In an effort to help children learn and read in Hindi and English, and bridge the learning gap, Google India has today announced a new app, ‘Bolo’. The app, available for Android, allows parents of primary grade children to download the app and help their children learn and read in Hindi and English languages. For this, the app uses Google’s speech recognition and text-to-speech technology and also features a fictional character, Diya, to intrigue children’s interest.
The move comes from Google after the annual ASER 2018 report that stated that ‘of all students enrolled in grade 5 in rural India, only about half of them can confidently read a grade 2 level textbook‘. A possible reason for this could be the lack of proper study material and resources available to these children. And this is where the Bolo app could come into the picture and help these children learn and read better.
Here’s what Nitin Kashyap, the Product Manager of Google India, had to say:
Bolo is designed as a reading-tutor app that helps primary grade students to improve their reading – anytime, anywhere. With Bolo, we aim to encourage and engage kids so their love for reading grows and it becomes a daily habit. We believe that technology can be a powerful enabler, and we want to ensure that students, parents, teachers and the education ecosystem, benefit from it. We have been piloting Bolo in 200 villages, and the early results are very encouraging. We are now actively working with a number of nonprofit partners to take it to more people across the country who could benefit from it.
Here’s how the Bolo app can help children-
- It can allow children to read by themselves, by acting like a personalized tutor that assists them in every step and provides feedback.
- It can allow the children to choose their reading material out of a wide variety of content available in both Hindi and English, with more content to be added soon.
- It provides a fun experience to the children by allowing them to play games, while they are learning, to earn rewards and in-app purchases.
- It can involve multiple children using the app together to compete and track their individual progress.
- It has a reading buddy, Diya, that not reads out text, but also provides the meaning of English text in Hindi.
What’s even more interesting is that Google claims that the app takes special care of security and privacy of the children, and takes all the possible solutions to keep their information safe and secure. In addition, it also allows the children to use the app even in offline mode, to continue learning even without the internet.
The app is available on the Android platform and can be downloaded on an Android smartphone running on Android 4.4 Kit Kat or higher, from the Play Store.