With the on-going Pandemic there is dire need for distance learning and accessible (key-word) learning apps and methods. One of the big players in online learning, Google, is really stepping up to the plate this year (and last year) with tons of accessible learning apps for the digital age; one of these apps being Read Along.
At the moment of writing this (05/11/2020) Read Along only seems to be available for Android based devices which isn’t truly accessible as they are denying users with Apple devices the right to download and use the app with their kids/students.
Anyways, the app starts you off with an avatar who reads lines to you and then asks for you to read them back. The voice is kind of robotic which can get a tad bit annoying. The app then asks for microphone permissions so it can record your child’s voice. Kind of a scary thought, but the point is to score your child on how they pronounce each word. Moving forward, the app takes you to it’s main page which is the library. The library is filled with several different stories, as well as stories you can download to your device.After clicking on a story, your child can quickly begin reading or click on the female/robot avatar that will read the sentence aloud to help them out. A cool feature of this app is how the points systems work. If the child/student leaves a book early, they lose all their reading points. This disables students from “cheating” their way into prizes.This is definitely a unique app in the EdTech learning space. Of course, it’s features do raise some concerns.