Monday, January 12, 2009

Anki: Studying Pays Off, Duh

So if you are studying vocabulary, read my previous post about Anki, and haven't downloaded and tried it out yet, go do it now. I mean NOW. RIGHT NOW. I am serious. Especially if you are actually serious about studying.

Now, I've skipped about 3 days of studying, and I had 40 kanji cards waiting for me to be reviewed when I came back (pretty bad given I only have 50 new words in my vocabulary list right now). For the past few days though I've been reviewing my kanji every day, and man, it's such a satisfying feeling when you actually get the, um, kanji correctly. (I was very tempted to use a swear word there, haha, but hey, you know what I mean anyway.) Really, it feels so good to get the kanji you thought you couldn't remember for the life of you actually written down on paper. What Anki does that you can't do by yourself is that it takes the job of deciding what you are going to review today, so you don't have to worry that you are not studying enough, or that maybe you have studying too much for the day and it's time to stop. Of course trusting the spaced repetition algorithm that Anki uses is up to you, but I know trusting my own sense of what, when, and how much I need to study didn't get me far in the past 4 months. With Anki I am doing my work every day, and it's actually fun too, and satisfying.

Now, if there was Anki for piano practice...

*whips self to get up and practice piano—I've been putting off practicing for 6 hours now*

By the way, Anki can be used for any other type of memorization. Basically whenever you could use flash cards, you can use Anki.

Clearing your vocabulary words is very exciting too, it pretty much makes studying into a game. I am now thinking of the logistics of using Anki with my students, I think I can do it, I just have to think carefully how to integrate it into the lesson. I think if I do it right the kids will have a blast. They are so competitive already. I can even do stuff like who has the best stats across all of my classes of the same level, etc.—so getting the kids compete as a group against other classes.

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