We all know that we study better with flashcards but in today's age the computer flashcard software captures the learner quicker and longer.
Jaden started Latin this year (using a fantastic curriculum called Cambridge Latin Course which we have both fallen in love with—review to come soon), so he needed a way to study his vocabulary words on a daily basis. I contemplated just having him make up some flashcards on 3×5 index cards, but he wasn't too keen on the idea, and I wasn't sure that physical flashcards would be a good idea either. Not only would he probably spend only the bare minimum of time studying the cards each day, but things like that tend to get lost in our house.
So I did a little research online to try to find a free flashcard program that Jaden could use to study with online. We tried out a few different flashcard websites, such as Flashcard Exchange and Study Stack; but we finally settled on a program called Anki which is actually a free software download, not an online application.
Here's what the Anki interface looks like. The front side of the flashcard is shown, and then the student clicks "Show Answer" to view the other side. Pretty basic, but effective all the same.
One of things I especially liked about Anki is that it uses a spaced repetition system (SRS), so it schedules flashcards to be reviewed at different intervals to help the student learn the information with a minimum amount of effort. With the SRS system, cards that are easy aren't reviewed as often as cards that are more difficult, so the student spends more time on the cards that need the most work.
You can see below how the student can rate each card as it is studied which determines how soon the card is viewed again.
Anki apparently has quite a powerful interface, but I've not investigated it much yet. I have a feeling we'll expand the way we use it in the future, but right now, it is serving Jaden very well. He's enjoying being able to review flashcards on the computer rather than with physical flashcards, and he doesn't even mind going through the deck more than once at each sitting (something that would likely never have happend with physical flashcards). I also appreciate that Anki records the time spent reviewing the cards, so I know for sure if he's actually been studying them.
I don't know if we'll be sticking with Anki forever, but for now, I'm thoroughly pleased that Jaden studies better with the flashcard software.