Common Scenarios

CS1: Out of The Box (OOTB)

The user has just purchased the Talking Book device, opened the box, inserted the included batteries into the device, turned the power on, and listens to the “Welcome Message”.

CS2: Info/Help

The user does not remember how to find a particular recording. He listens to a message from the device to refresh his memory on the operating instructions. He can also hear the name of the currently selected content module, the currently selected page in that content module, and the any instructions specific to the module (e.g. the way a literacy exercise uses multiple-choice buttons).

CS3: Content Discovery (on device)

The user wants to find the content module of the micro-credit lending process on the device. She jumps through the content modules, listens to the beginning of each module title and skips to the next one until she finds it.

CS4: Listening to Content

The user turns on the device, locates the micro-credit application process descriptions, and starts to listen it using the device’s built-in speaker. When the room got too noisy, he plugs the earphone into the device and listens to it via the earphone. He is excited by the prospect of getting a micro-loan, and wants to tell other villagers about it —- he gathers them in the village’s open meeting area, and uses the Talking Book device to broadcast FM signal to a radio with a well-powered and loud speaker so that the whole group can hear the recording.

CS5: Recording Simple Content

The farmer wants to record and publicize a new fertilizing schedule of maize that he has used successfully last year. He estimates that he needs to speak for about 15 minutes to fully describe the method. He will describe the new method in 3 sections: (1) Summary of the new vs. old method (2) Benefits of the new method (3) Detailed step by step explanation. He checks his Talking Book device to make sure it has sufficient memory available for at least 15 minutes of recording. This is a simple content module in the sense that although it contains segmentation by chapters, it does not contain audio hyperlinks or interaction questions to the listener. In the process of recording, he can choose a particular chapter or the entire module, and either erase it or overwrite it by recording a new segment.

CS6: Recording Complex Content

Complex content are audio module that involves audio hyperlinks or interactive audio content. The basic Talking Book devices will not need to handle this scenario. At this point, let's plan on a computer being required to record complex content; although we may later have a deluxe Talking Book device that can record complex content.

CS7: Distribution of Content from Computer to Device

An NGO has collected the latest and best local maize farming methods, and has a comparison of the pros and cons of the 3 major types of fertilizers used by farmers in the region. The NGO wants to publish and distribute these 2 major pieces of information via the Talking Book system to all the villages in the region. A member of the NGO staff first uses a PC to record onto the PC, then she copies the audio content from the PC to a Talking Book device. She uses the device to check the recording.

CS8: Preloading Content onto Many New Devices

A thousand Talking Book devices have been manufactured. The standard set of audio content is being copied to all of the devices.

CS9: Copying Content onto 1 Device to Many Devices

See scenario (1) in section Information Scenarios.

CS10: Distribution of Content through Village Kiosk

The user of a Talking Book device discovered and is interested in 2 content modules on the Talking Book kiosk in the village. He copies them onto his device.

CS11: Distribution of Content from Device to Device

There will be many situations when one wants to copy content from one Talking Book device to another one. For example, a farmer who has copied an explanation of the local loan application process, upon visiting a friend in another village might want to copy the content onto his friend’s device so that his friend can also listen to it, and perhaps let the others in his village know about the loan availability and application process.

CS12: Distribution of Content from Mobile Phone to Device

The local NGO has set up a toll free telephone number for users to call in for healthcare information. The local village leader has a cell phone and uses it to call in for the information. He uses the phone’s earphone to connect to the Talking Book device and record the information onto the device (in real-time).

CS13: Distribution of Content by Radio

The debate between the 3 candidates for the upcoming November presidential election is being broadcast on radio. The user records the pre-debate election process information and the actual debate onto the device.

CS14: Automatic Shutoff and Resuming Content

The user is interrupted during a listening session, paused the playing of the recording, and went off to the next room and did not return for more than 5 minutes.

CS15: Power

a. Replacing non-rechargable AA, AAA, or D
b. Charging rechargeable battery at kiosk

CS16: Device Status Indicators

a. On/Off Indicator Light
b. Mode of Operation Indicator Light: “idle”,“playing”,“paused”, “recording” from microphone, another device or PC.

