We’ve all seen those cute little storybook ads at Christmas, the ones where Grandma records her voice and sends the book to her grandchild. How nice is it to be able to have a book read by someone who lives across the country (or world)? But Sparkup has gone a little further with the concept.
They call themselves “The Magical Book Reader”. The Sparkup device scans the page you’re reading to identify it, then allow you to record your voice in small clip. As the book is opened, the device knows which page it is on and plays the proper recording. Where the other devices mentioned above only allowed you to use the books they provided, you could essentially use anything you like, allowing this to become a really wonderful bit of software.
After reading a review where the person used a magazine instead of a picture book, and found that it worked well, I could see this device being used in all kinds of applications. Not only would it be useful for people learning a second language, but it would be great for kids creating their own books, as the author of the review pointed out. If they had several of these in kindergarten classes, it could help emerging readers with vocabulary and struggling readers with identification. Although it takes some getting used to in order for the device to “see” the page accurately, it has amazing possibilities.
With the holidays just around the corner (okay, maybe they’re around the corner and down a few blocks), this could be a great gift idea. For $59.99 US, it’s a pretty good deal. It might require parents doing a bit of work, but to help your young reader, it’s a great idea.
Has anyone else tried this? What did you think of it? And can you think of other great applications for this type of device?