A website review: Quia

A few days ago I found out that the website we planned on using for supplementary materials for Steve’s Latin textbook, Cambridge Latin, took down access to all of their free materials. (Booooo!) There were vocabulary quizzes for every chapter, matching games for practicing declensions, a nice online dictionary with pronunciations for every word used in the whole textbook series, and lots of links to interesting articles describing Roman culture.

The loss of this great resource was very disappointing to both my son and me. After the end of every chapter of Latin that Steve and I studied, we especially looked forward to taking turns completing the online quizzes, mostly in an effort to see which of the two of us could answer the most questions correctly in the least amount of time. Competition helped keep us both motivated. We spent way more time practicing the new vocabulary using the quizzes than we otherwise would have spent on the material. I was concerned though that now that we didn’t have access to any easy and fun way to study the vocabulary, we wouldn’t spend as much time with the materials as we should.

In an effort to find some kind of replacement for those fun online quizzes, I did a Google search hoping to find quizzes and activities that some other industrious Latin instructor had written and put online to share with others. I did not find much at all with the exception of various quizzes put together and submitted by people to a website called www.Quia.com.

I had seen Quia mentioned a few times before by parents in, I believe, one of my online homeschool support groups, but yesterday was the first time I really looked closely at the website. There looks to be both a free version and a paid version of the site. The free version allows a person to use whatever quizzes and activities have already been saved to the site by other instructors. There is a search function where you can look to see if anyone else has shared any quizzes or activities specific to the particular textbook you are using. There were quite a few quizzes and activities I found specific to Steve’s Latin text.

The paid version costs $49 per year to use for an individual. (A school would have to pay more.) From what I can see, with the paid version, teachers can create quizzes with 10 different sorts of questions from multiple choice to matching and 16 different kinds of learning activities from hangman to flashcards. You can’t create your own quizzes and activities with the free version. One activity that I thought was really cool was a game on the website called Rags-to-Riches. It is kind of like a customizable version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? I thought the Rags-to-Riches game would be particularly fun with questions constructed from our science and history curricula. I am sure the game would lend itself well to any subject matter though.

Another perk of the paid version is the ability to create a class roster, assign a series of quizzes to that class, and then track the grades. This means I can create a separate class in Quia for each subject I want to use the quiz-making tools for. As Stephen takes the quizzes, Quia will automatically grade the tests and calculate the cumulative tests scores. Of course that would mean that I won’t have to calculate all those grades, but somehow I will manage to deal with the disappointment.

I have not decided whether I want to fork over the cash for the paid version or not yet. At least at the time I am writing this, you can set up an account and try Quia free for 30 days. I set up my account a few days ago, so I plan to play around with Quia the next four weeks and then decide whether it will be worth paying for or not. I really liked the fact that I was able to set up my account on Quia without providing any credit card information. I hate when some websites offer a free trial, but then ask for your credit card info from the get-go so that they can immediately start charging you once the free trial is up.

Last year I used a site called Thatquiz.com which is completely free and is similar in concept to Quia, but at first glance it looks like the Quia site can do a bit more. I am looking forward to comparing the two sites. Right now I intend to try to use Quia for Steve’s Latin and Spanish courses, but I really think it would probably be useful for any subject. When my 30-free trial is up, I hope to post an update here.

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