CS17: Updating Talking Book Device Software

Should this be a feature at all? In other words, should this be needed, or should the device be designed to be similar to a CD player in the sense that no software update in the field is expected?

Information Scenarios

IS1: A Local NGO Leaves Audio Notes on HIV/AIDS and Malaria

The Rural Aid Action Programme (RAAP) is a local NGO in the Upper West region of Ghana. After presenting an entertaining and informative puppetry show about preventing malaria and HIV/AIDS to a local village, the staff asks for people owning a Talking Book device to gather together so that RAAP can copy the audio notes of the key points presented onto their Talking Books devices for future reference. They also sell subsidized Talking Book devices to those who have not already purchased them at the local market.

IS2: Do-It-Yourself Village Savings and Loan Training

While traveling back home after working in the city during the dry season, Emmanuelle stops in a village and learns of their Village Savings and Loan Association, a program developed by CARE. Interested in bringing this program to his village, Emmanuelle copies the audio instructions for starting this program from the village kiosk onto his Talking Book device.

IS3: Ministry of Food and Agriculture Extends Capacity of Technical Training

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) has a small office in one of the poorest rural districts in the country. The staff of eight field officers, equipped with only seven motorbikes, is expected to provide the latest agricultural technical advice to all the district's farmers, 97% of whom are illiterate. To reach more farmers on their limited budget, they record an audio narration to their already-developed flip chart presentation. They now serve three times as many farmers by making two passes through a circuit of villages: first to drop off the a flip chart and a Talking Book device with the narration, and a second pass to pick up the flip chart and answer any questions.

IS4: Gender Rights Group Explains How to File Domestic Violence Complaints

A gender rights group discovers the reason why a large number domestic violence complaints are reported but not pursued: the victims, most of whom have weak reading skills, do not understand how to navigate the required legal processes. The group finds a lawyer willing to record an interview describing what victims need to know. Next, they submit the recorded program to the organization that manages the Talking Book distribution network for their country, which is a local NGO affiliated with Literacy Bridge. Within days, it is listed in village kiosks around the country as a new program available for no charge. Individuals and other groups use the interview to help victims of domestic violence.

IS5: Anti-Corruption Organization Educates Citizen Lobbyists

The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), a chapter of Transparency International, has worked for years on getting a piece of anti-corruption legislation to a vote in Parliament. As the vote approaches, GII records a reading of their latest newsletter that explains what the proposed legislation would do and encourages all citizens to contact their MPs and ask for their support.

IS6: Newspaper Companies Expand their Audience and Introduce Audio Advertising

One of the major national newspapers figures out that they can sell more advertisements by recording an audio version of their daily newspaper for distribution to the millions of adults who are interested in the national news but cannot read the newspaper. They sell audio advertisements to companies that produce products found in most rural markets, such as soap, phone cards, and batteries. Even with the fee paid to the NGO that manages the Talking Book content distribution, the newspaper company still profits from their additional ad revenue. They also attract people learning to read to soon buy their newspapers, instead of their competitors' papers.

IS7: Community Members Preserve their Village's Oral Stories

As is the case with most rural villages in Africa, the village of Chapuri has a strong oral tradition. Dozens of stories about the people and their beliefs have been passed down from generation to generation. Some of the younger community members became concerned that these wonderful stories are not being preserved by the younger generation. They use the Talking Book recording devices to capture traditional stories and history. Next they transcribe the stories, add artwork, and make multiple copies to distribute to young children as books to be used to learn their history and to practice reading.

IS8: Presidential Candidates Expound on their Platforms

Each of the candidates for president wants to get their message out to the voters. Most of them are given an opportunity to be interviewed on the radio, but they all want the opportunity to tell the voters, including those who cannot read, what they stand for on all the key issues. For a small fee used to support the NGO-managed Talking Book distribution network, each politician is able to get their messages available for download at hundreds of kiosks throughout the country. Within days, more people are getting copies from grass roots supporters than from the kiosks.

IS9: Distance Learning for Small Businesses

A local company creates a series of basic business education modules for use by the hundreds of thousands of small businesses throughout the country. Topics include how to calculate capital costs and track profits, microcredit opportunities, and best practices of other businesses. Small business owners learn about this series through an audio advertisement. Unlike most content, this content requires a small fee, which is shared between the educational provider and the NGO operating the Talking Book content distribution network.

