水曜日, 11月 07, 2007

More channels for Kanji learning

Spend all your time online hanging out with friends on social networking sites?

Think about nothing but how you going to express yourself in your next Facebook update?

Sounds like you might work in the news centre at the BBC, but equally, if you're in to learning Japanese then you may finally have a legitimate reason for spending time loitering on fb:

Kanji Box

Following a run of checking these things out, Kanji Box is an interesting addition to the pack. A fb app that actually manages to do something meaningful, it offers all the jouyou kanji, cut and sliced two ways - by school grade or JLPT. You can review or test yourself on the characters and, and perhaps this is the killer part of this app, you can review your score results online against your fb buddies.

In addition it offers vocab (something I'm criminally weak on) and kana - great if you are just getting started.

The testing app is okay - you choose the correct answer from four options (but I'm not sure that this is self-defeating as this means that guessing becomes legitimated) and you have a clock to go against. There is no faulting the material either as the code-ninja that pulled it together is hauling on the venerable J-Dic of Jim Breen. Truly the Nihongo-phile portion of the Internet would collapse without that man around.

I like this, because unless we are as focussed on our results as Carlie, who blogs her progress on Reviewing the Kanji, Japanese study can be quite an insular process. Bringing learning apps to fb offers an interesting, and hitherto unexplored angle to things.

However, that same blog has also brought to my attention another spaced learning tool, which comes with a Japanese focus, but excitingly is also ostensibly for what ever you choose:

Anki

I've not got so much to say about this one as it appears to be a commercial app, but Anki looks pretty sweet.

It's another tool that draws on the spaced learning ideas of Sebastian Leitner. Like I say, although this is a tool designed to work with what ever you wish to add, it comes preconfigured with Japanese content. It looks really clean and nice, which is a bonus in a field that can sometimes look a bit homebaked. What makes it stand out for me are the impressive reporting stats and graphs, and the sophistication of the spacing element.

Anki is available for Windows, Mac and Debian Linux. Check out the screenshots for a bit more about how it all goes together.

I'm not in the market for such a thing right now as my kanji needs are being met by Reviewing the Kanji, and now Kanji Box, but if I find a learning need that could draw on Leitner as precisely as kanji learning does, I think I know where I'll be looking.

2 件のコメント:

Chris (i-cjw.com) さんのコメント...

A little tangential, but I wondered if you'd seen this:

http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2007/11/07/how-to-learn-but-not-master-any-language-in-1-hour-plus-a-favor/

I'm certainly not convinced, but it's an interesting approach..

DanR さんのコメント...

Cheers Chris

I have Tim's blog on my reader but I hadn't spotted this one yet. Not sure whether he is for real or a bull spreader - but even if it's the latter he is incredibly effective so he obviously has something going.

I really agree with what he says though too - I don't know if you read my earlier entry but I struggled to learn Japanese until I really got under the hood of the grammar and the flow. This approach would really work for me on a new language (actually, I'd like to try Swedish - great wilderness). Thanks for bringing it to my attention.