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In-qwizz-itive minds
Forsyth mom develops online study tool
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Forsyth County News

After years of flashcards and verbal quizzes to help her two children study for tests, Julie Wilson had enough.

"I just didn't want to do it anymore and I was frustrated," the Cumming resident said. "I knew with technology, there had to be another answer."

Nearly two years after her epiphany, and with the help of a computer programmer, Wilson has created an answer to productive studying with Qwizzy's World.

The Internet-based quiz site offers an individual approach to test preparation. Through the help of a friendly tutorial from Wilson the Whiz Kid, students of any age can create their own quiz, based on classroom materials.

"Once the quiz is created, it's there," Wilson said. "It's not going away.

"It's a permanent file and they can edit it, review it. They can take it and the site randomizes it, scores it and catalogues their score. So they can watch themselves improve as they take it."

By creating their own quiz, children are able to obtain more information as they type the questions, and retain more information each time they take the quiz, Wilson said.

Though the questions remain the same, the order is automatically scrambled to prevent memorizing answers in order.
Once the quiz questions are entered, they can be changed between multiple-choice, open-ended and true/false.
Her own children are a testament to the program's success, she said.

Son Jake, a seventh-grader at Vickery Middle School, and daughter Jenna, a third-grader at Vickery Elementary, have made significant improvement since they began using the program, she said.

While the quizzes created by students aren't added to a public forum, they can be sent specifically to a classmate or teacher through the "buddyshare" feature, provided they are members of Qwizzy's World.

Another feature, called the ultimate quiz, combines a series of quizzes, selected by the user, into one large test. The ultimate quiz is ideal for midterm and final exams, Wilson said.

The eventual goal is to integrate the program into the school system to allow teachers to offer quizzes as practice tests or homework assignments.

In November, Wilson had a soft launch of the product, inviting classrooms, home-schooled students, tutors and families to test and offer suggestions for changes.

"We got a lot of great reaction and support," Wilson said. "It told us that we can continue and this was something that was going to be a big hit. We put more into it and we're excited about where it's heading now.

"We're excited about the [international] reach. It's fun to have a company that you can put online and have appeal to everybody, but we'd like to appeal to people in our back door in Forsyth."

Patricia Rice-McNulty, a speech language pathologist who works with students in the Forsyth County school system and local private schools, was among those to test the Web site. She tried it with some of her private therapy clients and students.

"It enabled me to custom-tailor curriculum-based content in a format most suitable to each child's learning style," she said.

As a parent of two children, ages 9 and 10, she said the program has "changed the stressful chore of test preparation into an engaging and fun learning experience."

"They don't fight with me anymore when it comes time for testing," she said. "They find it very rewarding, and even if you didn't pass [the online quiz], it is presented in a very positive manner to make the changes."

The ability to enter weekly curriculum-based quizzes can help students prepare more efficiently, Wilson said.

The current Web site is geared toward all ages, she said, though they are working on specific programs for high school and college students.

For younger students who may not have intense homework, there are set quizzes to give parents and students an idea of what types of quizzes can be created to maximize retention.

Since the beginning, Qwizzy's World has been a family project, which is reflected in the characters throughout the Web site.

JennaBug, used for the younger children, is named after her daughter Jenna. Jacq the Snake, a foreign language tool, is named after her son Jake.

Wilson's husband, Denny, is the Den Master, while her father-in-law, Gene Dudley, is Geno the Dragon and she is Jewels the Fairy Godmother.

"It was my passion to make sure that my kids would have a tool they could use to study, build their test-taking confidence and still have time to do the extracurricular activities they needed to do," she said.