Mavis Computel’s Talking Book Makes Teaching & Learning Nigerian & Foreign Languages Easier
In the article, A ‘mobile first’ approach to educational technology by Michael Trucano (Sr. ICT & Education Specialist at the World Bank and lead blogger of the World Bank’s EduTech Blog), he makes a vital statement about the kind of technology that will transform education in developing nations.
Trucano says “…I suspect that some of the most ‘innovative’ applications of technologies for learning won’t emerge from the ‘developed’ countries of the OECD, but rather from the local ‘hacking’ of technologies originally designed for one context, so as to do something in different circumstances characterized by scarcity and constraint.”
This is the belief that drove the Mavis Computel team (an educational technology company based in Abuja) to develop the Talking Book and Talking Poster solution based on the Smartpen (made by her US Partners – Livescribe Inc.) and customized it to enhancing teaching and learning of Nigerian and foreign languages.
The most recent version of the Talking Book Literacy Series which was released in the market on the August 25th, 2014, is the English-learning-French Talking Book. Mavis Computel Ltd developed (and owns copyrights to) the Talking Books solution in collaboration with expert educators and linguists for the purpose of using technology to advance quality teaching and learning. The products in this series effectively engage learners in languages they understand (English, Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, French, etc.) to enable them learn new languages.
The Talking Paper Products (Books and Posters) are fully illustrated, coloured, interactive audio-visual digital paper books and posters. The Talking Books© are for learners and Talking Posters© are for teachers/facilitators. The materials follow the National Education Research and Development Council (NERDC) curricula, with some added enhancements to make teaching and learning exciting. The Talking Books and Posters increase the scope and frequency of instruction and practice, and also extend quality learning beyond the walls of the classroom to wherever the learners are, for greatly enhanced learner performance.
Unlike learning using computers, mobile phones or tablet apps, this new digital education solution is very easy to use, as no prior computer knowledge is needed. With just a pen (in this case digital) and paper, which teachers and students are already used to, the user only needs to turn on the Smartpen and tap on the pictures or write on the Talking Books and Talking Posters to start learning.
Another unique feature is that it completely eliminates learning challenges related to power supply and Internet access and is also amenable to portable solar powering due to ultra-low power consumption of the device (about 2.25Watts).
A lot of Nigerians living at home and those abroad (in the diaspora) want to teach their children the local languages, but do not know where to start. The Talking Books provide a very useful tool to help parents teach their children (or grandchildren) Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, etc.
Some people wonder why we used the Smartpen & Talking Book for our Language Learning Series instead of a CD to work with a computer or a mobile/tablet app. We provide a detailed answer here. Also, one of the major reasons for the recent plan by Los Angeles’ city school district to halt plans to give iPads to every student was the concern over its usefulness as students had already started circumventing browsing restrictions on the tablets and using them for fun rather than schoolwork.
The Talking Books, on the other hand, is engaging, and the games in the books are geared towards reinforcing the concepts learned earlier in the book. The device does not allow the user to be distracted by random browsing as is the case when using phones, tablets or computers.
More books that will be available in the Language Series in the coming weeks and months include English-learning-Hausa (late September 2014), English-learning-Chinese (Q4, 2014), English-learning-Spanish, etc. Other subjects are also under development. These include Mathematics, Science, etc.
We can also digitize third party contents on any subject – on request.
Readers of this online magazine get a 2.5% Discount for orders placed before 20th September. When you order (online or from our office), simply quote 2POINT5OFF, and we will apply the discount to your purchase.