Learning Apps & Tools | News

Copia Adds Text-to-Speech and New Study Aids to K-12 Social E-Reading Platform

Copia has improved its social e-reading platform focusing on tools for K-12 students and teachers. The updates, available now, are being piloted at the Los Angeles Unified School District to help improve students' reading skills.

Copia is a social reading community. It includes an online bookstore that provides book and e-book details and reviews; a library where users can access their purchased books; tools to take and share notes with designated people or groups and highlight portions of books; commentary from authors, professors, and celebrities; and the capability to create and participate in secure online groups and discussions.

The platform can be accessed using desktop apps for OS X and Windows and through iOS and Android native apps.

New features of Copia include:

  • Embedded tools such as dictionaries, study aids, and other reference materials;
  • A "speak" capability, which reads highlighted text to students;
  • Embedding questions privately to teachers;
  • Tools for crowdsourcing information and questions and highlighting; and
  • Assessment and exam tools for individual students and groups.

The pilot program, which was implemented by learning design company The Alvo Institute in the summer of 2012, includes 230 student participants and four teachers in the New Open World (NOW) Academy in Los Angeles. When it started, 77 percent of participants said reading assignments made them nervous because of a lack of understanding, they lacked in class participation, and couldn't do homework.

"Mid-pilot results confirm that Copia is making reading more accessible to even the most reluctant and struggling readers," according to a news release.

"The opportunity to pioneer a technology-based program aligns with our school's mission and vision," said Charles Flores, principal at the NOW Academy. "The partnership with Copia has allowed our students to further develop 21st century skills through the use of interactive digital texts in the classroom."

Los Angeles Unified School District has more than 640,000 students enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade at 900-plus schools and 187 public charter schools. It is the second-largest district in the United States.

For more information about Copia, visit thecopia.com.

About the Author

Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at timothyjsohn@gmail.com and followed on Twitter @editortim.

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