Top 2021 resources for speech tech for kids

December 16, 2021

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Throughout this year, the SoapBox team developed a number of key new resources to demonstrate how our speech technology powers joyful and immersive voice-enabled experiences for kids across learning and play apps, tools, and games.

Here’s a summary of the top six resources of 2021 based on feedback from the SoapBox community and our clients:

1. White paper: “Can Speech Recognition Help Children Learn to Read?”


Twelve K-12 education and media thought leaders contributed to this white paper that examines the use of speech recognition technology in curriculum and assessment tools for kids.

The paper opens with an op-ed from Margery Mayer, a former President of Scholastic Education, who says speech recognition technology “will be part of every reading classroom” in a few years. It also looks at why voice data is so valuable for teachers, as well as use cases of voice-powered learning tools.

Read the Educate white paper

2. Blog series: A Beginner’s Guide to Designing Voice-First Experiences for Kids

An image with text that says, "A Beginner's Guide to Voice-First experiences for kids."

Inspired by their conversations and work with SoapBox clients, Declan and Ronan from our UX and Engineering teams collaborated on this blog series. The Beginner’s Guide is for product developers, inventors, designers, and engineers who are new to voice and looking to design immersive digital experiences for kids that take into account their unique speech patterns and behaviors.

The guide covers designing visual cues to support voice interactions, cues and triggers to determine when a child is starting or ending a voice interaction, and more.

Check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

3. Blog series: Lessons from Our Voice Engine

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What SoapBox does is simple: we build speech recognition technology specifically for kids. But there is much complexity to our voice engine that allows it to perform so accurately for kids’ unique voices, noisy environments, and privacy needs.

In this blog series, members from our Engineering and Speech Tech teams explain, at a high level, how our voice engine works.

Read all seven lessons below:

#1: Natural Language Processing 

#2: Custom Language Models

#3: Deep Learning

#4: Debiasing

#5: Acoustic Models

#6: Keyword Detection

#7: Intent Recognition

4. White paper: “Fluency: Understanding every phoneme”

A photo of a young girl sitting at a desk, practicing her oral reading fluency using an iPad.

To coincide with the release of phoneme-level-breakdown feature for SoapBox Fluency, Agape Deng from our Speech Tech team wrote this white paper on the value and use of SoapBox Fluency to power remote and automated assessments of kids’ oral reading fluency. The paper also explains why phoneme-level scoring is so important for teachers to pinpoint where students are getting stuck on their reading journeys.

Read the Fluency white paper

5. Video series: #MakingKidsHeard

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Our most fun project of 2021 was developing our #MakingKidsHeard video series, showing use cases of kids using our speech technology in a variety of apps and games, to learn and play. Our two-minute “Day in the Life” video introduces six-year-old Noah and how he uses his voice throughout his entire day — from waking up to school and TV time — to shape his world.

We hope these videos inspire digital content creators to explore the power of voice in their products and experiences.

Watch all our video resources

6. Webinar: “Why kids will change how we think about voice in 2022”

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To close out another great year in speech tech for kids, on December 14th we hosted this fireside chat with our friends at Vixen Labs. Industry experts Dr. Amelia Kelly and James Poulter discussed why 2021 was another game-changing year for voice for kids and what we can expect from voice in 2022.

Watch the recording

For more resources from SoapBox, hover over the Resources button in the menu above, head on over to our blog, or visit our YouTube page

In 2022, we look forward to producing many more expert white papers, guides, and how-to’s to support you in 2022.

From the entire team at SoapBox, we wish you a happy Christmas and a great start to 2022!

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