Writing practice with the iPhone/iPod Touch
I recently gave in and bought an iPod Touch, and it was, in all honesty, mostly so I could try out some of the hundreds of useful language-learning applications out there. The incredible potential of having not only mp3s and podcasts, but dictionaries, flashcards, and other learning tools in your pocket is a little bit mind-blowing.
So, you will probably see a few reviews and recommendations for not just individual applications, but general good practices when using your iPhone (or Android).
This first one is a slightly alternative way to use a productivity tool. I first downloaded the demo version of Use Your Handwriting (UYH) from Gee Whiz Stuff because it provided a seemingly novel way of jotting down notes and to do lists in your own handwriting (or fingerwriting).
After playing with it for a little bit, I realised that it would be an ideal way to practice my Chinese characters, as there’s a simple interface and a big writing/drawing area. You can easily move to the next screen (it even does it for you if you want), and shake to erase if you’re unhappy with your writing. If you turn the device vertically, you can write top-to-bottom and left-to-right like they used to do in the old days! The paid version even has rainbow colours (although you can, of course, choose other ones), which are different for almost every stroke, so you can tell if you are doing them correctly. It also lets you write long notes and has a very handy email function, so you can send your jottings to yourself, your teacher, or your friends.
If you’re a learner of a language with a non-roman script, I would highly recommend it for practicing your writing (get a stylus for even better results). It’s also a good place to jot down characters or words that you see during the day but can’t look up immediately. Or just general note-taking in bright colours!
Do you know any other good apps for this purpose, or language learning in general?