secondary schools.

This produced widespread acclaim for the cards as a new and highly effective teaching resource - 80.4 per cent of teachers were "extremely satisfied" or "satisfied" and wanted to continue using them. Approval ratings among the pupils were even higher, at 94.4 per cent.

Teacher comments noted improved levels of motivation among pupils and faster and more fluent memorising of core information, on everything from multiplication tables and English vocabulary to foreign languages and chemistry formulae.

Mrs Barnes said: "I'm very pleased with the results. Up to now, we have relied pretty much on word of mouth to generate widespread use. Teachers find out they are very effective in the classroom and talk to other teachers about them. I would love to get to the stage where they become an inexpensive, standard education resource, like a pencil, a rubber or a jotter.

"The kids really like them and the cards imbue them with a lot of confidence. They think of them as a personal resource. It 'manages'

information for them and they don't feel overwhelmed by what they have to absorb."

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