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Our mission is to empower children and adults with affordable tools for knowledge sharing and literacy learning, as an effective means towards advancing education, health, economic development, democracy, and human rights.
Literacy Bridge began with the idea that the most effective strategy for ending global poverty requires empowering people with better access to knowledge, and that those who are most in need are impeded by illiteracy, disability, and inadequate infrastructure.
Literacy Bridge is building the Talking Book Device, a low cost audio player and recorder, for children and adults in the developing world. Children and adults will use the device for literacy learning and knowledge sharing.
Built around a low-cost digital audio recorder, the Talking Book Project will amplify existing efforts to reduce poverty and disease by providing an affordable tool for local people to share critical knowledge with those who need it most:
- For the cost of a radio (under $10) and powered by locally available batteries, the Talking Book Device plays, records, and distributes spoken knowledge in a digital audio format.
- As a personal device, it provides a means of accessing and creating relevant knowledge for people who are illiterate, disabled, and/or living without adequate infrastructure.
- It uses existing community networks to create, consume, and distribute locally relevant knowledge. Locally operated kiosks further support the availability and distribution of knowledge.
We focus on many types of sustainability:
- Business: Low price allows a consumer market. Low system distribution costs encourage growth.
- Environmental: Reduced fuel usage; battery supply transitions to a cheaper rechargeable option.
- Engineering: Built by an international, collaborative, free/open software development community.
The Talking Book Project's potential extends even beyond a system to share spoken knowledge:
- As a tool to improve literacy education for children and adults, it allows slow-speed/constant-pitch playback and provides controls to skip through each chapter, page, line, or word of a book reading.
- Educational games, audio hyperlinks, interactive multiple-choice questions, and many other applications are made possible due to the open, innovative, and extensible software platform.
Literacy Bridge distinguishes itself by:
- prioritizing people with the greatest challenges, rather than focusing on the easiest to reach.
- starting each project as a collaboration with trusted local organizations that best serve these people.
- developing and applying affordable technology to improve the efficiency of existing networks.
- attracting and managing free/open source software developers to produce a cost-effective solution.
- ensuring each solution is scalable and sustainable by local organizations and businesses.
- Cliff Schmidt
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