Recall and Reproduce- Teaching Activities Enhanced with Technology


Image of a mind map showing 6 different teaching activities linked to recall and reproduce. They are: flashcards, timelines, definitions, video Q and A, Headlines and true/false quizzes

1. Crosswords

Crossword puzzles are useful for the recall of recently learned information and vocabulary retention across a range of subject areas. They work as good starter activities and encourage independence, problem-solving and active engagement.

Enhance with technology

Crossword Labs is a free online crossword maker. You can either use one of the ready-made crossword puzzles or design your own. The puzzles can be solved online, shared as a URL, embedded into a website or printed off.

A screenshot of crossword labs. It shows a completed crossword with examples of some clues
A screenshot of Crossword Labs

2. Headlines

the word headlines written in white on a blue rectangle with a red rectangle underneath with the word today written in white

Provide students with a range of made-up news headlines, which provide a hint to a key concept previously covered. Students must identify the concept that each headline relates to. Stretch and challenge all students by using technical vocabulary to be defined or get students to replace a word with a synomyn.


Enhance with technology

mentimeter logo. A blue square speech bubble with the words mentimeter written afterwards

Mentimeter enables whole audience engagement whereby students can submit their answers to the headlines question and then their responses are displayed real-time on the whiteboard for everyone to see. Formulating a response which others will view tends to encourage more precision and thought than if a student is just asked to write their ideas down on paper.

3.True/false quiz

Silouette of a head with a question mark in the centre

True/false quizzes are a quick and easy way to check the recall of information. Either ask verbally or use cards, with the questions printed on one side and the answers on the back. Students can read out the cards to the class, wait for guesses, and then read out the answer and justification as to why the statement was true or false. To add more challenge and opportunity for discussion, adapt the question structure to provide some true/false statements with no set answers, e.g. mobile phones enhance learning – true or false?


Enhance with technology

2 logos: socrative and Kahoot

Use Socrative to create interactive quizzes. There is a free version and students can access the lecturer’s quizzes in seconds by Googling ‘Socrative student login’ and then typing in a room name. The student is not required to undergo any registration process, so this makes Socrative one of my personal favourites.

Download a Socrative instruction guide for teachers or students below.

With Socrative, lecturers can create quizzes, polls and exit tickets, to check knowledge before during and after class. Results can be viewed live by the lecturer and either shown on the whiteboard or kept hidden. This tool also allows for collaboration in answering the true-false questions whereby students can be put into groups to compete in a ‘space race’, with the winning team being the first group to answer all the questions correctly. Socrative is also a useful tool for flipped learning whereby the quiz can be launched before the class for students to complete, thus allowing the lecturer to have advanced knowledge of any areas needing further clarification before the lesson.

Kahoot is a similar tool but is more game-based, with the option to add videos, images and diagrams. Students respond to questions on their mobiles or tablets in class or before the lesson. Either create your own Kahoots, or use one of the many existing games already available. See below for my ideas on ten ways to use Kahoot (video created for free using Powtoon).

4. Flashcards

Basic icon of a piece of paper with a pen

Create flashcards using words, numbers, pictures or graphs to review learning and revise for exams. Students should make the flashcards themselves; while researching for the topic, students will be furthering their knowledge and determining what the critical information is. They will also be learning how to use the information when structuring the questions on the flashcards, which could ask for a description, a drawing, a list, a quote, the correct spelling of a key term or to fill in a missing word.


Enhance or transform with technology

The word Quizlet written in blue

Provide an alternative to just creating flashcards using traditional methods. Students could use Quizlet as an online tool to create flashcards from scratch, or use any of the templates already available. This can be an ‘either’ ‘or’ activity; despite all students completing the same activity, some have the option to use pens and paper, and others have the opportunity to select technology depending on their preference.

An exciting development in using technology for learning is the introduction of Augmented Reality (AR) flashcards. Flashcards which utilise AR ( AR flashcards ) have the potential to really bring this activity to life. Unfortunately, the current tools available are quite basic and are often targeted more towards pre-schoolers and primary school children, but who knows what will be available in the future!


 5. Definitions

Basic icon of a piece of paper with a pen

Provide students with a set of cards with keywords written on them; the key-words should have been discussed in previous lessons as this is a recall activity. Students must firstly write a one-sentence definition of the keyword. Once the written definitions are complete, students could be asked to add a suitable example or to write a sentence using the defined word to add in more challenge.


Enhance with technology

2 logos: Ninjawords,ninja written in black and words written in purple. Wordnik logo written in black with the o as an orange heart.

To provide more support with writing the definitions, provide Ninjawords or Wordnik. Wordnik is an online dictionary, but it also provides phrases using the words, allowing for more context-based understanding.

Wordnik will also show related words, so students have the opportunity to develop ideas by considering how the suggested related words are connected. Twitter tags using the word, visual images of the word and statistics are also provided to enable a more enriching experience to the activity. Finally, Wordnik also has a ‘word of the day’ feature, which can be used as a fun, quick starter activity to any lesson.


6. Video question and answer

red rectangle with a white triangle in the middle

Play a video or YouTube clip and then pause at various points for students to recall facts about the information viewed. Stretch and challenge by asking students to make predictions such as, what might happen next? What could the impact be? Or explain why something might have happened?


Enhance with technology

Ed puzzle logo. It has 4 coloured jigsaw pieces with the word edpuzzle written underneath.

Use an online tool such as Edpuzzle to create more interactive videos, which can be used both in and out of the classroom. They offer a free basic plan and to get started all you need to do is find a video on YouTube or upload your own video. Then you can record your voice to personalise it and eb=mbed questions into the video. Have a look through the tips and tricks section on their website for ideas on how to flip the classroom with Edpuzzle, just click here to access.


7. Timelines

a timeline icon consisting of a line with 3 rectangles positioned along the line

Timelines provide a visual representation of events, which are written or drawn in chronological order. Students can create timelines to recall events already covered, they can work individually or collaboratively, and the topic can be as basic or elaborate as desired.

Timelines do not have to only focus on recalling significant events; I have seen a useful past, present and future timeline in a language studies class, which was also used to teach students about different tenses. The timeline consisted of a straight horizontal line with past written on the left, present was placed in the middle and future was written at the far right of the line. Students then had to write a sentence of the event using the past, present and future tense.

This teaching activity can be extended to include more challenge. For example, to examine relationships between events, students could have two timelines running alongside each other to identify how events in one timeline are related to the other.


Enhance or transform with technology

Preceden is an interactive timeline application to enable users to create timelines online. The benefit of using this tool is that students can easily correct errors, add in or delete events without ruining the original structure, and save a copy for future reference. Preceden enables students to drag elements of the timeline, zoom into events and create ‘spans’ to identify how events overlap.

sutori logo - blue square with sutori written in white in the middle

Alternatively, use Sutori to enable the collaborative construction of timelines. Sutori also has the option for users to add in audio, images, quiz questions and video clips to create media-rich content and include breadth and depth, which would be difficult to achieve with a paper-based activity.



Burdo, J & O’Dwyer, L. (2015). ‘The effectiveness of concept mapping and retrieval practice as learning strategies in an undergraduate physiology course’ American Physiological Society Vol 39, 335–340. Available at: (last accessed 09/02/2020)

Karpicke, J.D & Blunt, J.R. (2011). ‘Retrieval Practice Produces More Learning than Elaborative Studying with Concept Mapping’ Science Vol 331 [772]. DOI: 10.1126/science.1199327 (Last accessed 09/02/2020)