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A Tool for Reviewing Tables of Information

The age-old technology of the flashcard remains our most faithful friend when memorizing facts. The rise of many powerful apps such as Anki and gamified platforms like Memrise have also given flashards a healthy role in long-term retention as well as short-term cramming. There are many cases, however, where we might want to review a related collection of facts that are most usefully displayed in the form of a table and memorized together in order to see them in context. For example, a table containing grammatical information for language students is particularly suited for review in a table context.

Last week I created very simple tool for creating an interactive table which reveals its contents only when you move your mouse over a table cell, or alternatively, the header for a column or row. There is an additional button to show or hide all cells and I added support for tap-to-show that looks likes it works on my iPad. You can try out some Italian language tables created with the tool here: Italian Tables.

You can create your own interactive table here:

Table Review Script

Give your table a title, and enter the table contents separating the columns by a comma (you can change this delimiter in the options) and rows with a carriage return (Here are a few examples of raw table data I used for some of the Italian tables). Press submit to create the table, and if you are happy with the result, after pressing “Version to Save” you can choose “Save” in your File menu to save the web page on your hard drive. For those with web design experience, it isn’t too hard to incorporate the saved tables into your own website.

There are other scripts and online sites that let you review tables of information but I haven’t been very happy with the ones I have seen so far. Does anyone have good alternative recommendations for table review? My own script is open source and you can download or fork it on GitHub here. Would be nice if someone improved on it to make it easy to incorporate reviewable tables into WordPress, Moodle, or other online content platforms.

Technical Notes: If you don’t press version to save before saving the table, the updated DOM won’t be saved reflecting the newly generated table by javascript. Also, I used Jquery for this script so the saved files download jquery from Google when you open them, which requires an internet connection. To make a completely offline version of a saved file you will need to modify the resulting files to look for a downloaded copy of Jquery.

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