AndroCards is a flashcard system based on the Leitner method, programmed by René Grothmann. Flashcards are a great way to learn, and the Leitner system, supported by a schedule scheme, works amazingly well, if you have to learn vocabulary, geographical facts, medical details, or other well organized content. The Android program lets you create and edit cards on the Android, or import card decks from Quizlet.com, or other sources in the web. In AndroCards, you can organize your card deck in lessons, which may also have a rich formatted lesson text.
The main activities in AndroCards are
The program contains an extensive help, and this page will only explain the file formats of AndroCards in case you want to write card decks on a computer. Writing on a computer is much more comfortable, of course. Courses can be imported to the Android by copying files to the SD card, or by providing a download link on a web page. Moreover, courses can be prepared on the Quizlet.com site, and used on your Android.
The reason I wrote this program is to go beyond traditional flashcards. I wanted to have the functionality of a text book, at least as far as possible. This includes lesson texts, and explanatory details for each card. None of the traditional flashcard apps provide this to date. AndroCards can split courses into lessons each with its own lesson text. It can also add separated text to each card.
AndroCards does not provide a server functionality to exchange courses. Instead, it can use the well established Quizlet site to exchange cards. Or the user can provide a course for download on a web page. I am also happy to include well made courses in my static web page for easy download for AndroCards users. You find the courses I have currently made or collected on this page, or use the download link in the AndroCards app. My site is the default site.
You can download AndroCards from the Android market for only 0.99€.
Psychologically I am convinced that the system works so well, because
Getting a positive reward is important for learning. Not getting a positive feedback leads to giving up. That's why AndroCards by default starts with repetitions after 7 red lights. You get the chance to immediately remember the just learned facts, and reward yourself with a green button.
Of course, the problem remains, that the things are really hard to remember, or there are simply too many words. In that case, it helps to start the repetition after 3 unknown cards. It may also help to learn in the same order all the time. You can enable this in the settings for each course.
It is better to keep the number of cards in a lesson small. That is, why AndroCards offers to split a course into lessons. However, some collections of cards simply come in one large bunch. AndroCards Pro can split such courses into random lessons.
The exact formats the program accepts are explained below. Let me just mention the most easy way for a quick start. You can use Excel (and probably any open source counterpart).
For more advanced features like images or lessons, see the sections on the file formats below.
The following Videos are available on Youtube.
This is the most easy and wide spread format for AndroCards. In its basic form, the front and the back of a flashcard are contained in one line separated by a tab character (ASCII 9). Here is an example
Germany Berlin Netherlands Amsterdam | Den Haag France Paris
I assume that there is a tab between the two columns. Card sides can be multiline with | separating the lines. (The blanks around | are not necessary, but do not harm.)
Excel can produce such files from two column spreadsheets. Use a text file format to save the file. For non-English languages you need to have the file in the correct encoding. AndroCards determines the encoding by the file extension.
There are two additional rules for lines that do not contain a tab character.
Here are two additional formatting rules
This is like the tab separated format, but the two sides of the card are separated by a line break. See the rule in the previous section.
To import a card deck to AndroCards, connect the Android by USB to a computer, and open the SD card of the Android. Copy the card deck to the subdirectory "/androcards" on your SD card. It will appear in the course manager if you restart the manager, and can be imported as a card deck.
If you want to provide a web page with card decks, you have to zip all files of the card deck, even if it is only one file. On your web page, provide links to download the zip file. It is important, that the zip archive has the proper file extension, e.g. "archive.zip". Of course, you have to publish your web address somewhere, so people can find your files. The course homepage of AndroCards is here. It contains some sample card decks.
Your files (images or wiki files) can be named with ISO-8859-1 encoded filenames, but only if you use the Java packer jar to make the zip archive. This packer is contained in the Java development kit. Use the command "jar cvfM course.zip *.*" to make the zip file. If you use any other packer, like winzip or info-zip, you must restrict yourself to ASCII filenames. The name of the zip archive should be ASCII only, or escaped ISO-8859-1 (use %20 for space etc.) as usual when providing download links to non-ASCII filenames.
Importing from Quizlet.com is described in the program help.
If your cards should display images, you need to add the images to the zip archive containing the course, or copy them directly to the course directory. A width of 200-300 pixels is sufficient for most purposes. With future hardware, images might have to be bigger, but today the download to the Android is not really fast.
