Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Applications for spaced repetition flashcards

There seem to be (at least) three major good online flashcard providers on the market for EFL. They all work using the system of building your memory by review based on spaced repetition.

Phase 6: http://www.phase6.co.za/opencms/Homepage
This service has been around since 2002, and it's probably the most professional. It is basically an empty tool that lets you create your own content. Available for Mac OSX and Windows, but the Mac version is in Beta. The blurb says content includes English for ESL, Spanish, other languages and academic vocabulary and terminology (science, law, medicine, economics)

Their blog says that they have introduced "The “i-tunes of education” concept:
"As of June 2009, we’ve got the following (publishers) on board: Diesterweg Verlag, Klett Verlag, Cornelsen Verlag, Langenscheid Verlag, Springer Verlag, C.C.Buchner Verlag, Mentor Verlag, and Martin’s Little Helper."
Anki: http://ichi2.net/anki
This service is free and Open Source. Very friendly video introduction. Available for Windows and Mac OSX, for jailbroken iPhones and the iPod Touch. This is primarily for writing up your own vocab, but it seems to be geared to content sharing communities, so for example teachers can push contents to students.
I've seen this recommended on Das Englisch Forum.

AZ6-1: http://www.az6-1.de
This service was developed by a father-daughter team, and it now seems to be used with PONS content. Besides serving Mac, Windows and Linus, it has a mobile app, but only for phones running Java MIDP 2.0. The focus seems to be on ready content that you can buy in small topical modules, geared to content at German schools. You can add your own content, as with the others, too. A USP seems to be the colorful skins you can put on your learning environment, which appeals to the kids.

Do any of you have experience using any of these, or other similar flashcard applications? Thanks for sharing tips!


decline and fall said...

I made my own flashcards app a couple of years ago, as a way of thinking through how such a thing should look. See http://decline-and-fall.net/vocabcards.

It has word and picture cues, plus pronunciation files, example sentences etc. In other words, it needs a teacher to input the words, The student gets lots of configuration options, and a three-stage learning process: look and listen to the words, then gradually eliminate from the pack those that he or she has learned, then test by writing the words.

The app can run from a website or on a standalone computer (or via a beamer in class). I also made an authoring app for inputting the exercise data. It's free to use. I used it a lot (and it went down well) when I was working in Germany. Now I've got students who, when they're not French, come from all over the place, so I can only use pictures.

Judy said...

My kids have been using flash cards for a while now and its really effective.They qestion each other and have fun time together meanwhile learn too.