Technology for Test Prep-- The Evolution
Established SAT and ACT test-preparation companies are moving from cell-phone services to podcasts. Kaplan continues its program of letting students download games, quizzes and practice tests to cell phones and hand-held devices. But now, Kaplan offers SAT prep programs that students can download from iTunes onto their iPods and iPhones.
The programs, at a cost of $4.99 each, focus on the SAT’s three graded sections: Critical Reading, Mathematics and Writing. The programs let students take timed and untimed quizzes and see their quiz score progress on charts and graphs.
Princeton Review offers SAT tips, tests and questions that can be downloaded to cell phones and hand-held devices, as well as free podcasts. One of the podcasts, “The Princeton Review Vocab Minute,” uses catchy tunes to teach vocabulary words. Princeton Review will launch a new podcast this fall on test-taking strategies.
Kristen Campbell, national director of SAT and ACT programs for Kaplan, says students can create their own quizzes from the downloadable podcasts, so they can focus on the topics they most need to study. “There are more than 1,000 questions a student can create customized quizzes with,” she said. Podcasts help students study during their incredibly busy schedules, Campbell says. “As a rule, we know students are busy. They’re on the go all the time -- going to baseball practice, band practice and summer jobs. This gives them a convenient device. If they have 15 minutes to spend, they can create a quick quiz.”
Podcasts are great for helping students eliminate silly answers, but they cannot cover every strategy and are designed for specific goals, says Princeton Review Publisher Rob Franek. “When it comes to a standardized test, the key is to practice, practice, practice,” he says. “That’s hard to employ in a podcast. The students have to take some practice exams.”
iPhone Invades College Campuses-- Is Your School One of Them?
In 2008, Abilene Christian University in Texas announced that all incoming students would have the option to receive either an iPhone or an iPod touch completely free. According to an ACU press release
, students on campus "will use an iPhone or iPod touch to receive homework alerts, answer in-class surveys and quizzes, get directions to their professors' offices, and check their meal and account balances - among more than 15 other useful web applications already developed."
Other universities are hot on their heels, according to Gina Hughes with Yahoo!Tech
, who specifically points out Harvard, Yale, MIT, Duke, Stanford, Oxford, Princeton, and UCLA.