Flash cards!

Today I found this great application for the Mac called iFlash. It allows you to create your own (virtual) flash card decks. Flash cards hearken back to elementary school days… why would anyone want to use such a boring old metaphor for testing their memory? Aha! Because of the following iFlash features:

  • Cards can have more than two sides (I know my topology friends will love that). This is useful, for example, when studying Japanese; you can have kanji, kana, romaji, and English versions of the same word/phrase on different sides of the same card.
  • You can attach pictures to any side of any card via drag-and-drop.
  • You can record sound clips (or attach existing sound files) to any side of any card. This is ideal for a foreign language flash card deck. (You could even attach the sound of the word/phrase to a blank side of the card, to strictly drill listening comprehension.)
  • iFlash will shuffle the cards (if desired) and then drill you on them. You indicate whether or not you “got it” for each card, and it records this (as “memorized”) so that you can visually see your progress. It can also use this information to bias future card choices towards ones that you don’t yet have memorized. There are three different scoring methods you can choose between.

At right you can see a screenshot (click to enlarge) I took of the flash card file I started, using the vocabulary that’s been covered so far in the sixteen lessons I’ve had from japanesepod101.com. You can see that I’ve entered all of the hiragana “sides” and am in the process of filling in the English sides. (Actually, one of the English entries is wrong in this screenshot; anyone catch it?)

This would have come in very handy when I was memorizing mineral chemical compositions in Mineralogy three years ago!