Tech made by Irish start-up dubbed the ‘Siri for kids’ is to be used across the US education system.

Dublin-headquartered Soapbox Labs has scored a major coup by having its technology deployed by US edtech publishing giant Amplify.

Amplify has released a voice-enabled reading assessment for grades 1-to-6 in collaboration with Soapbox Labs. Amplify serves 5m students across 50 States in America.

“The moment for voice tech in learning has arrived, and we view our work as essential in the development of a more inclusive, equitable education future”

The new platform, entitled Text Reading Online, is the first literacy assessment of its kind to enable remote evaluation of oral reading fluency, accuracy, and comprehension—critical indicators of reading development for young readers.

“Given the realities of teaching and learning in a pandemic, educators are seeking approaches to assessing a child’s independent reading when they cannot be together in person,” said Larry Berger, chief executive officer at Amplify.

Transforming a child’s reading journey

Named one of Europe’s hottest startups by Wired UK in 2019, SoapBox Labs was founded by Dr. Patricia Scanlon, whose popular TEDx talk explains the ways in which technology can “transform a child’s reading journey.” In 2018, Scanlon was named to the Forbes list of Top 50 Women in Tech globally.

“This is about making educators’ lives just a little bit easier by providing them with tech-enabled tools that allow them to engage in accurate and private literacy assessment for all their students,” said SoapBox Labs CEO Dr. Patricia Scanlon

“But the implications are even more far reaching. The moment for voice tech in learning has arrived, and we view our work as essential in the development of a more inclusive, equitable education future” Dr Scanlon said.

Text Reading Online will be available for free to all of Amplify’s mCLASS customers during the 2020-2021 school year. Visit the Text Reading Online page on Amplify.com to learn more.

In April it emerged that Irish start-up dubbed ‘Siri for kids’ Soapbox Labs raised raised €5.8m in funding from international venture capital firm Astia Angels and Dublin-based Elkstone Capital. This week it emerged that Amplify, a leading US edtech company that serves 5m students in the United States, is to integrate speech recognition technology developed by Soapbox into its literacy tools.

Dr Scanlon, a former researcher at Bell Labs, started Soapbox in 2013 and the company’s technology uses AI to help children between the ages of three and 12 develop their literacy skills.

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 26 August, 2020

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