Spelling is a skill that requires practice and we wanted to make that practice fun Most of the spelling apps focus only on typing the letters. We wanted to amplify the educational benefit by making the user practice his handwriting skills as well as his spelling skills
What it does
- User can choose a language to practice. Ideally, he has some previous knowledge of it, but he lacks in vocabulary and spelling skills.
- User hears a word being told and should write it down ("guess it")
- A "guessed word" means that the user spelled the word that he correctly heard and that the recognition API recognized it as such. As an added bonus, this motivates the user to write more clearly, besides watching his spelling
- More guessed words lead to a higher level of spelling skill
- The user is presented with short words to begin with. As he's leveling up, the words become longer and harder to spell. On the contrary, that doesn't mean they're being harder to recognize - MyScript's CDK has surprised us many times in successfully recognizing long, lousy written words.
- Added motivation for the user is a scoreboard of top players, sorted by their spelling level, on a daily, weekly and "all time" basis
How we built it
- We've gathered a list of common words for several European languages
- Amazon's Ivona Text-to-Speech SaaS, the most realistic TTS we could find, is used to say the words to the user
- MyScript's CDK is used to recognize the strokes written on the HTML canvas
- Game engine tracks the user's progress
- All libraries/resources we used are specified at http://www.spellscript.xyz/credits
Challenges we ran into
- Generating "random" words is not an easy task. Taking a sample from the dictionary lead to high frequency of words that the average user never heard of. Then, we've opted for pseudo-randomness and used most common words for a specific language.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
After the first proof of concept we couldn't get our hands of the game, it was addictive to us even when we knew how it works :)
What we learned
There are very powerful APIs in the world and the only limit in creating new apps, new workflows or new solutions, is not computing power, it's our imagination.
What's next for Spell Script
- Maybe substitute TTS-generated words with human read words
- A sophisticated gaming engine, that tracks user's progress on various dimensions
- Offer the user a definition or a translation of the word he didnn't guess