Learning while playing: Virtual tutors help children to become fluent in English.

According to Ethnologue’s 2022 list, English is the most popular language in the world, spoken by approximately 1.5 billion native and non-native speakers. In the business world, English has become predominant and if before it was a variation, today it has become almost necessary to enter the job market in some cases. But learning a second language is not always easy, and the sooner you start, the better your chances of gaining fluency in adulthood. This is why many parents have invested in their children to learn English at an earlier age and in different ways.

But in many countries learning English from an early age can be a challenge. Although thousands of children around the world are learning English as a foreign language, there are still barriers to fluency. Most of the children who learn the language do not have access to the immersion and exposure required to develop fluency in speech. Also, in general, tutoring for families can be costly and apps that aim to fill in the blanks do not focus on conversation.

With this in mind, various methods and solutions are emerging in the market for the purpose of democratizing the practice of English language. One of them is the Buddy.ai app, developed as an accessible language learning tool designed to help young children develop fluency in English. Focusing on children between the ages of four and ten, the app allows children to speak literally and talk in a simple and educational way with a database of games, conversations and Buddy, a voice-based virtual character, with a database of over 1,500 words. .

“Routine things like vocabulary and simple language mechanics make it difficult to keep kids engaged, and we see the difference when using a voice-first virtual character that uses the same methods and processes as a human tutor but with design extra games. It works well for kids because for them it’s like playing video games, “said Ivan Krukov, co-founder of Buddy.ai.

And focusing on young children in learning a new language is not a matter of conjecture. There are two important aspects, and the first is the fact of talking to Alpha generation babies, those born after 2010 and those who, in general, begin to communicate with some kind of digital device before they learn to read. The second is that research shows that at this stage the brain is more flexible, that is, more capable of absorbing new information, which facilitates learning in general, but learning language in particular. According to a study published in the scientific journal Procedia – Ciências Sociais e Behaviorais, exposing a young child to a foreign language allows them to optimize their learning potential.

Technology driven by artificial intelligence

The app works through voice-based artificial intelligence, like the technology used in voice assistants like Siri or Alexa, and children can talk to the character as if he were a human tutor when he is not linked. Class schedule or hourly class cost. Created in 2018 and launched in 2020 in Latin America, Virtual Tutor is the first of its kind. “The uniqueness of the app lies in the technology used to make it feel like a real interaction. Authentic feedback that makes it more than just a game to make fun of,” Krukov said.

Artificial intelligence makes learning cartoon avatars feel like a game for kids. By talking and playing with young students, virtual tutors help build their vocabulary and gain listening and speaking skills in a series of ‘searches’ where children use new learned words and phrases in different contexts. With this, long-term memory is activated, which has a greater effect when the content is reviewed at increasing intervals each time according to the educational technique of interval repetition.

Children spend an average of more than 40 minutes per week on the app, learning and using about 60 different words and phrases per week. Meanwhile, in the traditional learning environment, teachers who have reviewed the app report that they enjoy using Buddy.ai’s playful digital avatar, even as a classroom assistant.

Website: https://buddy.ai/pt

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