|Skritter logo. (Photo from the web.)|
From the first time I used Skritter I was addicted. Here's how it works - each screen asks you for 1 thing: definition, tone, pinyin, or to write the character that has come up. Each screen takes a few seconds to complete, and the next question will quickly follow.
|Screenshot shows an unfinished character.|
Every time I need to put Skritter down a new screen pops up and I think to myself, just 1 more. It was this very thought that has on more than one occasion caused me to see the sun rise while playing Sim City, Civilization, Pharoah's, and Caesar. It is not just the fast pace that has me hooked however (though I think the pace is the biggest factor consciously). There are other design elements that are game-like as well. For example, in dark theme (there are 2 themes to choose from - both of them nice, but dark theme is the bomb) my character strokes sound like a sword. I could be back in Azeroth slaying dragons - it is so ... satisfying. At certain intervals a little message pops up to tell me how long I have been studying and to cheer me on. With this message there is also a voice that will either tease you (in eccentric mode) or cheer you on (in regular mode). Of course I am in eccentric mode. (Warning: disclosure approaching:) My Chinese teacher is the voice for the teasing prompts, and yet, even though I know this, it does not take me out of the immersion of the moment.
|Skritter correcting a tone I got wrong.|
I will be posting on Skritter again. I want to take more time to dissect the game-esque qualities of the app, and later on I will also post on its educational value: i.e. how much Chinese have I actually learned.