The CSIR has developed an app to help children with their reading and listening skills.
The app, called iSinkwe – the isiZulu word for a bushbaby – adds and synchronises human-narrated or computer-generated audio to text. It aims to make textbooks, class notes and other documents more accessible to learners by making reading and learning more interactive.
iSinkwe functions by adding audio, which can be recorded manually by someone or generated by a computer using a standard Electronic Publication Version Three (EPUB3) document, to text documents.
The app synchronises the audio and the text automatically at word, sentence and paragraph levels, allowing users to switch between the levels when they read or navigate through the document using audio and highlighting.
“If users have a Microsoft .docx or PDF document, they can convert those documents automatically to the standard EPUB3 format using iSinkwe Convert. They simply upload the document to the iSinkwe website, and it will provide them with an EPUB3 version that they can download,” says product leader Georg Schlünz.
The CSIR piloted iSinkwe to assist teachers and pupils at Jan Krielskool, Langerug Skool and Tafelberg School. The engagements with the schools were facilitated by the Western Cape education department.
iSinkwe Synchronise allows users to upload a standard EPUB3 document and, optionally, the pre-existing, human-narrated audio files, to the iSinkwe website. When no human-narrated audio is available, computer-generated audio is added instead.
The app also allows for a combination of human-narrated and computer-generated audio. Users can then download the EPUB3 document with the synchronised text and audio included.
The app can’t translate content from one language into another – it simply adds audio to documents that are already written in the language of the user’s choice. The program supports all of the 11 official languages in South Africa.
iSinkwe is now available for licensing to resellers. Resellers will be able to sell the programme to customers such as schools, publishers who want to integrate it into their operations. It’s also available to retail customers for private use. The app is available for download on the Google Play store.
Schools, publishers and other so-called business-to-business customers who want to use iSinkwe Read in their own distribution channels can obtain a white-label version directly from the CSIR. – © 2022 NewsCentral Media