Who are you?
Kim Antoniou, CEO and co-founder of Auris Tech Limited.
What do you do?
Fonetti® is home to the World’s First Listening Bookshop™ – a tablet app that interacts with children by giving visual cues in real-time as they read aloud. Auris Tech Limited has developed Listening Books™ using our proprietary Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) model that is designed specifically to listen and respond to a child’s read speech, in real-time. The app understands children’s reading, even long chapters of text, and visualises this to the reader by changing each correct word to green as they read.
A reporting section in the app allows parents and carers to see with accuracy a reader’s progress. Data included in this section includes a number of metrics, such as accuracy, number of books read, and time spent reading. The Listening Bookshop shelves are categorised according to levels, following the ‘Reading Band’ scheme used by schools in the UK. More than three-quarters of books in Fonetti are our own original content, written and illustrated by our network of amazing writers and illustrators.
What educational challenge are you trying to meet?
With Fonetti we seek to improve literacy by encouraging voice-enabled reading. Engaging young readers, regardless of ability, in ways that make reading on mobile devices welcoming, compelling, and effective. Today, we know kids are not reading on their devices but instead play games and watch videos; YouTube is the top app globally. Meanwhile, more than 200,000 children in the UK leave primary school without the ability to read.
Fonetti provides young children with that patient, comforting, listening ear to help in the learning-to-read journey at any time and in any place, with the added benefit of tracking progress, identifying reading challenges and highlighting where the most support is needed.
What impact did the EDUCATE programme have on your product and company?
Being part of EDUCATE has been an invaluable learning experience for us. Participating in workshops and connecting with other educational technology companies gave us the opportunity to learn and improve under the guidance of very knowledgeable mentors. EDUCATE helped us to bring about product development based on research-based evidence.
When we started with EDUCATE our platform, ‘Fonetti’, was in the beta phase of development. EDUCATE made us realise the benefits of data and how it can be used for product development and improvement. The programme helped us to create an effective study and research that helped us analyse the customer feedback and response to this new tech in use for kids. We gained insights on customer acceptance and market value. It helped us communicate the efficacy of the product to the parents /guardian as well as understand the ways in which children can be encouraged and enjoy reading with voice-enabled Listening Books in Fonetti. Our mentor at EDUCATE helped us at each step to create a plan for research and study. The data gathered helped us improve the interactivity, reporting and gamification element in the app. The study also helped us to assess the performance of our speech recognition technology.
What impact will achieving an Edward have on you personally and on your company or product?
Achieving an Edward is very significant for our product, Fonetti. It demonstrates our sincerity in developing a quality app and also gives confidence to teachers and educators knowing that the product is well invested in research.
What advice would you give to prospective EDUCATE participants?
I would definitely recommend EDUCATE to any edtech company irrespective of which phase of business development it is in. Make good use of the ecosystem that EDUCATE provides you. Do your homework and research and engage with your mentors to reap the full benefits that the programme has to offer. The mentors are not only very knowledgeable about edtech, but they are equally passionate about the field as you are.