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New App Uses Phone Camera to Teach English

New App Uses Phone Camera to Teach English

Tuesday, 28 May, 2019 - 05:30
London - Asharq Al-Awsat
Microsoft has developed a new app that uses the smartphone camera to help adults improve their English literacy. The app, Read My World, lets the user take a picture with his phone to learn from a library of more than 1,500 words.

"The app is meant to either supplement formal classroom training or offer a way to learn some words for those who didn't have the time or funds to participate in a language learning class," the Tech Crunch website cited Microsoft as saying.

Instead of lessons, users are encouraged to snap photos of the things they encounter in their everyday lives.

Nicole Joyal, a software developer intern who worked on the project, said: "Originally, we were planning more of a lesson plan-style approach, but through our research and discovery, we realized a Swiss army knife might be more useful. We wound up building a tool that can help you throughout your day-to-day rather than something that teaches.”

Finally, the app encourages users to practice their newly discovered words by way of three built-in vocabulary games, the German News Agency reported.

According to the Tech Crunch website, the 1,500-word vocabulary may seem small, but it’s actually close to the number of words foreign language learners are able to pick up through traditional study.

According to a report from the BBC, many language learners struggle to learn more than 2,000 to 3,000 words even after years of study.

The report also stressed that it was most important to pick up the words used day-to-day. Because the app focuses on things you see, it's limited in terms of replacing formal instruction. After gathering feedback from teachers and students who tested an early version, the team rolled out a feature to detect or translate words in documents by taking a picture for it with the phone.

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