Developer XO laptop loan or buy - Speakeasy project

Lester Leong lester.bleong at
Mon Jun 11 22:07:21 EDT 2012


Not negative at all. I have heard of this project when looking around
to see if there were any open-source projects that I could port, so
that I wouldn't have to start from scratch. I know there have also
been a few other microphone/speech-recognition approaches to

The issue with this approach is that I think it's a little overkill,
at least for now. What I'm trying to do is similar, but much simpler:
gamify language-learning but get rid of the complicated
speech-recognition stuff. My theory is that just hearing spoken
English and encouraging the child to follow along may be enough, at
least for a start.

I'm sure you've heard of Rosetta Stone. I've learned to speak Spanish
moderately well using it. I wanted to do something similar to this -
it utilizes flash cards and although it has a speech-recognition
element, this is not strictly required, and many people have learned
from it without a microphone. I agree that  you can't really learn
without practicing speech, but even with a mic and sophisticated
speech-recognition, there's only so much software can accomplish aside
from the "real thing" - practicing with real speakers.

I think it could just be as easy as having a collection of multimedia
and gamifying it. I thought of having a set of flashcards with audio -
then many things could be done with that. Audio to picture matching.
Finish the sentence. Multiplayer races. Pictures in a series to denote
context, etc. It could just be that simple. Would be really trivial to
implement as well. I even thought of implementing it as web served
pages so that the whole thing could exist in website form - in remote
locations without Internet, maybe the pages can be locally

Anyway, the reason I would like an XO is because I'd like to get a
feel for user interface, as well as the limitations of it, from the
very beginning. It would help guide design immensely.

Hope this helps,

On Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 9:35 PM, Chris Ball <cjb at> wrote:
> Hi,
> On Mon, Jun 11 2012, Lester Leong wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> I'm trying to get this project off the ground:
> Have you considered joining forces with:
> ?  They seem to be very expert in language learning and speech recognition.
>> I would like to buy or, if possible, loan, an XO laptop for
>> development and testing. I live in Wantagh, NY, which is in Long
>> Island and reasonably close to the greater New York city area.
>> Please let me know what I need to do to get this project off the ground!
> My advice would be that hardware and porting are not the difficult part
> of this project -- if you create software that teaches literacy well,
> porting it to the XO will be straightforward as long as it runs on top
> of Linux and X11.  (And even if it doesn't work on the XO's platform,
> there are so few good Free Software literacy software projects right
> now that someone else would probably volunteer to do the port for you!)
> The difficult part is actually designing and writing the code.  I think
> you should think more about that, write up your ideas (your wiki page
> currently contains no technical information at all!) and start seeing
> if the ideas work by running them on standard laptops.
> Sorry if this e-mail feels negative.  I think it's important to
> understand that good literacy software is possibly the most difficult
> type of software to write, yet also one of the most needed types in the
> world right now.  I think your effort will be most likely to succeed
> if you seek help from experts, and spend your time researching and
> experimenting; there's no need for an XO to do any of those things.
> - Chris.
> --
> Chris Ball   <cjb at>   <>
> One Laptop Per Child

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