SoapBox Labs lands breakthrough US deal with Imagine Learning

New partnership with Imagine Learning will open Dublin company SoapBox Labs’ technology to potentially millions of US students.

Fast-growing Dublin start-up SoapBox Labs has landed a major partnership deal with Imagine Learning.

Beginning this summer, Imagine Learning’s Language & Literacy programme will include Fluent Reader+, a new tool powered by SoapBox’s voice technology, giving educators a seamless, scalable and more accurate approach to assessments of students’ reading and language learning progress.

“The results of our pilot with SoapBox’s voice engine show that it not only works accurately for children, but also for a diversity of accents, dialects, and learning abilities. This is exciting for us and for educators everywhere”

Voice-enabled tools save educators time by replacing the cumbersome, manual assessment of students’ reading and language acquisition with an approach that is reliable, accurate, and automated. The feedback loop created by the SoapBox voice engine also makes it easier to monitor progress, giving teachers more frequent and better insights into where students need support on their literacy and language journey.

“We’ve long imagined the possibility of speech recognition technology to help teachers make the most of their time in the classroom,” said Jeff Pendleton, senior vice-president and general manager of Supplemental and Intervention at Imagine Learning.

Accurate speech engine made in Ireland

“But most speech engines have been designed primarily for adults and don’t work well for kids. The results of our pilot with SoapBox’s voice engine show that it not only works accurately for children, but also for a diversity of accents, dialects, and learning abilities. This is exciting for us and for educators everywhere.”

SoapBox Labs makes kids’ unique voices heard in the digital world. Its speech technology is proprietary and built from the ground up to empower children grades PreK-12 of every accent and stage of development to have joyful and immersive digital experiences. SoapBox powers voice-enabled learning and play experiences for third party clients in the education, gaming, media and entertainment industries.

Recently appointing a new CEO and revealing growth plans, SoapBox is on a mission to transform how kids learn through interacting with technology through their voices.

SoapBox Labs has revealed plans to scale rapidly in the next two years from 30 to 80 employees. The company last year Dr Martyn Farrows as CEO while previous CEO and founder Dr Patricia Scanlon became chair of the company.

Driving the company’s innovation vision and strategy, Dr Scanlon was named one of the world’s top women in tech by Forbes.

In addition to the 10 new employees it has hired in the past year, the company said it aims to scale from 30 to 80 employees in the next two years.

“At SoapBox Labs, we pride ourselves on building speech recognition technology for kids that is accurate, inclusive, and fair. We are delighted to have been selected by Imagine Learning to service their user base of students, educators, and classrooms across the US,” said Farrows.

“This partnership is borne out of a focus on constant innovation and improvement, and we are excited about the opportunities for working together in the future.”

John Kennedy
Award-winning ThinkBusiness.ie editor John Kennedy is one of Ireland's most experienced business and technology journalists.

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