The BookieMonster Reads You! Advancing Literacy Through Technology
By Wendy Yang | Academia
July 27, 2011
The “BookieMonster” uses computer-generated voices and speech-recognition to read text aloud to children, before asking them to read it back to the computer.
AsianScientist (Jul. 27, 2011) – These days, integrating technology with learning is on the rise in classrooms everywhere, and the BookieMonster project is the newest prototype on the literacy front.
Created by computer science students Ashley Steel, Luke Bjerring, and André Meister from Waikato University in New Zealand, the BookieMonster performs the role of a reaching coach and is intended to provide extra reading support for those with limited teaching resources.
The project computerizes a proven means of learning termed “repeated reading,” using software developed with the help of a curriculum coordinator in Switzerland and primary teachers in New Zealand.
Using computer-generated voices and speech-recognition, the software reads text aloud to children and progressively highlights the text for them to follow along (think karaoke, with the lyrics on screen). After the text is read a few times, the children can read it back to the computer via a microphone while the computer recognizes their speech and again progressively highlights the text.
Now with a working prototype ready, the students are setting up trials in local schools. Ultimately, the inventors hope their software will be distributed through existing initiatives to developing nations, where literacy rate is sometimes as low as 50 percent in some areas. Furthermore, it may have the potential to assist in teaching a second language.
The BookieMonster project reached national finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup in July this year, a global student technology competition geared towards finding solutions to real-world issues related to the UN’s Millennium Goals of hunger relief, poverty eradication, education, disease control, healthcare advances, and environmental protection.
Source: The University of Waikato.
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