Daring new Educational Technology concept Sparkup™ is poised to revolutionise the way Chinese children learn to read English. See the pioneering IoT device and cloud based system developed in Israel, to engage the world’s first crowdsourced community of online storytellers, at the RISE technology conference, Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, on Friday 31 July – Saturday 1 August.
The centerpiece of this system is the “Sparkup™ Magical Book Reader, 2nd-Gen”—a sophisticated optical device that attaches to any book on a child’s bookshelf, allowing kids to read along with the pre-recorded voice of a family member, or to instantly download professional and user generated audio readings from the cloud. 1000 professionally recorded books will be available at launch, followed by thousands upon thousands of user generated stories.
Sparkup™ Magical Book Reader, 2nd-Generation
Following the success story of the first generation of Sparkup with more than USD 1 Million in revenues in the first year of sales across the UK, France, Australia, Korea and the USA – the pioneering second generation will launch exclusively in the China market. With Chinese investment in Israeli startup companies forecasted to grow 54% this year according to the IVC Research Center (Israeli High-Tech and Venture Capital Research Center) and a 10% annual growth in children’s book sales.
The Israeli EdTech company envisions a world where every book is instantly available in audio form to assist English reading learners, language learners and developmentally challenged individuals.
The inspiration behind the system is a large pool of worrying research into the effects of digital devices on early learning behavior, and a reinforcement of the beneficial effects of real, printed books and multi-sensory learning. As demonstrated by a recent publication of the Department of Neurology in China Capital Institute of Pediatrics, premature or excessive exposure to screen media may lead to the development of ADHD and Tourette Syndrome. A similar study at the Boston University School of Medicine argued that screen based reading may interfere with a child’s problem solving and social skills.
Amir Koren (right) and Roei Simantov (left), co-founders of Sparkup
“Digital screens dominate our kids’ lives today, but there is no better tool for literacy learning than real, printed books,” says Amir Koren, founder and CEO of Sparkup.
The first generation of the device, which allowed parents, grandparents or siblings to personally record stories for literacy learners, was launched in 2014 to such wide acclaim that it was selected as the Forbes/PwC Social Impact award winner in early 2015.
The second generation of the device, and accompanying cloud system will be launched first in China in 2016 “with a major strategic partner” to be announced in the coming weeks. The Sparkup device will be bundled together with a cloud subscription providing Sparkup members with access to thousands of professionally recorded popular children’s books and a limitless volume of user generated audio accompaniments to popular children’s books, in various languages and local dialects, assisting in the teaching of English as a second language, for which there is a huge demand in China.
Amir Koren Founder and CEO of Sparkup
Koren cites China’s unique emphasis on children’s education, as well as the unprecedented boom in Chinese E-commerce as the reason for starting with the China market. “There are 100 million children between the ages of 2 and 8 in China, with 16 million babies born every year,” says Koren. “The Chinese are deeply committed to the health and education of their children, and have been enthusiastic supporters of the Sparkup mission.”
Sparkup, along with its Chinese strategic partner, are committed to bring beneficial, supportive technology to the flourishing children’s book segment of the Chinese publishing market, underscoring Sparkup’s vision to “Re-ignite the love of reading in children, using technology.” The innovative system and device are sure to encourage bright sparks.