Information literacy, which has long fallen into the realm of librarians, is “no longer an optional literacy,” said Buffy Hamilton, the media specialist at the 1,500-student Creekview High School in Canton, Ga. “It’s a literacy and a form of cultural capital that I think you have to have in order to fully participate in today’s society.”
“There’s a lot of debate in the library field about whether you can even be a 21st-century librarian if you aren’t willing to embrace some of those Web 2.0 tools and be very proficient in them,” Ms. Foote said. “There’s a real need for us to be participating all the way through the [creation] process, and we need the skills to be able to do that.”
Joyce Kasman Valenza, the library information specialist for Springfield Township High in Pennsylvania, said that libraries are no longer “grocery stores” where students can go to pick up ingredients, but “kitchens,” where they have the resources necessary to create a finished product.
Literacy Bridge is a Seattle organization devoted to making a simple audio recording and playback device for the developing world. They recently field-tested the device in Ghana. The details are here, and are definitely worth reading.
Literacy Bridge (http://literacybridge.org), a non-profit technology startup, is using low-cost technology to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems: global poverty and disease. Through the development and application of a digital audio device, Literacy Bridge’s Talking Book Project is designed to make access to information available and affordable to those who have the fewest resources but the greatest need. This series of blogs summarizes the Talking Book Project and describes how it improves global literacy and access to information. Most importantly, this project demonstrates the power of combining community and appropriate technology to change the world.
Readers of this blog may not appreciate the ease at which they are able to acquire knowledge to improve their productivity. While one portion of the world takes for granted the electricity and literacy skills required to read publications like this one, another portion lacks these prerequisites, yet has an even stronger need for efficient access to information. Recognizing an opportunity to apply technology and open source principles to this inequity, Literacy Bridge launched the Talking Book Project.
The Talking Book Device is a digital audio player/recorder designed for the 2.6 billion people living on less than $2 per day. Most of these people have minimal literacy skills and live in rural areas without electricity or Internet access.
Unlike a common iPod or most other MP3 players, its power source is not dependent on grid electricity, and its audio content distribution is not dependent upon computers. This device also distinguishes itself with its rugged design, variable-speed playback, internal microphone and speaker, and an easily programmable user interface. link