Flashcards are as synonymous with vocabulary building as whiteboards are with teaching.
For most of us, though, thoughts of flashcards elicit shudders and dwell alongside our worst educational nightmares: cramming, slow library computers, expensive graphing calculators with too many buttons, backpacks stuffed with 60-pound textbooks.
Flashcards are effective, but they’re hopelessly boring. So we gave them an update, inspired by the latest research on vocabulary development and interactive design. The end result: a vocabulary development platform that will not only hold your attention but also make vocabulary learning as fun and simple as creating and sharing memes.
According to the ASCD, the definition of a word has to move from working memory (short-term) to long-term memory, if we want its definition to stick. VocaTales simply adds creativity to this process – users are prompted to create an entire story inspired by the new word, giving it a unique (and much more memorable) context. In the end, the educational process becomes more like meme creation than memorization.
For example, take a look at the tale for the term ‘egalitarian’. First, the basic sounds of the word are converted into a silly, sound-alike title: “eagle ate the train,”. The tale then tells the story of an eagle eating an anthropomorphic mail-toting train, who warns its friends that the eagle is egalitarian, in that it will not discriminate between any kind of train, putting all at risk.
Learners benefit most from creating or finding images to match words immediately after putting them into new language. That’s why VocaTales prompts users to pick an image or gif to represent the tale right after story creation. Not only does the interface allow for the quick selection of searchable images and gifs, it helps learners have more fun in the process, allowing them to choose images or gifs often used in memes.
We designed VocaTales to be a more fun and more efficient way of studying vocabulary than any other existing method. We didn’t make it this way just to attract users – we’re using creativity and meme-like social interaction to motivate learners who may otherwise struggle with the repetition involved in traditional flashcards. After all, getting through a whole study session is the first step to learning from one!
VocaTales has seamlessly folded the learning process into the tale-creating process, and the interactive features of the social platform. Users get notifications when their tale has received a thumbs up, comment, been favorited, or when more text is added to a story. This encourages users to revisit, re-read, and discuss each created tale many times over. The VocaTales platform as a whole can be seen as form of a metagame in which users compete against each other to gather the most likes, friends, comments, and story extensions. These factors are used to calculate a user score, which determines which of eight “levels” they belong to. The higher the level, the greater the perks and privileges users receive, rewarding VocaTales’ storytellers for their time and ingenuity.
VocaTales’ emphasis on creativity, humor, and social interaction effectively turns vocabulary building into an addictive way to play word games with your friends. We especially recommend VocaTales for fans of the following:
- Scrabble Word Finder
- Scrabble Cheat
- Anagram maker
- Text Twist
- Short stories
- Any other word/puzzle-based games!