Over the past week or so I was able to use something that would be a great tool to jump-start my language learning progress into the New Year. FlashSticks! What are FlashSticks you ask? They are post-it notes with essential words and phrases to help you learn your target language. They also include an English translation and distinguish whether the word is a masculine, feminine or neuter noun or which verb the conjugation stems from. They also have written pronunciation underneath the word or phrase itself. You can still these post-it notes whether you would like. They are especially helpful if you place them on to the object that best represents that word or phrase being described.
For example you might want to add the word “das Buch” to a book to help you remember that in German: “”das Buch” means “The Book” in English.
Which Languages Does FlashSticks Cater To?
There are currently available to learners of Spanish, French, Italian, German, Mandarin Chinese, British Sign Language, English and Portuguese. I myself selected the German set of FlashSticks which includes four sets of FlashSticks in yellow, blue, pink and green and is aimed at beginners of German. There are twelve different packs for learners of French, thirteen packs for learners of Spanish, three packs for learners of Italian, three packs for German, one pack for Portuguese, one pack for Mandarin Chinese, two packs for British Sign Language and three packs for English as a foreign language. I am sure they will add more packs to the languages that do not currently have a lot to choose from as well as more languages in the future. So if they language you are learning not there yet. Definitely check back later.
What Makes FlashSticks Stand Out From Typical Flashcards? There’s An App For It!
That’s right! There’s a free app that you can download from either the App Store (iPhone) or the Google Play (Android) Store for your mobile devices. What the app enables you to do is to scan each FlashStick and a video with a native speaker will appear that will give you the pronunciation of the word or phrase you want to learn. How cool is that? There’s also an option for you to scan everyday objects and have it translated for you in your target language. If you’re not familiar with how to use the app, there’s a tutorial to help guide you on how to use it. However, you only get so many object and content scans for free. After that you can do an unlimited Scan Object free trial which lasts for a good 30 days and then it costs $2.98 per month (convert currency), an Unlimited Content Pass and Unlimited Everything which both also allow you to have a 30 day trial. The Unlimited Content Pass also costs $2.98 per month but the Unlimited Everything costs $3.98 per month. Which I have to say is actually quite affordable compared to other language learning websites and apps which charge at least $10+ per month to use their services.
- Each FlashStick is colour-coded to help you distinguish between feminine, masculine and neuter nouns.
- Verbs, Colours, Numbers, Adjectives and Phrases are separated from nouns with differentiating genders.
- There are visual queues on each card.
- Pronunciation of each word or phrase is located just below the word itself.
- The accompanying app includes video of native speakers saying each word or phrase for each FlashStick scanned.
- The FlashSticks are not adhesive enough to stay on for long. I noticed that after a short while they tended to fall off the object they stuck after a while.
- While scanning objects, the translation itself had errors and typos when it attempted to translate the object I scanned. A notable example was: “Rosa und Schwarz Heaphones” which I could tell was supposed to be “headphones” but the typo left it untranslated.
- English on the FlashSticks themselves. I would have personally preferred to have the English on the backs of the FlashSticks so that way the visual prompt can help trigger what the word means without having to translate it. Although, I do understand why it was done. Especially for words where it would not be immediately recognisable otherwise. Since the English translation is already spoken by the native speaker in the app, I would have personally not included the English on the FlashSticks themselves or at least put them on the backside if it were possible.
I would recommend these as a supplement to your language studies as opposed to an independent learning resource. Especially if you’re learning languages on your own, it’s a good way to learn supplemental vocabulary that you might have missed or need a good refresher if you are just coming back to learning a language after spending too much time away from learning your target language. In order to make the best use out of FlashSticks you will need to be able to use the app on your smartphone as you are learning. These would be great for language teachers to use in their classroom as well. If you’re learning Spanish or French, you are going make better use of these because there are more options for them to choose from at the moment. For learners of German, Italian, Portuguese, English as a Foreign Language or British Sign Language, I would definitely get the pack(s) available and then wait until there are more available in your target language. But make sure you supplement them with another resource as I have stated previously, and of course use the accompany app. Had it not been for the app, I would not have recommended these because you can make your own flashcards with the vocabulary and phrases that are most beneficial to you personally. But overall, I am quite impressed with their product.
What do you think? Do you have FlashSticks? If so, how do you effectively make use of them? I would love to hear what you think in the comments! 🙂