Voice-based education technology startup Bamboo Learning has launched a new app for iOS devices. The app offers classes for K-5 children in reading comprehension, vocabulary and related skills similar to Bamboo’s existing Alexa skills, but with touch and voice interactions.
The new Bamboo Learning app is free and includes over 25 books related to hundreds of activities and lessons broken down by difficulty and level. Parents can subscribe for $ 4 per month to access over 100 books and thousands of other activities. The application can contain up to six child profiles, allowing personalized monitoring of their activity and learning. Accounts are created by adults, with each child having their own animal avatar to identify which profile is theirs. Children are guided through the activities by the Bamboo Panda mascot. The child can touch or say which book he wants to read at that time and interact with the narrator and the story through touch and voice. Questions about the story are asked from time to time, with voice or touch responses accepted by the app, which then makes appropriate sounds and comments to praise the correct answers and encourage those who choose wrong.
“As a former educator, I know how essential conversational learning is to improve children’s reading and listening comprehension in context, vocabulary and storytelling skills,” said the manager. of Bamboo Learning content, Irina Fine, in a statement. “Bamboo Learning for iOS is the very first app to give children the choice of responding using their voice or their touch. We’re excited to make it available today for families to use on iPads and iPhones in over 170 countries.
Bamboo Learning also joined the EdStart startup accelerator run by Amazon Web Services for edtech companies and secured an unknown amount of new funding from Amazon’s Day One Fund and other investors. The Bamboo co-founders are themselves former Amazon employees. The new funding comes two years after a $ 1.4 million seed fund for Bamboo.
Educational voice AI has become more and more popular as voice assistants and voice technology become more prevalent. The field has seen a spike in interest as the COVID-19 pandemic has also led to more home learning. The past two years have seen a flurry of new tools for vocal education. Amazon introduced Alexa voice profiles for kids with Reading Sidekick AI tutor. Google has also been very active, with a new educational toolkit for Google Play Books, an Android app called Read Along with its child-focused Diya voice assistant, and the Rivet foldable reading tutor app in Google Assistant. Meanwhile, edtech software developer Amplify unveiled a new children’s literacy assessment in partnership with children’s voice recognition tech startup SoapBox Labs. Text Reading Online measures children’s ability to read and understand written information using SoapBox Fluency, which automatically tracks performance and shares data with the teacher.
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