Tag Archives: review

MosaLingua – More than just flashcards

We have a review from my lovely language obsessed husband, Maik.

One of the perks of attending the 2016 Polyglot Gathering in Berlin was the amazing offer from the guys at MosaLingua to give every attendee free access to their Premium Apps for learning German, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Italian and Spanish.

 

Here’s what we think of them.

 

So, for a start, the apps are available for both iOS and Android. At its core, MosaLingua uses a flashcard system with spaced repetition. That doesn’t sound like anything special you might say, plenty of apps out there that already do that, but bear with us!

 

Here are some of the elements which set MosaLingua apart at first glance:

MosaLingua dialogues

 

  • Their phrases are well chosen, and useful in actual conversations
  • You can actually study entire, authentic dialogues
  • Good quality (native speaker) audio and images with each flashcard
  • A clever rating system

 

More on that last point:

 

Rather than being simply marked as right or wrong, the user can select four levels of marking the answer (in descending order of confidence): Perfect, good, difficult and again. These ratings determine the timing and frequency of when the flashcard is next presented.

 

But going back to the beginning, MosaLingua lets you select your level when you first start in the app, giving you some brief pointers of what you should be confident with at that level. Alternatively you can take a fairly simple placement test. Based on the results, the app then personalises your learning plan, so you don’t waste your time learning/ reviewing stuff you already know.

 

The flashcards you are presented with always contain full sentences. This clearly makes them more challenging than individual words, but also a lot more useful. To help your learning, each card is also presented in different ways, i.e. a card with a full sentence in either English or the foreign language, a card where you write out the phrase, or a jumbled up sentence where you need to select the correct words in the right order.

 

MosaLingua Categories

One feature we particularly like is the “Useful Lists”, which contains the following:

  • My new cards – yes, you can actually create your own cards within the app
  • By level – all available flash cards sorted into levels of difficulty from basics to advanced and specialised
  • Ignored cards – the ones you have chosen not to learn
  • Cards to learn – cards that you want to learn (obviously)
  • Memorised cards – the ones you are in the process of memorising
  • Cards to review (exactly what it says …)

 

On top of this you can jump straight into a subject that interests you, such as Eating, Shopping or Socialising, to name just a few. And you can unlock bonus material (including jokes) as you progress – an additional reward for your learning.

 

So, to summarise: MosaLingua is not your average spaced-repetition driven flashcard app. What sets it apart is how much you as the user can customise the app for your own purposes. If you get an answer right by sheer luck, you average app would just mark it as correct and assume you’ve learnt it, whereas MosaLingua will let you say “actually that as pretty difficult and I just happened to guess right”. Add to that the ability to create your own cards and the being able to study by topic, and you have a very personalised approach to virtual flashcards.

 

Of course no flashcard app is sufficient on its own to make you fluent in a language, but MosaLingua gives you a great set of tools to build up a useful arsenal of phrases. So, we recommend you give one of their apps a go. Test drive one of the free versions, and if you like it, you can upgrade for less than £5. Let us know what you think!

 

https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=MosaLingua+Crea

https://itunes.apple.com/us/developer/mosacrea-limited/id353372463

Trampolining fun


Hi I’m Emily and I’m Jasmin, today we are going to be reviewing this brand new trampoline park called Better Extreme at Gosling park Welwyn Garden City.

Emily

Just before you enter you have to watch a safety program which I think is a really good thing so you know what to do to not get hurt.

On the inside they have all sorts of things such as the diving board, trampoline, dodgeball, trapeze, trampolines, slackline, wrestling and long trampoline.

Jasmin

My favourite part was the trapeze because not many trampoline parks have a trapeze and also the slackline because it is was challenging to complete.

 

The diving board was fun because you could could jump up quite high into the foam pit.


Emily

I like this trampoline park because if you are thirsty or hungry you can get a drink or a biscuit for free. (They kindly provided this for us families reviewing on the day)

 

One of my favourites was the wrestling which was a bar and you have these protective things and you try and get the other person into the foam pit. I think it is good because it is kind of testing how strong and how long you can balance for.

