Google launched it’s Bolo App in India with an aim to help students with their reading and comprehension skills and help them read out loud in English and Hindi. The parents can download the app from Google Play Store. The beta version of Bolo launched first in India, is optimized for native Hindi speakers. The app works with phones running on Android 4.4 (Kit Kat) and higher.
For Bolo app, Google ran a pilot project with 900 children in over 200 villages in Uttar Pradesh with ASER center. The annual report of ASER revealed that all the students enrolled in 5th grade in rural India, only half of them were able to confidently read 2nd-grade textbook.
The Google Bolo app includes an assistant called ‘Diya’, which encourages children with their reading and understanding skills. Diya can speak in Hindi and English and help the children when they are trying to read in English or Hindi. For instance, when the child reads the text correctly, Diya says “Shabash” or very good. Diya not only explains the meaning of the word but also helps in the pronunciation of each letter for the children in the sentence or a word.
Product Manager for Google India Nitin Kashyap said, “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,” India Education Diary reported.
The app is limited to just two languages for now, but Google hopes to expand the number of languages later. Bolo is a free app and relies on Google’s text-to-speech and speech recognition technology. The app works without any data and even when the phone is offline.
The idea of Bolo is to work as a personalized reading tutor by giving corrective and constructive feedback. Google has partnered with Storyweaver.org.in for content, which includes 50 stories in Hindi and 40 in English.
“We all have our own personal experience and know that reading aloud with someone giving 1:1 feedback helps improve reading skills. Many children, especially those in rural India don’t have this support. With Bolo we wanted to bring a similar experience to anyone who needs it, via their smartphone,” Zohair Hyder, Engineering lead for Bolo said, Indian Express reported.
Google says that the same app can be used by multiple children and track their progress separately. As the child progresses, the app adjusts the difficulty level of the stories. The app doesn’t require any personal data to sign in like name, age, gender or Gmail account. Any data associated with the app stays on the device.[The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and/or the official policy of the website. ]