In the 19th century, factory workers would listen to a lector de tabaquería, who read aloud to them while their eyes and hands were busy at their labor. And for decades, radio has been a means to educate people, including illiterates in poor nations. Audio recording technology later made it practical to "time-shift" (and repetitively study) such content - as well as even publish things of which the powerful (who can control radio stations) disapproved. For better or worse, supposedly Ayatollah Khomeini built his following by recording speeches on audio-tape cassettes that were smuggled into Iran and passed from person to person.
MODERN DIGITAL AUDIO APPLIED TO EDUCATION In summer 2005 I taught a free course introducing digital technology at a library on the edge of Appalachia, where many adults still effectively lack even basic reading skills. I demonstrated a digital audio player (DAP) retailed at $10 (without flash memory) and my notes evangelized their utility as a means to educate people whose eyes and hands are preoccupied with work. With the advent of the OLPC project, my December 2006 critique at Teaching, Institutional and Professional Barriers on challenges facing laptop use in education included remarks on DAPs (noting the practical advantages which make them much superior to moving-tape players), and used these punch lines: It could be that audio e-books and "MP3" players might help chore-bound kids in poor countries more than the world's best notebook PC they never have time to use. Maybe the magic is in flash memory, rather than processors or displays... If you can make a whole laptop computer stuffed with goodies for $150, how cheap then might you make a digital audio player? Everyone who shares such sentiments is naturally cheered to see the creation of a project which turns such ideas into actions. I would be surprised if Literacy Bridge fails to do a lot of good and think coordinating content with OLPC is a good idea. (See also Literacy.) - Docdtv
- Docdtv 07:04, 25 January 2010 (UTC)