Literacy Scenarios

Unlike the Information Scenarios, these Literacy Scenarios may include student exercises that are most effective when an instructor or parent assists the student (instructor-assisted or parent-assisted contexts). In some cases, the appropriate context will depend on the student's age. The following scenarios show only one context, but many scenarios could also be effective in other contexts.

LS1: Audio Reading of Decodable Books at Student's Preferred Speed

Decodable books are written for a specific reading level (particularly the early reading levels) so that they tell an interesting story with words made up of sounds that the student can pronounce (decode). Decodable books usually focus on one or two particular vowel or consonant sounds to reinforce a recent lesson. See

A teacher who has been using decodable books to teach reading discovers that a teacher in another region has produced audio Talking Book content for each of the books. At the kiosk in a nearby larger village, she finds content modules for five of these decodable books and copies these to her personal Talking Book device. The next day, after teaching a class on words with the "sh" sound, she copies the "Fish Wish" story from her Talking Book device to the device of each student. She tells the students to practice reading the Fish Wish book while using their Talking Book devices for practice. Some of the students have more trouble reading than others, requiring a slower speed audio for maximum learning. Using the Talking Book device's speed control, each student is able to adjust the audio speed to what is best for each learner (with the pitch remaining the same).

LS2: A Family Practices Reading at Home Together

The parents of a four-year old want their child to have a strong start in school, even though neither of them have adequate literacy skills. With the encouragement and instruction of a local NGO, they participate in a "Family Literacy" program that helps them learn to read while also providing them the training to help their children develop early literacy skills. Each week, the parents learn to read a new short book to their children.

Using the Talking Book, parents are able to practice reading the book at home so that they can confidently read it to their children and apply the skills they learned in Family Literacy training. Parents who are not yet confident enough to read directly to their children can play the Talking Book device through an internal or external speaker (such as through their radio via FM transmission). Some Talking Books ("content modules") may intersperse questions or comments throughout the reading to prompt the child to participate in a dialog about the book ("dialogic reading"). The parent alone might not have thought of these helpful prompts to engage a child; and, the device cannot recognize the child's response or continue a conversation. But a parent using the Talking Book device can engage a child in a critically important early literacy exercise, which rarely occurs in households with weak or no literacy skills.

LS3: Phonological Awareness Exercises

Phonological awareness is an important stage in early literacy education when the learner understands the different ways oral language can be divided up. Without involving text, phonological awareness addresses dividing oral language into separate words, syllables, rhyming parts of a syllable (onsets and rimes), and finally individual consonant and vowel sounds (phonemes). Illiterate adults who have spoken a language their entire lives are still unlikely to have phonological awareness at the phoneme level without direct instruction and practice. Without this level of awareness, they will have a much more difficult time learning to read.

A Non-Formal Education program has created a series of Talking Book content modules to help adults with phonological awareness. They hypothesize that adults who first practice phonological awareness exercises at home, before enrolling in night literacy classes, will be faster literacy learners than those who spend the same amount of time in extra group classroom instruction. If true, this would mean less instruction per student, meaning they could serve more students with their available resources.

The content module series is unusual in that it does not require a physical book to be effective (although children would benefit from pictures that the exercise words represent); this means there are virtually no costs to copying and distributing the series. However, this "complex content" does require more time to plan and record than simple content without hyperlinks or interactive exercises.

One of the exercises involves counting. Counting the words in a sentence, syllables in a word, and phonemes in a syllable is the first step before manipulating these parts. The Talking Book device allows a content module to ask the listener to tap a button once for each of the syllables they hear, and then to tell them if they are correct. Another content module can follow a description of rhyming words with examples and multiple-choice questions to find the word that doesn't rhyme with the others. Phonemic awareness can ask the listener to select which word in a list has the same first sound as "dog", and which of the following words would be created if the /d/ sound in "dog" was replaced with an /f/ sound.