 

Jasmin

I fought my mum on the wrestling and she won.  

Emily

One of my other favourites is the trapeze which you have to swing on and immediately letgo so you fall in the foam pit. I think it is good because it shows how far you can get into the foam pit.

 

Mum (Sarah)

I was so excited when I found out we had been invited to review this brand new trampoline park. We have been along to rush a few times and my girls loved it. I’d never had a go as I was too stingy to pay to play as well. We were lucky to be invited for free. I had a go with the girls. It was a LOT of fun.

 

The park was really well laid out and lots of activities were on offer. My girls’ eyes lit up when they went in. They ran for the trapeze first of all.

We were there for two hours and the time flew by.

The staff  were really enthusiastic.and friendly. A  few mentioned they had always wanted to work in a trampoline park.

The park is opening in early December. My girls have already asked when we are going back.

Can you get great sound and great style?

This week we have a first blog from Josh. A tech review on a set of Bluetooth headphones. So over to Josh.

Hi I’m Josh, the eldest child in the Lingotastic family, I am also a student and like looking at technology and the big advances in the technological world. I am currently doing my A-levels and one of the subjects I am doing is computing. I have been into technology from an early age. When I was around 7 years old I loved going on the computer, taking photos with my dad’s digital camera. I was also fascinated by mobile phones at the time, ever since I have enjoyed looking at the advancement of mobile phones from phones with physical keypads, through the early touch screen phones to now with phones which have high quality cameras built in. I like listening to music and headphones have very useful for me in the past as I have wanted to listen to music but not out loud as the rest of my family have different music tastes to me. I specifically like Bluetooth headphones as they have no cables to get caught on something while listening to music. Also because you can have your device on the other side of the room while listening to music, so when I was offered to review the August EP636 I couldn’t say no.

These headphones are very good quality headphones for the price they are as Bluetooth headphones. This is because:
Firstly, these headphones are very compact. In other headphones, I have used in the past, being compact can sometimes mean that the manufacturer has compromised on the build quality to make the headphones more compact, but in this case August hasn’t reduced the build quality of these headphones that much so that they are more compact. To further test build quality of the EP636 I then tested the quality and strength of the headband of the headphones. I could stretch the headband quite far without it feeling like it was going to break. During my time testing the EP636 at one point, they fell onto the ground from a meter high (3.28084 feet). After this drop happened the sound and build quality was not affected in any obvious way. The build quality isn’t all completely good though because when testing the headphones after an hour of listening to music with them it started to get a little bit uncomfortable, this may be because I have a fairly big head but I don’t think these headphones are designed for people with bigger heads.

The earcups move around a little too much for my liking this might be because they are on ear headphones, people want to adjust the angle and positioning but for me, it moves around too much. I really like the positioning of the media control buttons on the EP636 as they are exactly where I would expect buttons to be on Bluetooth headphones. Whereas in previous Bluetooth headphones I have used the media control buttons weren’t that intuitive to use. The addition of NFC to these headphones made it really simple and easy to pair the headphones to my phone as I just had to tap it against the back of my phone to connect and tap it once more to disconnect.

I liked the design of these headphones as I got the matte red version. I prefer a matte finish on headphones as the finish looks cleaner and smoother. I don’t think that there is enough cushioning on the earpads as they got slightly uncomfortable after an extended period of use. The sound quality of these Bluetooth headphones is reasonable for the price they are sold at. The bass is quite powerful which for the price of these headphones was quite unexpected, the mids and highs were not as clear and sounded quite muddy. I have not fully tested how long the battery on these headphones last but I have used them for a whole day without the headphones running out of charge. Overall these headphones are very good for the price as have a very good build quality and sound quality for a low budget.

Josh blogs about tech on https://joshtechcentral.wordpress.com/ Thanks Josh, we look forward to reading

Want to get your hands on a pair of these speakers with 40% off? Click here to get your discount code.

