The EtutorStar Pen (易笔通), a combination of optical recognition technology and speech synthesis, is Singapore's first learning device that can be used with 好朋友 (Hao Peng You), 知识报 (Zhi Shi Bao), 知识画报 (Zhi Shi Hua Bao), 新朋友 (New Friends), 新天地 (New World) and 新列车 (New Express), chinese magazines that are published from 2015 and onward. In addition, it can also be used with ETutor Star voice-enhance learning series (Oral, Listening Comprehension, Composition, Reading Comprehension) written based on MOE syllabus requirement.
I thought this is a major plus point with the pen serving as a companion to help children learn Chinese in a more interactive way as they do their exercises in the magazines independently.
The EtutorStar pen is light and compact, making it portable and easy to bring along between home and school. It has a build-in speaker, 4GB memory capacity, supporting MP3 audio playback and music player. The ETutorStar box set comes with an earphone and USB cable for downloading purposes. In terms of functionality, it is easy to use with recording, playback and read along features. User manual is available online where instructions are simple and easy to follow.
To start, visit www.ETutorStar.com and download the audio file of the relevant Chinese magazine title your child has subscribed to via the USB cable connection to the EtutorStar device. The audio files are in AP4 format, hence you have to copy the downloaded files into the ETutorStar pen's AP4 folder respectively.
ETutorStar audio file download page with a range of titles that are used in Primary Schools
Image Source: http://www.etutorstar.com
I downloaded all the audio files ( 知识画报) in the EtutorStar Pen so that Gladys can use it at her convenience whenever she receives a new magazine. To read along, simply turn on the device, select the read along mode and pick the right audio file matching to the current week's magazine.
A point to note is not all the pages within the magazine will have the reading along capability. Only pages with the play/pause/stop/recording icon at the bottom of the page will be inclusive in the audio file. I thought this works pretty well as children will not be overly relying on the device just to complete their homework, and losing track of the initial intention for them to be expose to more reading and improve their word recognition ability.
Just a simple tap on the printed words and it will read the paragraph. You do not need to move the pen through each words, children have to follow through the wordings as the audio file is played.
ETutorStar Pen - Demo
If you wish to pause or stop the reading, simply tap the reading pen on the respective icon. :)
Apart from read along, the ETutorStar pen also has recording function which I find it helpful for my kids to playback and listen to their own speech. Particularly helpful when they are practicing for oral.
I also tried it on ETutorStar audio book where children self-learn by tapping with the ETutorStar reading pen for instant recitation of the questions for listening comprehension to enhance their skill.
Personally, I thought ETutorStar reading pen is a great assistant to children and parents. Working parents may not be able to find time to guide and read with their children consistently, hence it is nice to have a portable companion to help children learn Chinese. However, with every technology, parents involvement in their child's learning is equally important and it will be beneficial and more effective to utilize the tool with parents' monitoring for progress and supervision.
ETutorStar Reading Pen is available for sale at Popular Bookstores. For more demo and information, visit www.ETutorStar.com
Disclosure: Sponsored Review - All comments and opinions are personal and no monetary compensation was received. ETutorStar Reading Pen was provided for review purposes.