LS4: Interactive Phonics Lesson: Word Families

One technique for helping children and adults learn to read is to have them predict and build new words by changing one letter or digraph (pair of letters that make one sound). To help English language learners master letter sounds with this technique (note that this applies to learners of any alphabetic language), a Talking Book content module is created by the Ministry of Education to accompany a textbook. The textbook lists words like "fall", "ball", "wall", "tall", each on successive pages. The first page lists the word "fall", with the letter "b" just below the letter "f" in "fall". The audio of the Talking Book pronounces the word "fall" and then asks what word do we get if we replace the "f" in "fall" with a "b"? The student thinks about the answer before turning the page, and then turns the page and hits the next page button to see and hear the word "ball". Underneath the "b" in "ball" is the letter "w"…and the exercise continues.

Instead of just decoding and predicting the results of word manipulation, teachers can use the Talking Book device to also engage students in encoding and actual manipulation of letters in words. Following the audio "Help" instructions for the "Word Manipulation" content module, the instructor (or adult student) simply marks each of the four multiple-choice buttons on the device with a different letter (labeling "b", "f", "t", and "w" with a thin piece of chalk). The device is now ready for a content module that can now ask the student to create the word "ball" by pressing the appropriate letter to add to the front of "all". The student then gets instant feedback about their answer ("Yes – you are right. Adding the letter 'b' to the front of 'all' does make the word 'ball', as you will see on the next page." or "The letter you selected was 't'. That doesn't spell 'ball'; that makes a different word. Do you know what word? … The word 'tall'. Now try once more to pick the letter that will make the word 'ball'.").

LS5: Embedded Vocabulary Building and Reading Comprehension Tests

Taking advantage of the audio hyperlink functionality of the Talking Book device, educators create content that adds a vocabulary lookup feature to what would otherwise be a simple reading of a common storybook. As the listener plays the recording on their device, a button lights up (and optionally, a quiet tone sounds) when a targeted word has just been spoken. Pressing the button while it is lit interrupts the story to define the word. When the listener is ready to continue, the story replays the previous few seconds and continues where it left off.
The student may prefer to first have the device follow each hyperlink automatically, inserting the vocabulary definition into the story without user action. Later, when replaying/rereading the book after having learned most of the words, the student will prefer to hear definitions for a selected subset of the targeted words.
At the end of the story, a few multiple-choice questions are presented to the vocabulary memory and reading comprehension. The Talking Book device provides instant feedback in response to the student's answer.

LS6: Word-by-Word Reading for Literacy Education and the Power of Content Authoring Software

An early reading student, who may be a child or an adult, wants to practice decoding and properly pronouncing text within a book aimed at her reading level. She starts by placing the book near her Talking Book Device and playing the associated content module. As the content is played, the student tries to follow along. She is helped by hearing a background audio icon that plays at the end of each line of text and another one that plays at the change of each page.

Even with these line and page cues, the student decides to slow the playback down by 50% to have a better chance to follow the words.

Even with the slow speed, the student (and maybe her teacher or parent) wants to hear each word read one at a time. She starts the playback over, but as it starts, she pushes a button representing a "short jump forward" which causes the playback to jump to the next word and then pause. She presses it again to hear the next word read (then automatically pausing again). She can continue this one word at a time through the whole book. Instead, she decides to jump to a specific page by pressing a button representing a "long jump forward" a number of times. Then, by hitting the "short jump forward" button again, she is able to have the recording played back word-by-word again.

This scenario is possible because the author of the content either used a Group Talking Book Device (typically used by NGOs and the same thing powering kiosks) or our content authoring software that runs on PCs. Through either of these options, content authors are able to designate any number of index points (well, maybe any number less than 10,000 or so) to serve as both "short jump" anchor points (like words, lines, or pages) or "long jump" anchor points (like lines, pages, or chapters). The content authors are also easily able to insert audio icons at points that may or may not coincide with these internal anchor points.

Other Scenarios

OS1: Use of Device by Visually Impaired

With a Talking Book device, people with visual impairments are given an alternative to the limited supply of Braille-based books. Unlike audio devices with similar functionality, the Talking Book device does not require the user to read a screen or see any other visual indication. Distinct buttons, aural instructions, and aural navigation queues make the device as easy to use by those with visual impairments as it is for everyone else.

OS2: Use of Device by Hearing Impaired

Some users may have limited hearing impairment.