Visual Education Chinese Vocabulary Cards
March 10, 2013
Publisher Visual Education
Skill Level Beginner, Intermediate
You can buy these Chinese vocabulary cards directly from the publisher, Visual Education, or from other distributors such as Amazon.com. Each card has both Chinese characters and pinyin on one side, and English on the other.
When I opened the box, I was overwhelmed by a toxic smell. From the paper or the coating or the box or mildew from storage or something—I’m not sure what. Wow. This is the third box of flashcards I have had from Visual Education, and the first time that’s happened, so I don’t think it’s typical. But ouch.
Pushing past the toxicity, I examined the flashcards. And instantly hated them. Besides being weirdly small and awkward to handle, which I have previously noted as a problem with Visual Education vocabulary cards for other languages, they do not actually conform to my definition of flashcards.
Now, Visual Education does not actually call them flashcards, but it is fair, in my opinion, to expect them to be such. And if you understand the idea of a flashcard to be that you look at a small amount of information on one side, and see if you can quickly produce the small amount of information contained on the other, well, then these are automatically a failure.
Card after card after card had word upon word upon word on each side. Please see the picture included here for examples.
It wasn’t just sometimes. Flipping through the box (while holding my breath), I saw they were either all or mostly all like that. There is no possibility of “flashing” that much information. It reminds me of a PowerPoint presentation where the slides are covered with text: useless for its intended purpose.
My frustrations with my flashcard experiences to date sometimes make me want to start my own flashcard company!