Benetech

Adding Marathi human-narrated audio capabilities to create accessible, grade-level storybooks that can be listened to on low cost audio devices by children who are blind/low vision

Benetech
A student in India reads braille.

Adding Marathi human-narrated audio capabilities to create accessible, grade-level storybooks that can be listened to on low cost audio devices by children who are blind/low vision


Project Name

Bookshare India

Location Implemented

India

Technology Used

Assistive Technology

Competition Entered

Grant Competition 2014

Reading Skill Targeted

Foundational, Pre-Reading

Status

Winner

Collaborators/Partners

Pratham Books, University Research Co. LLC, Access Braille, Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged

The Challenge

In Maharashtra India, classrooms lack accessible reading materials that allow students to learn at their own pace through braille reading, print reading and/or listening. Mother tongue language instruction is optimal for reading acquisition, in both braille and audio, among students who are blind/low vision. Delivering accessible books in mother tongue languages where no text-to-speech (TTS) engine exists to read these books aloud is challenge, and the cost of creating a high-quality TTS engine is extremely high.

The Big Idea

This innovation makes reading materials accessible to children by adding Marathi human-narrated audio capabilities to Bookshare, the world’s largest digital accessible library. Primary school students who are blind/low vision were provided with accessible Marathi educational content to listen to on low-cost audio devices in conjunction with reading braille. Teachers were trained to use the Bookshare platform and schools were visited weekly by a local “Story Auntie” to encourage reading and inspire students.

Results

Three schools, nine teachers, and more than 70 students

Blogs and Media

Research and Resources

Connect with the Innovator

Website

http://www.benetech.org/

Organization Type

Non Profit

Headquarters

Palo Alto, California, USA

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