Comparative review: PC japanese typing version vs PC japanese tiles
for the past few months, due to some glitch - accidentally swapping languages on my phone while logged on to duolingo on my pc - I actually was able to access the japanese course on my PC, albeit with dutch instructions.
So I have used that version, which I will call "PC japanese typing", a bit, both for working through the various lessons, and for strengthing both without and with (! disastrously) timer.
And now Duolingo have officially made the japanese course available on the web, and I will call that "PC japanese tiles".
My first impression of "PC japanese tiles" is, it is very similar to the mobile app. It has various styles of question: Multi choice (4 tile-like options) Tiles (tiles show japanese) Type (in english) Matching pairs.
These are all direct counterparts of the mobile app version. Some have typing shortcuts (the multi choice ones) but others (the pairs game) don't seem to. So you have to use mouse or touch screen.
It has occurred to me that I could actually have gotten this experience on my PC by installing a phone "emulater" (a virtual mobile phone on a PC, e.g. for testing code) and installing duolingo on it.
But not quite:
The PC japanese tiles does allow some typing, but only in English - which I don't happen to need, because I don't feel I need to practice my English typing skills.
So in terms of ease of use, and benefit gained, I pretty much totally prefer the mobile version over this PC tiles version.
But I prefer the (accidental) PC japanese typing version over both. It had all typing exercises - typing in English and typing in japanese.
It was possible to do this by, e.g. using microsoft's japanese keyboard, and (if needed) rikaichan or similar for hover-over translations where necessary.
The experience was surprisingly usable, and the only difficulty really was, that it was a bit random which kanji/kana combinations might be accepted for a word. For example, in some sentences, 花 might be accepted, but not はな, while other times あおmight be accepted and not 青。 but generally, both the correct kanji, or the corresponding kana, were both accepted. I suppose if there were many beta users reporting, then this would gradually evolve so that all correct combinations would eventually be accepted.
It was very nice.
I did find this typing very good - I got things wrong more often than I do with the tiles version, but I also felt I learned more.
If it is as simple as allowing questions to sometimes be "typing" versions, that would be super. Having used it in that mode, I felt it already worked well for me, and I benefited from it - from my point of view, as an intermediate student, it did not need "fixing" to tiles.
However, thinking about absolute beginners, I can see that including japanese typing exercises could possibly be something of a barrier to motivation - they already have enough new things to contend with without making typing compulsory. And expecting typing at once might put beginners off.
So my suggestion would be:
Make the inclusion of target-language-typing exercises "optional" - in the same way that users can opt in and out of listening exercises and microphone exercises - maybe we could also opt in/out of target language typing exercises?
A link to resources to help knowing what to install on a PC to be able to type in japanese would be necessary.
The "type" version is no longer available as far as I can see. I have tried my previous "change languages" combination, and I get to a "tiles" version there too.
I am really hoping that in the future, the course does swap to having at least some typing exercises.
Good luck with the course.
I couldn't agree more. Making it optional would be the best way to make beginners and intermediate learners happy.
I wouldn't give up hope on Duo listening to us (or being aware of this wish already). Yesterday I got two tile exercises where every tile only had one character. It felt like they are on the right track.
I second that 100%, but i really doubt that anyone at Duolingo ever listens to us users - when the issue is beyond of what the contributers can decide it is just not going to happen.
Learning how to actually write the Kanji would also be super nice, and Skritter, HelloChinese or ChineseSkill for example prove that it is not too hard to design a training and learning system for just that which works in your browser and in mobile apps as well.