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Chinese learning on smartwatches

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The iPad topic got me thinking - is anyone using a smartwatch for Chinese learning at all? There are obvious limitations, but flashcards should be doable, perhaps a dictionary + voice recognition (how is Chinese input on a smartwatch, I've never tried it), podcast listening should be straightforward. You could read on one, for short periods. Anything else I've not thought of? 


There's an Anki option for Android Wear, but I can't see much else beyond Apple Watch add-ons for stuff like Chineasy.

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Haven't seen anything much myself; mostly 'brand expansion' sort of stuff rather than actual usable apps. My impression is that the demand is pretty tiny - hardly any customer email about it - and in my own experience it's just not very comfortable to do stuff on the watch for more than a brief interaction; about the only time I'd ever use it for more than 10 seconds at a go is if I've loaned one of my kids my phone for some reason. Chinese handwriting works reasonably well, but not enough to discourage you from taking the extra few seconds to pull out your phone and do it properly.


We do get a lot of requests for automated background flashcard playback and that's something we are working on, so when that's available you should at least be able to run an all-audio flashcard session that you can play/pause from your watch, though you can also do that by double-tapping your AirPods / pushing a button on your steering column / tugging the sleeve of your smart jacket / yelling at Siri to pause audio / etc.


If there's ever going to be a watch app revolution, it'll probably come ~2 years from now when SwiftUI (Apple's Grand Unified Interface Design System For All Apple Devices) is sufficiently stable / widely adopted that rebuilding an app for Apple Watch becomes the sort of thing one can do in a week or two. But by then we may all be looking at doing Chinese learning for our AR headsets instead, which have a lot more long-term potential...

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On 6/25/2020 at 7:28 PM, mikelove said:

doing Chinese learning for our AR headsets instead,

Very interesting thoughts. Of course nobody knows, but everyone wonders - whats your take on how this will develop? I presume Chinese language education will not be at the forefront as other education fields like English or tutoring being worth billions of dollars have simply way more money to spend than us - however we would like to not be too far behind at least.

It is going to be a challenge for us schools to adopt to that (assuming most schools make it through Covid - the way things are going not many will be left by 2021)

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On 6/29/2020 at 10:14 AM, zhouhaochen said:

Of course nobody knows, but everyone wonders - whats your take on how this will develop?


I don't really know,  but in general I think AR has more potential in what I'd call 'ambient learning', learning in the background while doing something else, rather than in the sort of intensely focused 'hey look it's putting Chinese names on everything in the room' sort of approaches we've mostly seen so far. It's been a popular/successful strategy for a very long time - I remember listening to Italian language tapes in the car with my dad 30 years ago - and AR means we might be able to add visuals to supplement the audio. Even if Chinese characters themselves are too detailed / complicated to study with AR unless you're really focusing on them, subtle little things like putting a few little tone colored dots on the bottom of the screen while listening to a word or sentence could be a great way to reinforce what you're learning.


There's also a lot of potential for AR to facilitate better voice interfaces, for example by showing you a list of available commands at a particular prompt; anybody who's ever called into an automated call answering system knows how easy it is to lose your place in a voice-only menu.

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I have been thinking about this since the question was posted.


I have a smart/fitness watch and I can think of a use for it as an aid to my Chinese studies as a very simple flashcard app. Just a procession of characters on the screen, swipe right for "Know it" and left " Forgotten it" When it syncs with my phone/tablet it can put the Forgotten ones in the list for study.


I can image using it while waiting in a queue (something we are all doing more of), a taxi, bus ride which is not very long, or anywhere else I have 5 minutes or so.


I even thought of a working title for such a project - Chinder.:shock:



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@mikelove Thats very insightful, thanks for your perspective.

Lets see if VR online teaching becomes a thing over time. Especially for groups this could be quite interesting.

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