ASL Space Repetition

During the Fall of 2016 I had the good fortune to have an inspiring young lady as a student in my class who happened to be deaf. Unfortunately, she eventually had to drop my class so that she could work on improving her ability to read. For those of you who don't know, reading is extremely difficult for people who are deaf as English is a phonetic language. Since they cannot sound a word out, they have to memorize how to spell everything. Being a fan of spaced repetition (I used Anki for years to build my Spanish vocabulary), it seemed like a no brainer to try and hook her up with a spaced repetition program, but everything we tried seemed a bit clunky and just didn't meet her needs. So, I decided to create my own app that would meet the following requirements:
  • It had to be completely free (sadly, Anki is an expensive App on the iPhone).
  • It had to require 100% correct textual input (only Tiny Cards requires users to input text responses, and they DO NOT require 100% accuracy).
  • It had to provide teachers with an easy way to gauge a student's progress (no spaced repetition system currently provides such functionality)
  • It would double as a tool for hearing people to learn sign language.
I'm sorry to say my app is definitely a bit rough around the edges, but it does work on pretty much any modern device with a web browser and is free to use. Currently there are only 20 signs/words as I'm still at the proof of concept stage of development. I am looking for feedback from anyone interested in using the program. If you would like me to set you up with an account, please contact me with the Google account username you'd like me to add (I use Google's authentication system to create accounts). If you are an educator who would like to use this app to track your students' progress, I'm happy to help you set up your very own instance of this app.

Please be forewarned that you will have to be patient as each video loads. In order to make this web app run on the widest possible number of devices, I've had to make some trade offs, one of which is speed. I will continue to work to optimize the app to make it more user friendly. Your feedback at this juncture is critical (email me or use my Contact Me page).


How ASL Spaced Repetition Works
Users choose how many signs/words to learn during a given study sessions. Signs/words are then pulled in order from a Google spreadsheet and shown to the user. If the user types in the correct spelling for a given sign, my spaced repetition algorithm calculates a new due date some point in the future based on weighted average of past answers, the number of correct consecutive answers, and the current time. Each correct consecutive answer results in a review interval approximates 10 times the previous interval. So, the first time you answer correctly, the sign/word will be scheduled for review approximately 1 minute in the future. If you answer correctly again, that interval will increase to 10 minutes, then 100 minutes, then 1000 minutes, etc. Incorrect responses result in resetting of this process. I have added a small random element to the process to prevent signs/words from showing up in the same order and I use the weighted average of past answers to amplify the interval.

The idea is to use a student's time as efficiently as possible by only presenting them with the signs/words they're about to forget. By using the app for perhaps 15 minutes once or twice a day, a user should be able to force well over a thousand signs/words into long term memory within the span of a year.
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