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Literacy Bridge - 0 views

  • The Talking Book is a low cost audio computer that shares knowledge and improves literacy. 

    It is helping impoverished rural families learn to prevent disease and improve their crops.

    In overcrowded classrooms, children use it to learn from interactive literacy lessons.

Teachers Without Borders

A Talking Book for Africa | A World Bank Blog on ICT use in Education - 1 views

  • The 'Talking Book' is a low-cost audio device device with recording capabilities -- imagine a rubbery MP3 player about the size of a grapefuit -- rather ingeniously engineered (and re-engineered) to meet specific needs and usage scenarios in very poor communities in Africa.  It is designed for use in local languages, using locally produced content, as tool to promote literacy among primary school children (to cite just one goal and target group). One way to think of the device, Cliff said, is as a  'small portable computer without a display'.  While the project is still in its pilot stages, it is notable for its express interest in investigating solutions that are low cost and scalable from the beginning, and in rigorously monitoring and evaluating the impact of its interventions.
  • Literacy Bridge began, he said, with the idea that the most effective approach towards ending global poverty requires empowering people with better access to knowledge, and that those in greatest need are impeded by illiteracy, disability, and inadequate infrastructure. (Here's video from a talk Cliff gave at Google about the project's goals and approach to development.) The project is operationally very lean, supported financially by hundreds of individual donations and by thousands of volunteer hours. 
  • I have never heard a presentation from a project proponent about the development of an ICT device (of whatever sort) meant to be used by poor people that contained so many comments like what I heard from Cliff: "our users told us"; "we learned from our users that ..."; "what we found out when speaking with and observing our users caused us to radically change how we were thinking, and so we re-designed ..." etc.  The iterative, user-centric design process the Literacy Bridge has been engaged in to develop the Talking Book stands in stark contrast to that demonstrated by most (almost all?) of the 'ICT for development' initiatives in the education sector that come through our offices here at the World Bank. 
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