Astrid - Redvike

Astrid

Helping children improve English pronunciation using machine learning

Location:
🇸🇪 Sweden
Team on project:
Project
Manager
QA
Tester
Front-end
Developer
Back-end
Developer
Mobile
Developer
Technologies:
React
Node
React Native
Typescript

Astrid

Helping children improve English pronunciation using machine learning

Location:
🇸🇪 Sweden
Technologies:
React
Node
React Native
Typescript
Team on project:
Project
Manager
QA
Tester
Front-end
Developer
Back-end
Developer
Mobile
Developer

The Pitch

When the Astrid co-founders first contacted Redvike (on the back of a referral from one of our other Swedish clients), their company was little more than a concept: to use AI to help children improve their English pronunciation.

Seed investment helped the duo develop the machine learning capabilities required to build a solution. And the co-founders had one design of how a demo product might look. They then approached Redvike and tasked us with developing a prototype to take to market.

  • Astrid had developed the neural networks required to analyze English pronunciation
  • The original widget version was using outdated technologies (JQuery, ModuleJS, Gulp, ES5).
  • Most of all, we needed to build a product that children loved and teachers loved to use

The Process

Redvike approached the project with the ultimate ‘lean start-up’ mindset. We focused on building functional prototypes to validate product-market fit, experimenting with solutions until we found features that appealed to Astrid’s target user-base.

This iterative approach helped us create an app that looks like an illustrated book, with weekly releases introducing new features like sounds, animations, and real-time feedback that inspires children to keep practicing. We also added excel downloads and a sharing feature to allow teachers to send progress updates to parents in a few clicks.

Magical School Book

The first demo version contained different types of content with different levels of advancement. The tasks didn’t have filters built-in yet. Over time, we have developed the app so that the order of the books depends on the skill level of the student.

Insights App

In 2 months we developed a teacher interface that consisted of features like:

Class management

As a class admin, the teacher can add a student to the class, add information about the student (e.g. English level), and send them login details. To make it easier for students to set up accounts, the teacher could print all the login details and QR codes on an A4 sheet, which was then simply cut into smaller pieces and distributed to the students.

Analytics

The teacher had access to analytics both at the level of students and the whole class. Thanks to this, he was able to check:

  • how much time a student spends on the application,
  • how many tasks he has completed and in what time,
  • how much time he spent reading,
  • how many books he read in a week,
  • how many books he read in a week,
  • what problems he has when solving the tasks – e.g. comprehension 60-70% for a specific time period

The second component – pronunciation analytics, enabled access to data on words with which the student had problems in terms of pronunciation and sounds.

Admin console

In 1-2 months we also developed the admin console which allowed for content creation & management. In the Admin database, a teacher could manage books and exercises having the possibility of creating other types of tasks. In the beginning, the teacher could create 4 different types of exercise and later we extended the option to 9 exercise types. All were measured using the CEFR – international language difficulty level.

We also realized that PWA is not the best direction for this application. During the development, we encountered many problems related to animation, sounds, performance, and haptic feedback – functionalities that in general work better on mobile applications. Thus, we made a joint decision to switch to React Native and rewrite Astrid in order to get the full potential of the product.

  • A lean mindset focused on iterative development and weekly releases
  • The approach resulted in three apps: the Magical School Book (for children), an Insights App (for teachers), and an Admin Console (general content management)
  • The Magical School Book is now full of illustrations, sounds, and animations, making for an engaging and enjoyable way to practice pronunciation

The Result

Redvike’s agile approach has helped create a product that children genuinely love, and that teachers are excited to use. And while it’s been challenging to introduce new technology into the education sector, Astrid has engaged several schools (primarily in the US and UK) to test the app 
as a limited release. That said, interest is quickly building — especially across Asia — with inquiries arriving from India, Vietnam, and Japan: countries where the population typically has a robust understanding of English but needs support with pronunciation. The Astrid app represents the powerful, scalable resource that teachers need to improve pronunciation on a mass scale while making the learning experience fun.

  • The initial response has been positive, with schools across Asia interested in the app
  • The next stage of development is to move from a web app to React Native: enabling quicker responses, more interesting sounds, and an even richer user experience
  • Astrid is a well-funded start-up with ten employees, including a CTO and product owners, but they’ve chosen to stick with Redvike as their trusted development partner

Review from the client

Daniel CEO of Redvike
Daniel CEO of Redvike

Redvike's flexible attitude, strong technical know-how and great communication has been instrumental to getting Astrid off the ground! Working with Redvike's team of strong, fun and communicative engineers has made our co-operation a breeze!

John Almbecker

VP Product, Astrid

Daniel CEO of Redvike

Daniel Samotys

CEO

[email protected]

+48 733 533 135

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