TouchMyApps » english http://www.touchmyapps.com All Things iPhone and iPad for those who like to Touch. iOS App reviews, News, New Apps, Price Drops and App Gone Free Fri, 17 Oct 2014 21:42:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.7.4 English for green thumbs: Learning To Speak English: In The Garden http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/06/22/english-for-green-thumbs-learning-to-speak-english-in-the-garden/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/06/22/english-for-green-thumbs-learning-to-speak-english-in-the-garden/#comments Tue, 22 Jun 2010 15:07:38 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=34989 EasySource (Hong Kong) have some interesting English press releases, but they also have a pretty rad outlook on English educational apps. Traditionally, getting Little You to speak English instead of your native language costs thousands of pesos and robs your house of a screaming brat for hours at a time. If EasySource are to be trusted … Read more]]>

EasySource (Hong Kong) have some interesting English press releases, but they also have a pretty rad outlook on English educational apps. Traditionally, getting Little You to speak English instead of your native language costs thousands of pesos and robs your house of a screaming brat for hours at a time. If EasySource are to be trusted (and who wouldn’t trust a company called EasySource?), ESL education can be had for as little as 3.99$. Learning To Speak English (yep, each word cap’ed) uses traditional flashcards to coax a little of the Queen’s language from your child.

English teachers: TMA’ll keep it under wraps for your job security.

Learning EasySource, Learning To Speak English: In The Garden, 3.99$

Read more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2010/06/22/english-for-green-thumbs-learning-to-speak-english-in-the-garden/feed/ 0
The Long Pencil in Review – Much too short http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/06/26/the-long-pencil-in-review-much-too-short/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/06/26/the-long-pencil-in-review-much-too-short/#comments Sat, 27 Jun 2009 03:19:59 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=14402 Like PC Dr. Momo, The Long Pencil is a digital book that features both Japanese and English text. But unlike Dr. Momo, it has a complete audio narration in both languages, and for fun, a lively musical track that fits the children’s literature genre very well. I’d rather not get into the story much at … Read more]]>

review-books-thelongpencil-img_0096

Like PC Dr. Momo, The Long Pencil is a digital book that features both Japanese and English text. But unlike Dr. Momo, it has a complete audio narration in both languages, and for fun, a lively musical track that fits the children’s literature genre very well.

I’d rather not get into the story much at all – that would be unfair to those of you who will purchase the app. Rather, I’ll discuss why this app is useful and where it falls short. Firstly, The Long Pencil is bilingual, cute and imaginative. Both Japanese and English-speaking children can enjoy the pictures, story and sound. But beyond that, it can serve as a back-to-back listening and reading comprehension app for students of either language. For these reasons, The Long Pencil is great – its combination of pictures and simple English or Japanese should appeal to learners who need to work on simple grammar structures and vocabulary.

Moving the pictures back and forth is done smoothly with flicks and you can always go back to the app’s home screen by touching the house icon. In audio mode, you control it similarly to watching a YouTube video or an iPod movie.

review-books-thelongpencil-img_0104 review-books-thelongpencil-img_0098

But, it seems oddly out of place on an iPhone. What I mean is that it is not a book in the traditional sense. If a student is not reading it, then certainly it is better suited for a kid than an adult. But, a kid cannot draw on its pages, dribble Cheerios on its cover or throw it around the room. A kid, having done any of the above will likely experience the same treatment from his/her parents. But, the single most telling example that this is not a book (or platform) suited for kids is the narrative itself. When in audio mode, the book goes on auto-pilot, zooming and panning in and out of pictures with a monologue pushing the story forward. Except that, this monologue is monotone. If for children, it should have more energy and emotion. Even for adults, the narrator should sound like he wants to read the story.

As far as content, ながいえんぴつ or The Long Pencil is rather short! It can be read in under 2 minutes even with one hand tied behind the back. Though having two languages at its base helps the overall length, this is the shortest story I have read on the iPhone.

review-books-thelongpencil-img_0097 review-books-thelongpencil-img_0095

Overall, The Long Pencil is cute. The story really is nicely written and the fact that it comes in two languages is helpful. But it is really short, narrated in monotones and probably not the best platform for kids. The Long Pencil has a market, but finding it is hard. Is it the student? The parent with a child on her/his lap? Perhaps the similarly inspired artist?

