Thursday, March 26, 2009

Skritter to learn Chinese characters

I just stumbled across Scritter today. Scritter lets you study Chinese character by writing them on the screen. And it's awesome. The implementation is very smooth. They ask you to write a character, and if you don't know it you can press a button to show it. It appears and then fades away before you can write it all. You can of course show it again, but short term memory should hold it there for you, and then you get some muscle memory action by writing it out there.

I started toying around with it to see what it was all about, and I'm addicted. Since I pretty much only type in Chinese, how to write characters is something that often slips my mind. This makes for a great refresher. And what's even more fun is that they cover tones as well. If I have one weakness in Chinese, that is it.

But what I'm most excited about is sitting my four-year-old daughter down in front of this thing. "Wanna play a Chinese game?" We'll see how that goes tomorrow hopefully. So far she's only started to recognize characters, not write them, but this seems to be a great device for getting kids to learn. My only complaint as far as children's learning goes is that the feedback that appears in the window—"Should hook", "Stroke backward", "Excellent!" and the like—are all text only. For a kid who's just learning to read, it'd be great if these were audible.

3 comments:

  1. good tool. but it has sound. after i write a character, if it can give me pronunciation sound, it is much better. you also can practice writing characters with Chinese volunteers.

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  2. Hey, my google alerts just tipped me off to this post and I wanted to stop by and say thanks for covering our site. Chinese Study Adviser is correct that we have some audio, but we had actually never thought of having audio feedback which is something I'll bring up with Nick and Scott.

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  3. I didn't mention it above, but the pronunciation of the characters that you have is great. But, as you note George, it's the feedback I'd like to be able to hear. To up the ante a bit, it'd be cool if the feedback could be in English or in Chinese.

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