Reading Tutor of the Future and Other Scary Thoughts…

Right now, I’m certain someone is working on one of those read aloud book-apps, like the Alice in Wondeland App, but instead of just reading what you need read, it eventually prompts you to read to it.  The speech to text  technology already exists, sort of,  (my phone misunderstands me every time I try)…so somebody is working on a comparative software that will assess the accuracy of a persons reading capability, maybe even coach inflection and articulation.   By the way, if you invent it after reading this, how about some recognition, maybe a Dr.  Pepper or something.
So, taking that a bit further, I was thinking that soon such a device, perhaps an interactive video, (a la the old Hypercard wonder “Animal Pathfinders“, which, by the way, I can’t believe hasn’t been reincarnated on the web with full interactivity- and again, if you do this that is a second Dr. Pepper)-  would read and “listen”, and asses reading skill, but also listen for social markers.  For example, I often will read “Huckleberry Finn” (the kids version) to my class – not just because it is great, but because almost every year a student will divulge their own abusive situations to me when we are reading about Huck’s dad.  I’m certain this saved the life of one of my students, who was moved to another state away from her abusive step-father and enabling mother.  I imagine an interactive listener reporting, when it asks about if student relates to a particular character or happening with some frequency by the way of moving through a book, that when a student says “yes- I want to escape like Huck” – that it sends a message to the teacher, a marker that indicates an anamoly to be followed up on.

     Should we do this?  No,  We shouldn’t.  Further loss of human interaction as a child learns literature – the early experience will be deprived of the subtle implicit and explicit sharing of emotion and imprinting of value hierarchies and nuance.   Non-scripted questions, or reactions that fall outside of programmed algorithms will create a void of interaction, essentially teaching sociopathy. It hearkens situations much like the rules for administering standardized tests now- where teacher is replaced with monitor, who must not help, but is a mute, insane pausarius.  The supplemental tool of a “listening book” under the auspices of the teacher could be a useful tool, but some Koch brother clone will see it as a grand money  making scheme to replace teachers with, sure as Walmart sucks.

Then I thought of a story, which I will tell you another time.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

One response to “Reading Tutor of the Future and Other Scary Thoughts…

  1. Lisa Jaynes Johnson

    My dad was a story teller and used to read to me. My husband reads Pooh storeis to me when I need emotional stability. I read all of the Harry Potter and three Riordan series of books aloud to Jacob before he could see the movies, so he’d have control over the ideas before the movies thrust then upon him.
    When we recently tried to listen to Ready Player One on tape, I fell asleep and I missed the story. Next he wants to read the Miss Peregrine book before that movie comes out. I hope the paper book becomes available from the library first…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s