Creating picture or multimedia flashcards

There are plenty of flashcards for mobile devices available for download for different learning objectives: learning the ABCs, basic vocabulary in many foreign languages and much more.  However, you might want to create your custom picture flashcards as a teacher or as a student, say, the parts of a car, cooking utensils, or any topic for which there are no ready-made flashcards. Using Picasa and Vocabulary trainer for Gdocs this is surprisingly easy.


Step one:

a)   Take the pictures yourself and upload to a new album via Picasa uploader or your mobile phone. The filename of the photo will be used as back side of the flashcards. Alternatively you can use the caption of the picture as a the back side of flashcard.
The latter is probably the better option, as you will be able to change the caption online, whereas you won’t be able to change the filename.

b)   Upload the images from the web, preferably creative commons photos using flickr or google advanced image search to find them.
The quickest way of getting them into picasa is using a browser plug-in like CloudSave which sends then photos right into a picasa webalbum. That saves you the work of downloading the photos from the web and then re-uploading them.
Step two:
Use Vocabulary trainer for Gdocs on your mobile phone to download the picasa album. Before you can do so, you need to enable “Picasa trainer import” from the settings menu (“additional features”). Otherwise the vocab trainer will only search in Google spreadsheets.

Once importorted you can start training with the flashcards or see them in list mode (see image). To turn the flashcards into multimedia flashcards all you need to do is turn on TTS (text to speech) for the back side and configure the language in the settings.

As creating a lot of flashcards takes quite some time it would be ideal to “crowdsource” the planned flashcards, i.e. to share the work with your friends or to do it as a class project. Picasa allows for collaboration via email invitation or email posts. Just share the link to the album to everybody else so that they can import the flashcards in their vocab trainers.

If the students create the photos themselves they could easily contribute them to the picasa album via email (see: Organizing a video or photo contest). The subject line will be the caption of the photo and therefore the back side of the flashcard.

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