Speax featured on CBC’s The National
“Using artificial intelligence to learn a new language.”
On January 2, 2019, the Speax team was interviewed by Ron Charles, from the CBC’s The National.
Speax French is available
in the App Store in Canada.
Free download, with in-app purchases starting at an Introductory Price of $3.99!
Join us on a trip to virtual Paris, where you will meet French-speaking fictional characters from all over the Francophone world — Europe-Canada-Africa, etc. Immerse yourself in this playful but practical environment where you learn the basics of communication; your ultimate goal is to achieve spontaneous conversation!
Key features include:
Speak directly into your mobile device for the purpose of interacting with fictional characters in Paris.
Receive real-time feedback from Jacques, your personal digital assistant.
Learn step by step at your own pace, making your way through a series of real-life tasks.
Check your learnings through positive “I Can!” achievement statements.
Language learning content is based on principles of the Common European Framework of Reference for Language (CEFR).
A Focus on Speaking
Most people want to learn how to speak a language and yet the methods used for learning in most products are outdated and develop reading and writing skills.
Our approach is based on the principles of balanced literacy and immersion, with a focus on speaking first.
Real-time Corrective Feedback
Jacques is your personal digital assistant while in Paris. He’ll help you find your way around the city and communicate effectively. See in the video how he provides feedback as you speak to the characters in the game.
This is a story about virtual life in Paris. The real-life tasks are designed to lead the user through an ever expanding narrative of living a life in the City of Lights.
In the early Episodes, you meet the fictional characters who will help you to achieve your ultimate goal of spontaneous conversation.
Learning and applying some basics.
Check in to Hotel Max
Live a life in Paris!
Dr. Gerald Penn
& Sean Robertson
University of Toronto
Dr. Lennart Nacke
Director of HCI Games
University of Waterloo
Garfield Gini Newman
OISE, University of Toronto
Dr. Joan Netten
Order of Canada
Memorial University Newfoundland
Dr. Enrica Piccardo
OISE, University of Toronto
Université Grenoble-Alpes France
Speax’s products are created by a multidisciplinary team consisting of Canadian educational researchers, educators, speech technology experts, video game programmers, immersive and narrative designers, 3D artists and animators.
Beverley A. Biggar
Entrepreneur, publisher, senior author, managing editor, she has led numerous teams in the development of resources for French as-a-second-language (FSL), She holds an M.A. in Education from OISE, the University of Toronto, with specialization in foreign language learning. Beverley co-authored several FSL multimedia resources for students across Canada with Dr. Irene Bernard (Professor in Education, St. Francis Xavier University) and Dr. Joseph Dicks (Director of Second Language Research Institute of Canada, University of New Brunswick).
Sean Robertson is a PhD student at the University of Toronto’s Department of Computer Science, working under Dr. Gerald Penn as part of the Computational Linguistics group, specifically in speech. For his master’s, he ran human subjects experiments in Computer Assisted Pronunciation Training. He is actively involved in projects involving speech recognition, deep learning, and digital signal processing.
Sean led the design and building of the original and the upgraded speech systems in the Speax product.
Elsie Goycoolea is an interactive media professional with experience in digital technology and customer-focused industries. Starting in journalism, she now specializes in project management and content strategy helping organizations bring projects to life with happier and stronger teams.
Chris 'Wombat' Crowell is a Game Designer and Creative Director with 20+ years’ experience creating a wide range of critically acclaimed games. He has worked with globally known brands such as NASCAR, Tiger Woods, Sim City, The Sims, Open Season, Indiana Jones, and Kung Fu Panda. In recent years, Chris has shifted his focus toward working with educators such as TVO and UNESCO to create engaging and effective Game Based Learning and Gamified Digital Education experiences.
Mobolaji Adeyemi is an emerging Public Relations professional with a background in Business Administration and Interactive Media Management. Mo helps organizations understand their audience by identifying the strategies and tactics required to engage the audience with the goal of facilitating clear channels of communication between business and consumer.
Simon has 15 years of experience as a Director, Animator and Story Artist creating best-in-class animated content for Nickelodeon, DisneyXD, PBS, Teletoon, Comedy Central, Mattel and Netﬂix. Simon co-founded Reptoid Games with Ryan Miller in 2015.
Ryan is a Technical Wizard who since 2007 has worked on a staggeringly varied body of work from 2D/3D Asset Creation, VFX, Compositing, Video Editing, VR, App Development, and game programming for titles on mobile, PC and major consoles.
Jayme began her career in the TV industry, first as an animator and then as a production assistant, before making the jump to environmental consulting and small business bookkeeping. She has been working as a project manager, studio manager, and producer at Reptoid Games since 2016.
Audio by Level Curve
An Ontario-based collective of composers, sound designers, and audio technicians specializing in interactive media, VR and games.
1. Why choose Speax?
Because you want to learn how to SPEAK a new language. Memorizing isolated vocabulary and verbs will not lead to spontaneous conversation. Our method is based on research findings from globally recognized learning experts. Our team of educators partnered with technologists to produce an immersive, playful and innovative app, where the focus is on balanced literacy and “speaking first.” It works!
2. Is Speax free?
Speax is free to download from the App Store. You can play the Introduction, Tasks 1 to 4 and Skill Check 1 for free. You may purchase the complete Episode 1 for an introductory fee of $3.99.
3. Will Speax work on my device?
These are the minimum requirements:
Your device must be Apple iPad Mini 2, iPad Air, iPhone 6 or newer.
Your device needs to be running iOS 11 or newer.
You will need a Wi-Fi connection to install the app.
You should have 1GB available storage to be safe.
Speax requires use of both your device microphone and speakers. Headsets are also recommended.
Android devices are not supported at this time, sorry! They will be supported in the future, however.
4. How do I set up my microphone to use with Speax?
Speax uses speech recognition software so that you are able to interact with the characters in the game. To speak when prompted make sure that you have granted Speax access to your microphone.
If your microphone is disabled you will see a message on the screen with instructions on how to allow Speax to access your microphone before you start speaking French.
5. Is there an option for subtitles?
Just like real-life, there are no subtitles. The focus of Episode 1 is on building your confidence to speak, and we encourage you to use the language as best as you can. Don’t become discouraged! You may replay each task as many times as you want until you are comfortable to move on.
6. I am stuck on one task. Can I move on and then come back?
Of course! For the free portion you may skip over any task from the Introduction to Skill Check 1. If you purchase the complete Episode, all tasks will be unlocked.
We do recommend you follow the order stated as the learning goals have been created to help you improve, based on acquired skills. You will be gradually learning more language and the tasks will become more challenging.
7. Why is my response incorrect? I know I used correct French.
Episode 1 introduces basic level language for someone who is a true beginner in learning French. If you are using more advanced French phrases, the system may not accept them as correct since they were not previously modeled in the game. A true beginner will not know these advanced phrases.
If some of the tasks are too easy for you, jump forward a few tasks to see if your level of French is now challenged. Every new Episode will be introducing higher levels of French.
8. I’m having problems with the speech system. What to do?
9. When are new Episodes coming out?
Based on your feedback we are always updating Episodes and building future Episodes. In the future we will be introducing reading and writing in French, as you continue your journey in Paris.
To be the first to know about new updates or Episode releases sign up here.