I urged them to ask Google Akka to “play Kannada Pustaka Podcast” and after a couple of tries, when Shera finally got the command right, it took a few seconds for the chapter to start playing! All the kids suddenly huddled around the Google Home and priceless was the moment for me personally to have witnessed that joy and satisfaction in them when this actually happened!
It was in 2017 February we decided to use Podcast as a channel to deliver audio books and it has been a year! And when we did, 10th standard first language Kannada textbook was the first one to be uploaded. Here is a report written by Jyothi Jayakumar and Lavanya Hebbalmath that i have edited summarising the changes that our volunteers meticulously documented while proofreading the textbook. This was a proper academic comparison and probably first of its kind and hence we have structured it in the form of a short review paper. In this publication of podcast, we have included audio file size in the podcast description. This will help listeners. The chapter / episode URLs are now intuitive mapping on to chapter numbers.
eKannada exhibition provided us our first platform to showcase our efforts. In this document, Lavanya documents our experiences.
We sent out CDs with our first set of accessible textbooks to 35 special schools across Karnataka. The parcels were shipped from Mysuru on 28th January 2016. Sahana Venugopal coordinated the process of production and dispatch with the help of her friends and family members. Here is a list of the schools and status of the dispatch.
We use technology solutions developed at MILE Lab, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru to create editable Unicode text using the Kannada OCR (optical character recognition) technology. A set of technology solutions for Kannada including optical character recognition, Kannada Unicode text to Braille, Kannada speech synthesis has been developed by the team lead by Prof AG Ramakrishnan.
It all started at Indian Institute of Science, Prakruthi cafe. Early 2015, A bunch of researchers happened to talk about the technology just 100m away from where they were sitting and organically this lead to a series of meetings, training, and sharing. Teachers from Sharadadevi School, Shivamogga became the first test bed to test and apply the technology. Despite months of sharing the OCR and TTS software with the school, there was no content creation and they could not use it!
The ‘Education for All’ or the ‘Millennium Development Goal of universal completion of primary education’ cannot be achieved without ensuring access to education for children with different physical and mental abilities.