Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 03:59 pm est

CAS sophomore’s app presents alternative to flash cards

Posted on February 18, 2014 | by Nicole Del Mauro

Shawn Paik/WSN

When he was 12 years old, CAS sophomore Tanner Nelson was given a book titled “How to Design a Webpage” to keep him occupied while at his father’s office. The book sparked a strong interest that prompted Nelson to teach himself how to code websites and apps by reading books and watching online tutorials.

Nelson used this self-taught knowledge to create Cardie, an iPhone app designed to teach users vocabulary over time through a series of scheduled activities. The app launched on Feb. 1 and is available for free on the iTunes App Store.

Cardie is designed to hold multiple sets of vocabulary words. After downloading the app, users choose from the “Word of the Day” set, the pre-uploaded pack created by Nelson, or sets they have created or found using Quizlet, which they can import. Nelson’s inspiration for the app stemmed from his failed attempt at learning one new word a day on as a high school student.

Every day, a card displaying a word and its definition is selected from the pack and three daily tasks are assigned to each word. The tasks allow users to memorize definitions by using words in various interactive ways.

Some activities include incorporating the word in a sentence, creating small rhymes or mnemonic devices and uploading a picture associated with the word. Users can choose from a list which three tasks they want to complete for each word set.

CAS sophomore Josefa Bitenc said using Cardie helped her learn Latin vocabulary without making flash cards because the activities were more effective than traditional learning styles.

“Learning vocab for your language class is never going to be the most fun thing in the world, but anything you can do to make it better, in my book, is a good idea,” Bitenc said.

The app also reminds users to complete their activities. Users create a schedule that consists of three alerts — one for each morning, afternoon and night. At the selected times, users are notified it is time to complete an activity.

Completed activities are submitted and then graded by other Cardie users, which adds a social networking aspect to the app. Users are rewarded for correct answers with points and an activity’s point value decreases as a task is submitted further from its scheduled time. Grading other people’s work also earns users points.

Currently, the points are for bragging rights only, but Nelson said he plans to eventually have unlockable prizes.

Nelson said Cardie is an effective learning tool because exercises are fun to complete and users cannot forget to review material.

“You try to cram but if you just do things throughout the day it really gets seared into your memory,” Nelson said.

In the future, Nelson wants to expand the kind of material available to learn through the app. For example, an interactive digital piano keyboard to teach users notes is a feature Nelson hopes to develop.

“I really want this app to be something that you can use to learn anything,” Nelson said.

Nelson, who initially wanted to study pre-med and computer science, said he aspires to create apps relating to bioinformatics, a field focused on organizing, storing and analyzing biochemical and biological information that will help medical professionals.

“I really want to take it to the next level and use apps and code to help save people’s lives,” Nelson said.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Feb. 18 print edition. Nicole Del Mauro is a staff writer. Email her at


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Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

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Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

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Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

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