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In English speaking countries like the US or the UK, children learn the language through great stories and innovative learning experiences. On the other hand, in Asian countries, learning is based on vocabulary memorization, grammar rules, and stringent tests, which only increase the stress and frustration among the children toward the English language. Seoul-based iPortfolio offers Spindle Books™, an AI-enabled eTextbook platform that transforms print books into a digital format with multimedia features for engaging English learning experiences. “Enabled with digitally-optimized reading that helps children acquire linguistic skills easily, we help schools and private English training centers guide learners in acquiring English in a natural, fun-filled way using gamification,” says Robert S. Kim, CEO of iPortfolio.
iPortfolio has designed a language training methodology called Multi-Dimension Reading (MDR) that comprises five reading stages. In the warm-up stage (the first step in the learning journey), learner is familiarized with the vocabulary in the book. “We extract all the headwords from the book automatically and match them with a picture dictionary to formulate a game,” adds Robert. Then follows the ‘listen up’ phase where the learner can listen to the book in British or American accent. In this stage the words are automatically hidden, leaving only the illustrations visible. When the learners hear the vocabulary in the audio, they try to understand the story and develop self-awareness that enhances metacognition. With the ability to regulate audio speed, they can get a better grasp of the words.
We extract all the headwords from the book automatically and match them with a picture dictionary to formulate a game
In the subsequent ‘read’ phase, learners can take full advantage of reading by looking up the dictionary and listening to the specific sentences repeatedly. In the ‘speak up’ stage, “We apply AI-based voice recognition technology and ask the learners to listen to the sentences and repeat them,” says Robert. Their reading is recorded and uploaded to the cloud so that their parents and teachers can monitor and track improvements. Finally, the learners’ understanding of the book is assessed in the ‘wrap-up’ stage where they are required to interpret the meaning of different words in a gamified environment. “We cheer up every learner by offering them a badge as a mark of success once all the stages are completed,” Robert adds.
Taking personalization to the next level, Spindle Books™ helps kids listen to their parents’ voice instead of the voice actor to feel more comfortable. For instance, a Korean child’s father working overseas in the military recorded the audio of reading one of the children’s books. The next day, the child was overjoyed listening to his father’s voice in the recording.
Driven by the passion for bringing a paradigm shift to how people learn and teach English language, iPortfolio has partnered with Oxford University Press. Today, Spindle Books™ powers Oxford University Press’ English Language Teaching (ELT) division’s strategic eBook platform—Oxford Learners’ Bookshelf (OLB), which houses thousands of ELT books, from classic tales to university course texts. “We support OLB to deliver fruitful services in over 60 countries to schools and individuals of all ages, from kids to honors,” extols Robert. Similarly, iPortfolio is catering to
Moving forward, iPortfolio plans to continue taking its technology to other countries such as Japan, Turkey, and China, and also expand its clientele in the local Korean market. The company also focuses on adding new functionalities that can improve other ELT skills like writing, speaking, listening, grammar, and vocabulary.