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Skritter @ IALLT

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A talk we'll be giving at IALLT on May 30, 2009, about learning Chinese characters and Skritter.

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Skritter @ IALLT

  1. 1. A Better Method for Learning Chinese Characters
  2. 2. <ul><li>30 minutes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The problem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Current study methods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Our study: method & results </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What we’ve built to fix the problem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Future efficacy studies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>15 minutes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Questions, comments, suggestions </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Nick Winter </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Chinese, Mathematics, Computer Science </li></ul></ul><ul><li>George Saines </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cinema Studies and Economics </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Scott Erickson </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Computer Science </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Chinese is really hard to learn </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Speaking > Listening </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Writing > Reading </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Basic literacy: 2000+ </li></ul><ul><li>Full literacy: 4000-5000 </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>5 characters a day </li></ul><ul><li>~550 characters a year </li></ul><ul><li>learning through writing out character sheets </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Literature: more than 70+ methods </li></ul><ul><li>Memorization isn’t well-respected </li></ul><ul><li>Recent empirical research on vocabulary acquisition via other means </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Method our fellow students used: </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Theory: current study methods don’t work and lead to poor long term retention. </li></ul><ul><li>How poor? </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Test 1 st , 2 nd , and 3 rd year Oberlin students </li></ul><ul><li>Administer “known” character test </li></ul><ul><li>85% participation </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Sample sizes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1 st -semester: 30/35 students, 200/200 chars </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3 rd : 16/20, 150/727 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>5 th : 5/5, 150/1161 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Write character from definition, pinyin, and example words’ pinyin </li></ul><ul><li>~9 seconds per character </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>39%! </li></ul>1 st -years 2 nd -years 3 rd -years Score 62% 39% 38% Std. Dev. 22% 9% 14% Characters 123 / 200 284 / 727 441 / 1161
  12. 12. <ul><li>Not correlated with </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Number of strokes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Recency of study </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Frequency of use </li></ul></ul>
  13. 15. <ul><li>Easy long term review </li></ul><ul><li>Instantly accessible practice </li></ul><ul><li>No vocabulary management </li></ul><ul><li>Efficient, active recall </li></ul>
  14. 17. <ul><li>www.skritter.com </li></ul>
  15. 18. <ul><li>How it works: </li></ul>
  16. 19. <ul><li>Pinyin and definition practice </li></ul><ul><ul><li>allow users to learn all aspects of prompt </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>user-corrected definitions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Improved scheduling </li></ul><ul><li>Japanese support </li></ul>
  17. 20. <ul><li>Contextual, level-appropriate sentences </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher tools </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile phone version </li></ul>
  18. 21. <ul><li>Fall 2009: </li></ul><ul><li>outline how the study will be set up </li></ul><ul><li>outline how we’ll gauge success </li></ul><ul><li>we’re looking for institutions interested in helping us perform the study </li></ul>
  19. 22. <ul><li>Thank you very much for your time. </li></ul>

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