Sunday, April 22, 2012

New Free Tool

I found a great little tool yesterday - and the best part is - it is free!

Anki is a flash-card program that you can use directly on your compute, from the web, and many mobile devices.  I came upon it while I was considering what to use for doing some basic spelling with Delta that he could do on his own - but it has so much more potential than that!

I have found it fairly simple to use so far, although I do recommend watching the videos to find out how to best setup your cards.  With a little customization, you can do even some pretty complicated things like "3 or 4 sided cards"  (for instance, one "side" has you saying a word (by recording you saying it), another "side" has the word typed out (the answer for spelling) - but you could also set it up so that it shows the word, and you try to remember the definition!

There are premade cards for various subjects that you can download to use - but really I think at this point that making your own can be a lot more productive.

But I haven't mentioned the best part yet....  it is designed to show you the cards at a frequency to help you best remember it based on how hard or easy you find that particular card.  I'm not claiming to totally understand the method used (I haven't seen the formula or anything like that...) - But when you look at the answer of the card, you indicate whether you got it wrong, got it right but it was hard, right and it was easy, or right and it was very easy.   When it will show you that card again will depend on things like how hard you found it, and how you have done on that card previously.

So - here is what I'm doing with it so far.... (keeping in mind I found it yesterday)

Math - I have entered in the addition math facts.  Yes, RightStart doesn't use flashcards... but I figure a few minutes a day won't hurt, and could help.  I tagged each fact with the strategy(ies) being used - so I can in theory have it select cards based on a strategy I want them to practice.  I will add other facts later.

Spelling - I have entered in a few spelling words to give this a try.  For these cards, I am requiring an answer to be typed in

Scripture Memory - I have entered our Scripture Cards into this, so that we are less likely to forget a scripture.  One thing I noticed right off, is I don't have the scriptures and their references matched up in my head - so I have added a "hint" button to the references... when I click on the hint, I get a topic or a couple of words to get me started.   I have these cards testing both ways - give me the reference and I try to say the scripture - or give me the scripture and I try to give the reference.   I may end up adding in some intermediate cards with these - ones that show most of the scripture, but with some words missing, etc...

Violin - I'm not sure if this is going to work the way I want, and I had to do some tweaking... but I've entered in the names of the violin songs we practice.  The card will come up, and the child plays the song - then evaluates how they did to give the answer a rating....  it should help us practice songs that aren't known as well more often than the ones they have been playing for years....   But I had to do some adjusting... I am hoping I have it so that the songs will be played at least once every 3 weeks no matter how mastered they are listed as...   I'll need to monitor that... if it is set so the card/song isn't due to come up for too long a time - I'll reset that card to be a new card...


This program was originally made to help people learn languages (specifically Japanese) - so I plan to put our foreign language vocabulary and eventually phrases in.  With ASL, I'd want to find either Videos or very good pictures of the words.

Other Memory - Scouting promises/laws/mottos,  poems, other "facts" that come up...  Maybe even setup a fun one with clips of music and they have to say the group/performer or the title....  (their dad would get a kick out of that...)

One minor thing - it seems to be designed for one user... but you can have various "decks" of cards, and can import and export... so you may want to name the decks things like Delta Spelling and Echo Spelling.  You just need to make sure you keep them all with all the cards...   (for one user, you can sync cards and progress using the internet to multiple computers and devices...)

The kids can't wait to try it out tomorrow!

Oh, and in case you think I forgot... you get the program here!