Then follow the link below to the Amazon product page

Disclaimer, we were offered these headphones at a reduced price in exchange for an honest review.

Learning OR playing, why choose?

games

At Lingotastic we love languages and always on the lookout for resources that will help with language learning. My daughter was over the moon to be asked to review a game.

We were sent two of the products from the Pic’n Mix range, Little Fashionista and Smart Watch.

 

Packaging

They are in good solid packaging so much less likely to get damaged than in a cardboard box. The cute carry handle lends itself to a take out toy for the times a quiet toy is needed, like parent’s evening for the older children  or quiet church service. The toy  is made of durable plastic  pieces which stick together with velcro. A multilingual instruction booklet is included, the translations are likely not done by a native speaker, but on the whole is understandable.

Play of game

Little fashionista is a simple doll dressing game which can either be played by matching the pieces on the game card or dressing the boy or girl as you wish.

Smart Watch is a clock face with numbers, countable pictures and scenes from daily routine to match to times.

Educational use

As we played together with the Little Fashionista game we talked about what we saw and named the clothing in English, we talked about the weather that the clothes were suited for and moved on to naming the items of clothing in German and French. We talked about the colours of clothes in English, German and French.

 

As we played the Smart Watch game we started by assembling the clock face and identifying the numbers. I put the counting pieces on the clock face in random places and my  daughter swapped them for the correct numbers , we  then moved them to the correct places on the clock. We played in English and German. We talked about daily routine and put the pictures on the clock to best match her routine. We used the clock handles to tell the time in English and German.

The game has many opportunities for learning together through play, whatever the language. So learning OR playing, why choose?

 

I asked my daughter what she thought and  she said “I think they are really good and I liked to play with them.”

My thoughts as a mum and teacher are “I like their simplicity and versatility. I may have to borrow the games for my one to one classes.”

Would you like to get them for your little one?

Here are the links

Let us know how you use them to learn together.

We were sent this games by Pic’n Mix to review. The opinions in this article are our own.

 

FlashSticks new app. A review

This week we have a review of the new sparkly FlashSticks app.
If you follow me on Twitter you’ll already know I’m a big fan of FlashSticks sticky post it notes. They are colour coded to help you remember the gender of words. Blue for masculine, pink for feminine and yellow for verbs and adjectives. For a visual learner like me they are a godsend. Simply stick them around your home or take photos when you are out and about like me!
On a windy day outside I’ve almost lost them a few times!

froid

froid

When I heard Flash Sticks were creating a new app I was so excited. I was NOT disappointed.

It launched only few weeks ago and Francesco challenged me to a competition. Being the competitive person I am, I could not resist! Guess what, I got more points than him 🙂

Lingotastic runs in six week blocks of French, German and Spanish. We’ve just started a block of Spanish and this has been a great way to tune into Spanish again. As any polyglot will tell you your strongest language often comes to mind first, so it takes practice to suppress this and the app has been a brilliant help for me to do this for this block.

 

So here is my review of the app.

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There is a “learn words” function which allows you to flick through the words before playing the games.

la barba

el pie

el pie

guapa

My favourite game is word flash. I really like that it shows the colour of the FlashSticks to help you remember their gender. The music is very reminiscent of countdown and keeps you focused.

The other game is “word drop”. A good way to test and improve your spelling of the new words, against a clock. The music for this is really feel-good and makes me smile.

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20150916_205215000_iOS

20150916_205030000_iOS

The cherry on top of the app is the amazing sci-fi object scanner. Simply switch on the object scanner and take a picture of the object and by some kind of magic (maybe elves?) the app tells you what it is in English and your chosen language.
Here are a few I took to try and fool the scanner.

Anyway, what are you waiting for?
Download the app for FREE and try it for yourself. Check out FlashSticks.com.
Let me know in the comments how you get on.
Disclaimer: These are my own thoughts and opinions. FlashSticks gave me a three month subscription in order to review this app which is just as well since I’ve found it to be addictive… What can I scan next?