Considering my reservations about market, voice, length and value, I will have to give a Slap to The Long Pencil.

slap-icon

App Summary
Title: The Long Pencil (V 1.0) Developer: Studio Loupe
Price: $0.99 App Size: 0.5 mb
  • Cute story
  • Both English and 日本語
  • Very short
  • Offers much less content than similarly priced ‘books’
  • What is the market? Kids? Students?

appstoreicon

Care for more Book articles? Look below:
Cory Doctorow’s ‘Little Brother’ Option Sold to Don Murphy – Enter the QueuePhone — A Comparison of Three eBook ReadersPC Dr. Momo
review-books-thelongpencil-img_0095 review-books-thelongpencil-img_0096 review-books-thelongpencil-img_0097 review-books-thelongpencil-img_0098 review-books-thelongpencil-img_0103 review-books-thelongpencil-img_0104

Read more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/06/26/the-long-pencil-in-review-much-too-short/feed/ 1
Dr.コーパス英単語道場 (Dr. Corpus English Vocabulary Dojo) in Review – An excellent Study Tool http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/06/04/dr-corpus-in-review-english-and-japanese-study-tool/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/06/04/dr-corpus-in-review-english-and-japanese-study-tool/#comments Fri, 05 Jun 2009 05:50:26 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=12253 Previously, I reviewed one of Nihon IR‘s other popular English Language study tools, 出る順. Dr. コーパス is similar in its approach in that it isolates vocabulary and allows students to select from different review methods. Both apps are geared for English study, but as I hope to show, are excellent tools for learning Japanese. While … Read more]]>

review-education-drcorpus-01-title

Previously, I reviewed one of Nihon IR‘s other popular English Language study tools, 出る順. Dr. コーパス is similar in its approach in that it isolates vocabulary and allows students to select from different review methods. Both apps are geared for English study, but as I hope to show, are excellent tools for learning Japanese. While this review will be short, it will focus on how and/or if Nihon IR have managed to create a good study formula. 

Sights and Sounds
As in 出る順、Dr. コーパス also makes use of excellently-recorded voice tracks for students to compare/contrast in their studies. Similarly, the menu system, title screens, study and test modes are simply but beautifully designed. Nihon IR have put together a well-polished and aesthetic study app which is a joy to use.

Study Mode
In normal study mode, you can browse from the entire list of vocabulary words or choose from troublesome words. Study mode is the meat and potatoes of Dr. コーパス which features flash cards, word sheets, usage patterns and phrases to study. Here, you will control what and how you study, review pace what words need special attention.

This excellent and comprehensive section can be a real boon to your studies in Japanese or English.

review-education-drcorpus-03-studymode01 review-education-drcorpus-04-studymode02

Dojo Mode
Dojo is a review mode that features three different characters who will test you while performing some sort of martial art (I am not joking). If you like tests, dojo mode will be up your alley, but remember, without properly studying first, it may be hard to complete Dojo with good marks.Tests consist of fill in the gaps, listening comprehension and multiple guess sections. There is also a comprehensive test of 40-50 questions that borrows from each of the test modes. Dojo is a fun and cute way to review vocabulary and sentences. Each mode is short, gives immediate evaluation of your vocabulary retention and targets a specific area of vocabulary study. 

review-education-drcorpus-review01 review-education-drcorpus-review02

Positives
Dr. コーパス is a great tool for reviewing vocabulary and sentence structures with excellently recorded audio and an easy to navigate menu system. Its audience is Japanese-speaking, but English students of Japanese will also benefit from this excellent app. The cartoon characters are cute and helpful, the music unobtrusive and the entire app is well polished – a great tool for language students of both languages.

review-education-drcorpus-img_0034_2

Negatives
While this app is well-engineered, like 出る順, it can be construed as too pricey. Nihon IR make excellent study tools – tools that would benefit the non-Japanese as well as the Japanese student. But, the marketing behind Dr. コーパス is targeted completely at the Japanese market. Nihon IR should translate some of their material and interface to attract the non-Japanese consumer. Current Japanese study apps in the App Store pale in comparison to Nihon IR’s simple, but beautifully engineered products.

Conclusion
Dr. コーパス is a definite Grab. It is wonderfully thought-through from menu items to recorded voice. Vocabulary, sentence patterns and phrases work together perfectly – this app has a premium feel from start to finish. Some may think it pricey, but it is worth it. Unfortunately, Nihon IR’s product is so well-made that it needs to be marketed toward the non-Japanese also. There simply is nothing this well-programmed in the App Store for studying Japanese.

