What Are Boom Cards? Getting Started with Boom Learning℠
Although the Boom Learning platform has existed for several years, it was during the pandemic, when most teachers and students were suddenly immersed in the world of remote learning, that I began exploring its features. I have since recognized that the platform offers practical applications in various educational environments and is not only useful for students engaged in home-based learning. Regardless of whether students are attending physical classes, participating in remote learning through screens, or being homeschooled by parents or caregivers, Boom Cards can serve as a valuable tool.
How Can Boom Learning Help?
Distance learning brought with it a whole bunch of learning management systems and platforms for delivering instruction to students. There are now so many ways to reach students from a distance, it can be quite overwhelming. When I first discovered Boom, I was hesitant to try another new system, but I’m so glad I did! Boom Cards are interactive, digital task cards created by teachers for students to use within the Boom Learning platform.
There are many great things about Boom, but what I like best is that it can be used in conjunction with your other learning management system (Google Classroom, Canvas, Microsoft Teams, Seesaw, etc.). This is because Boom Cards are played within their own platform which can easily be linked to whatever method you use to communicate with your students.
Helpful Features of the Boom Learning Platform
Here are some other things I love about Boom Cards:
- Boom Cards are self-checking, which allows students to be independent.
- Boom Cards support audio, meaning that creators can embed audio instructions. This makes Boom accessible to pre-readers, language learners, and students with various different needs!
- Boom Cards can be played on just about any device with a connection to the internet.
- The Boom platform has thousands of decks, both for sale and for free, that teachers can choose from to meet their students’ needs.
- Teachers can also create their own Boom Cards. Not seeing what you need? You can make your own deck just for your students or to give or sell to other teachers as well.
- Boom Learning provides teachers with data reports that can help drive instruction.
Getting Started with Boom
Teachers must have an account with Boom Learning in order to assign activities (called decks) to students. This requirement keeps the platform secure and safe for students. There are different levels of accounts with different associated costs depending on how you want to use the platform.
You can head over to the Boom homepage to read the most updated membership information, but as of right now, here’s a breakdown of the cost and benefits of each level:
Free – Starter Level: At this level, teachers (or parents) can create five student accounts. They can assign decks to those five students and can view reports of those students’ progress. At the starter level, users can make five of their own decks, but they cannot add custom sound to those decks. At this level, and all membership levels, teachers can assign unlimited Fastplay links to decks in their library. Fastplay links allow students to play the deck without signing in but do not provide any reports or data to teachers. Fastplay links expire after five days with free accounts and after 14 days with paid accounts (at which point the teacher can generate a new Fastplay link).
$25/Year – Essential Level: At the essential level, in addition to the benefits of the starter level, teachers can create up to 150 student accounts which they can place in up to 17 different “classrooms.” They can also share students and reports with colleagues, making collaboration within a school easy!
$40/Year – Premium Level: At the premium level, in addition to the benefits of the essential level, teachers can create an unlimited number of decks to assign to their own students (and add custom sounds, such as voice recordings, to those decks). Teachers also gain a “live monitoring” capability at this level, which allows them to view live progress reports as students play.
$50/Year – Publisher Level: At this final level, in addition to the benefits of the previous level, teachers are able to sell the decks they create in the Boom store.
Using Boom Cards with Students
Once you have a Boom account, you will be able to see any Boom decks that you have purchased (or gotten for free or created) in your library on the Boom platform. These are decks that you can now assign to your students. Boom has created a very useful collection of tutorials and videos in their help section that you can access if you have trouble when adding students and assigning decks.
Once you have created your roster on Boom (or imported your roster from Google Classroom if that’s the system you’re already using), you will need to decide how you want your students to access the Boom Cards. If you want students to be able to quickly play a game for practice and you aren’t interested in collecting data, you can simply have them click a Fastplay link (in your library, click on the blue “action” box next to a deck and select “Fast Pin” to get the link). You can send students this link through whatever LMS or communication system you use.
If you want to collect data (which you probably will at some point!) you have a few student sign-in options that you can explore in depth in this tutorial.
Boom Learning is a robust platform with too much to explore for me to cover in one post, so stay tuned for more! In the meantime, check out my Boom Cards on TPT to see if I have anything perfect for your class!