mardi 19 juin 2012

Choosing flash cards application

After 8 months in Korea at last I’ve decided to start learning language. I’ve got Korean language textbook which I bought as soon as I came here. With my colleague we arranged language exchange lessons. English for Korean. So the time for learning words came.
I the very beginning of my life here I bought paper flip-cards to learn alphabet. This time I’ve decided to be more technological and use iPad and iPhone. Surely there are lots of flip card sets on the Internet but they are just abstract flip cards: korean numbers, colors, verbs etc. I needed special sets of flip cards linked to the lessons in my textbook. So there appeared necessity for creation of flip cards. For this activity iPad with its onscreen keyboard was perfect. And for word learning I planned to use iPhone. And final procedure for learning became:
  1. Create flip cards for the lesson on iPad
  2. Export it somewhere
  3. Import them on iPhone
  4. Learn words

My first choice was Evernote and Evernote Peek. So in Evernote I created notebook “Korean language” and then in this notebook I created notes with korean word as a title and translation as note body. Evernote Peek was able to successfully import this notebook and to work with it. But Evernote Peek working quite awfully on my old iPad. Maybe with iPad 2 and magic cover it would be just perfect but I’ve got no iPad 2 and no magic cover. So Evernote Peek was working quite awfully. Also there was no Evernote Peek for iPhone.
First I’ve tried to find another app capable of converting Evernote notebook to flip cards and came across Everword - Evernote Flashcards. It was able to synchronize with Evernote and convert note for flash-cards and provide some statistics after learning sessions. But still I was not happy with the app mainly because of the look/price ratio.
So I used “flashcard” search on App Store and got bunch of apps. And started trying them. The list of apps I’ve tried:
  • Flashcards+. App works both with iPhone and iPad, can interface Quizlet, has bearable UI. Though for some reason card flipping and switching was somewhat buggy.
  • Brainscape. App was created by “cognitive science enthusiasts”. Works both on iPhone and iPad, has built-in card editor, can interface Quizlet card database. During study sessions allows student to select level of word or picture knowledge to rearrange cards for the future study sessions. And also app provides different kinds of statistics.
  • Eductic. iPhone application with more or less standard feature set. Cards also can be marked by the level on knowledge (0—100%). But widget for mark is a slider and it is not so convenient to do this.
  • A+ Flashcards. App is available for both iPad and iPhone. Can get flash cards from Quizlet or from iTunes folder. Provides statistics on learning process, has three decks during study session “I know”, “I don’t know” and “Not sure” to mark word knowledge. It seems that app is implemented with Titan so it looks un-native and buggy.
  • Wordbook. iPhone app with quite simple interface. Has internal cards editor, with paid version it is possible to edit cards on PC and the import them in app over WiFi.
  • Wordbook Uni. App for learning word translation as it described on the app page. And yes, it is possible to create word books there with translation queried from somewhere.
  • Flipcards. Cute app available for iPhone. Has Quizlet integration, ability to create cards, in paid version it is capable of study and test sessions, grouping card decks in groups, TTS word pronunciation.
So after trying several apps the time to create cards came. It looked that the easiest way to do this was to create cards with Quizlet and then import them to any app supporting interfacing with this service. But for some reason Quizlet has quite awful web-interface for creation of quiz cards. Surely it supports cards import but the format is something strange. Though it was quite useful, the ability to set deck access permissions, ability to append existing deck etc. Brainscape also has web-interface for card creation (and built-in editor in iPad app). But still all this methods were slow and buggy.
Still I had some card already made in Evernote and obvious solution will be to convert this data to Quizlet (or Brainscape) import format, import data there and be happy. Still working with Evernote on iPad is much more pleasant than waiting for the web-interfaces. There’re two possibilities for export in Evernote - HTML and Evernote XML format (well, it’s XML with portions of HTML cause text notes still keep all formatting). Ok, we’ll take DOM, throw away all formatting and create cards in Quizlet/CSV format.
Then I’ve recalled that I have PlainText app, which I sometimes use for notes. It has very simple interface, synchronizes with Dropbox and work fast on my iPad. So the obvious solution was to create files a la


Then convert them to certain format e.g. JSON for Flipcards, import them in app and study. It will be possible to separate all words by lesson (just different text files). So I’ve decided to use Python for this task and came with this small program:
It’s a little bit incompatible with Windows OS but it wasn’t the target platform.
And so final process of creating flash cards looks like:
  1. Create cards in PlainText
  2. Convert them for Flipcards format
  3. Put resulting file to iTunes Flipcards folder
  4. Import them on iPhone
Maybe it’s strange but it’s more convenient for me than web-interfaces.

2 commentaires:

  1. This is a practical rundown of available flashcard programs. Thank you! Your readers might also consider our free EzFlashCards software (, written in JQuery, meaning that it works on iPhone, iPad, Android, PC, Mac, and Linux. Since it connects to Evernote, you have plenty of free tools to create and edit your notes. Our software then makes flashcards from your your Evernote info. Unlike Study Blue, it "hides" memorized cards without requiring payment.

    1. Thanks for the comment. Though Ezflashcards seems to be good still wasn't able to find "shuffle" there ;)