To display the image, use "img:filename" as in the following example
France Paris | img:paris.jpg
The "img" tag must take a complete line, and must not contain blanks.
AndroCards supports JPG and PNG formats. It is also possible to use a web address for the images. In this case, AndroCards will download all these images from the web on import. It is usually better and faster to provide the images in the zip archive. (However, this case of import happens with Quizlet courses containing images.)
AndroCards can organize its courses in lessons. Most courses from the web have only one lesson, but for AndroCards this is just a course with a single lesson. One way to can split your cards into lessons by providing a third column in the tab separated format.
France Paris start:France
All cards from that point will belong to the lesson France. Alternatively, you can assign a single card to a lesson, using the "lesson" tag.
France Paris lesson:France
Another method is to insert a line starting with ! and not containing a tab character.
Lessons can contain lesson text. This text is stored in files with the lesson name and the extension wiki, e.g. "France.wiki". These files contain enriched text in a wiki style language. The format is explained in detail below, or in the help in the program. Wiki files must be included into the zip archive of the course. If they are missing, the import will generate a wiki file for the lesson. If a wiki file is present, you can simply use the lesson name in the third column of the tab separated file. The lesson title is extracted from the first line of the wiki file.
Wiki files must be encoded in UTF-8, if you want to use non-ASCII letters. The filename can be any name. However, to get the file to the Android using a zip archive requires ASCII filenames, or ISO-8859-1 filenames and the Java packager jar. See above for more information on the import. Note that the lesson title is not the filename, but the content of the first line in the wiki file.
The lesson manager can split large lessons into parts, and combine many small lessons into a larger one. To get an overview of the lessons, use the statistics screen.
To support an easy writing of courses with lessons, AndroCards has an own format ANC. The file names must have the extension anc, e.g. "mycourse.anc". This format contains both the lesson texts, and the cards. Here is an example.
!First Lesson Here comes some wiki formatted text. Line breaks do not matter. Paragraphs are separated by ***empty lines***. # First Card Back of first Card | with two lines # Second Card Back of second Card | with image | img:test.png % *** comment: lines with % are ignored. *** !Second Lesson # First Card of second Lesson Back of the card
Lessons start with the lesson title, marked by "!". Cards start with a line "#". The format of the lesson text is the Wiki format explained below. The cards cannot be formatted.
AndroCards also supports this wide spread format. Course files must have the extension "csv", e.g. "mycourse.csv". An example line is
"card front","card back"
Multiline items are separated by "|", or with a line break. Line breaks in strings are not easy to read and manage, but some programs export cvs in this way.
The Wiki format is used in the Wiki files containing the lesson texts, and in the lesson texts contained in the ANC format.
The following rules apply.
To set a list of items indent the items with a blank. E.g.
first line second line third line
Items can be longer than one editor line. If lines do not start with a blank, they are attached to the previous line forming one long item. The list of items is indented in the display. It is indented twice as much, if the first line starts with two blanks.
If the lines start with " - ", there will be a bullet at each new item. The " - " is only necessary for the first item, and will put the list into bullet mode. However, it does not harm, if each item starts with " - ". To break an item into several lines, start the second line unindented.
- first line - second line - third line start
Text encloses by two stars as in **text** is set in italic, e.g. text, ***text*** with three stars is bold, e.g. text. If you need two stars in a line use \*\*. (Use the same escape trick for \|, \[,or \].)
You can generate links using "[[http://www.google.de Google]]". This will be displayed as a clickable link like this: Google.
If the course contains image files, these images can be displayed using [[img:filename.png]]. AndroCards supports JPG or PNG format. The images should not exceed 200-300 pixels in width. They will be resized to fit the screen, if they are larger.
Export is either in tab separated format, or in ANC format. Encoding is always UTF-8. Wiki files, and all images are exported together with the main file. The program will generate a zip archive in the /androcards directory on the SD card.
If you are using non-ASCII lesson names, the wiki file might be named with non-ASCII characters. This is not a problem as long as you use the jar packager to unpack the course archive. Use the command "jar xf course.zip". If you use any other zipper program, you should restrict the program to ASCII filenames in the global settings section of the course settings.