Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kudo's to the Literacy Bridge Org!


- - Congratulations to Literacy Bridge Org - -


One of our eco-friends, Forrest Carman, sent us the press release (below) about an incredible achievment for a fantastic organization - Literacy Bridge. Those of you who are regular listeners of Conscious Discussions Talk Radio might recall hearing about this organization in the past. Click on - Literacy Bridge -or head over to the radio show and look through the archives from there. This particluar interview aired on Feb 24, 2009.


Literacy Bridge, a non-profit organization that provides children and adults with tools for knowledge sharing and literacy learning, today announced the receipt of a $25,000 grant award from Amazon.com. The grant will primarily support Literacy Bridge’s ongoing pilot program in rural Ghana, and will help the organization conduct user experience testing and impact evaluation for its Talking Book program.

Since January 2009, hundreds of Ghanaian school children have used Literacy Bridge’s audio computers, or Talking Books, to improve their reading skills including pronunciation, vocabulary building and reading comprehension. Designed to cost $10, Talking Books enable learners to record individualized lessons and notes, adjust playback speeds for different rates of learning, skip ahead or backwards within and between lessons, define vocabulary words, and engage in multiple-choice quizzes and other interactive applications.

As in many communities around the world, thousands of classrooms throughout rural parts of Ghana have no electricity, 70 to 100 or more students per trained teacher, and few, if any, teaching and learning materials. Talking Books enable educators to maximize the impact of their existing programs using interactive learning opportunities available inside and outside the classroom.

“Literacy Bridge’s program is exciting because it is an innovative and affordable technology for those who need it the most. We look forward to watching the Talking Book’s impact on literacy, health and agricultural practices,” said Jon Fine, director of Author & Publisher Relations for Amazon.com.

In addition to literacy learning, Talking Books enable the rapid and free distribution of essential audio information via device-to-device sharing. Literacy Bridge has partnered with local agriculture and health officials to create targeted lessons. Highlights include:
Talking Books are providing traditional birth attendants with training and emergency procedures. This is especially crucial in remote rural areas, where hospitals are inaccessible.
Talking Books are teaching subsistence farmers, which make up the majority of Ghana’s work force, how to identify signs of sickness in their animals so that they can be isolated to avert the spread of disease. Farmers who gather their livestock together at night for protection have learned how disease can quickly spread from one animal to an entire herd if left unchecked.
Farmers are using Talking Books to learn new planting and fertilization techniques, such as sowing seeds in rows of raised soil. This method is recommended over planting seeds in single mounds, a common practice in Ghana and other developing countries.

Participants in the pilot program are not only learning from their Talking Books, but they are also applying what they learned -- changing their traditional methods to align with expert guidance. Within the first six months of the program, farmers were witnessing improved results, such as significantly greater crop yields.

Amazon.com’s contribution will significantly help us expand and learn from our ongoing pilot,” said Cliff Schmidt, executive director of Literacy Bridge. “We have already seen some exciting results. This contribution will help us continue to evaluate the program’s net impact, long-term viability, and applicability to other communities and cultures.

About Literacy Bridge
Literacy Bridge is a nonprofit organization which empowers 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. To serve this mission, the organization has developed the Talking Book, a low cost digital audio player and recorder for people in the developing world to gain access to information. Literacy Bridge collaborates with local governments, businesses, and nonprofits to develop a network of locally relevant content. For more information please visit http://literacybridge.org

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