grab-icon

App Summary
Title: Dr. コーパス英単語道場 (V 1.1) Developer: Nihon IR
Price: $8.99 App Size: 41.1 MB
  • Beautiful interface and menu system
  • Study-able music
  • Many study modes to choose from
  • Great tool for learners of both Japanese and English
  • Cute characters
  • Not cheap
  • Nihon IR should market this for non-Japanese

appstoreicon

Read more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/06/04/dr-corpus-in-review-english-and-japanese-study-tool/feed/ 0
出る順で最短合格 in Review – Quick English and Japanese Study Tool http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/05/15/nihon-ir-english-test-in-review/ http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/05/15/nihon-ir-english-test-in-review/#comments Fri, 15 May 2009 14:12:13 +0000 http://www.touchmyapps.com/?p=10212 Nihon IR, maker of PC Dr. Momo, along with the Japan Times, have an ace up their sleeves; 出る順 is an excellent Japanese-English study tool as well as a great reference for learners of Japanese. It is a set of true language study implements that are geared toward the Japanese learner of English, but also … Read more]]>

review-education-englishtest1-img_0003

Nihon IR, maker of PC Dr. Momo, along with the Japan Times, have an ace up their sleeves; 出る順 is an excellent Japanese-English study tool as well as a great reference for learners of Japanese. It is a set of true language study implements that are geared toward the Japanese learner of English, but also serves as an excellent Japanese learning reference.

To become acquainted with 出る順, you have to be willing to experiment if your Japanese is stuck at difficult kanji. However, as it is a reference for Japanese learners of English, the main bulk of users should be comfortable with all aspects of text, layout and differing modes of study. (By the way, this review was written on QuickOffice for the iPhone!)

Modes Overview
一級(level one) comprises 1500~ English vocabulary which can be tackled by different study methods including ordered reviews, Spelling Test (word scramble), Challenge Mode and a review of prior studied vocabulary.

Ordered List 単熟語一覧
The ordered list is a very helpful mode of study. You may choose from any group in the the full list catalogue of 1500 words and to include or ignore previously studied words. If you are very daring, a random generator may tickle your fancy. Every group, random or not contains 100 vocabulary, which when selected, display the English word, the Japanese equivalent and finally the word used in example sentences in both English and Japanese. Making this mode even more helpful is a recording (not a digital reading) in natural English and Japanese of the vocabulary and then the example English sentence.

review-education-englishtest1-img_0010

Spelling Test スペリングテスト
Spelling Test (or word scramble) will display a Japanese word or phrase in the upper portion of the screen and a jumble of letters below. If you can suss out the meaning and spelling, either drag the letters to the open text field above, or double tap each letter to enter it in proper order. As language students know, vocab alone works for speaking, but the forgotten art of spleling is just as important in founding your competence in any language. For word-game geniuses, this mode will be simple to suss out but engaging and helpful for your study. Though not my forte, I had fun approaching the game backwards from English to Japanese.

review-education-englishtest1-img_0008

Challenge Mode 四択テスト
The next section, Challenge Mode will select a group of Japanese words that needs to be translated into English. As a word guess game, you must match the meaning of the Japanese at the top of the screen word with the most equivalent English word from the list below it. When you have finished that group of words, you will be given a report card of sorts. Words that you have not remembered correctly will be automatically set aside for review. I found this section to suit my study habits best and to be an excellent tool for remembering Japanese. Of course, for the learner of English, this will be a great method to test not only vocabulary, but the number of words you have retained in your studies.

review-education-englishtest1-img_0004 review-education-englishtest1-img_0005

Review mode will challenge both the words that you have passed and those that you have failed in the various tests you have taken in the past month or in the entire time you have studied using 出る順.

Settings 設定
Nihon IR have taken time and dedicated their time to create an excellent study tool which shows in the polished programming, well designed menus and depth of utility. In the settings menu (which can be accessed from the home screen as well as from the top right-hand side of any drill mode) are many choices. You can activate or deactivate voices and background music (not worth it), change volume, and change settings for timing and that pesky list of easily-mistaken vocabulary.

Conclusion 結論
What more can I say? this understated study tool is a smash hit. While intended for the eagre learner of English, 出る順 also offers so much for the already well-studied Japanese scholar. Though the App Store is well behind other software banks, Nihon IR are not intimidated by the dearth of competition and have made an excellent product. The only real recommendation I can make would be to have a special edition that includes all editions of the software included rather than just one at a time. For 8.99$, you are paying for a quality product that deserves praise, however its pricepoint hits above its content range and thus takes a ギリギリ Grab.

grab-icon

App Summary
Title: 出る順で最短合格 (V 1.1)
Developer: Nihon IR
Price: $8.99 App Size: 69.7 MB
  • Intuitive interface
  • Great test options
  • Powerful study tools
  • Good voices and example sentences
  • Amazing wealth of memory excercises
  • Too expensive for its content – would be great to have each level be encompassed completely in an 8.99$ package.
  • BGM is really not worthwhile!

appstoreicon

review-education-englishtest1-img_0003 review-education-englishtest1-img_0004 review-education-englishtest1-img_0005 review-education-englishtest1-img_0007 review-education-englishtest1-img_0008 review-education-englishtest1-img_0009 review-education-englishtest1-img_0010Read more]]>
http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/05/15/nihon-ir-english-test-in-review/feed/ 1