Talking Books: the development of an interactive, educational, digital application

Emile Drescher, Master of Creative Technologies (March 2014 – July 2015)
Talking Books pairs speech recognition with storybook reading to create interactive stories that support and encourage active reading for early readers.

People Involved:
Emile Drescher – MCT researcher
Frances Joseph – Primary Supervisor
Laurent Antonczak – Secondary Supervisor

Abstract:
This project explores the development of a digital application that pairs speech recognition technology with children’s storytelling on tablet devices. The system engages children with active reading, positively reinforcing the reader through story progression, animations and sound effects when the narrative is correctly read out loud. The research is located through a literature and contextual review, which establishes the significance and potential benefits of this system. Further, the practical development is coordinated through collaboration with co_creators, following a user_centred design methodology to create iterations of prototypes. These prototypes were developed, tested and refined through user feedback. User feedback from the testing sessions revealed encouraging and positive feedback from educators and children users, but highlighted the crucial need for a robust speech recognition system that performs well with the intended child audience. The outcomes of this research project include the creation of a digital storybook system that has potential for supporting early literacy development, commercial development opportunities, and a platform that facilitates co_creators to develop stories for the next generation of early readers. Documentation and insights into the development process, gained through this research may be of value to other application developers.

Keywords:
App development; Storytelling; Digital application

Links:
emiledrescher.com
talkingbooksapp.com