A few weeks ago volunteers in a remote area of Papua New Guinea delivered new books designed with the book creation technology, Bloom. These books were given to members of the Bau language community. Copies of the books, also known as “shell books,” were given to Fulumu, a local elementary school, and they will give young students a chance to read stories that are written in their own language and localized to fit their unique culture.
Bloom technology allows speakers of smaller language groups to create their own literature through simple publication software. Bloom puts book creation within the reach of people with minimal computer skills, is “book-aware”, and provides layout templates to facilitate the book creation process.
Twenty-six different books were delivered to the Fulumu school, some storybooks and others alphabet books. An additional set of these books were left for a small library that was started in one of the villages of the Bau language community. Members of the village were very interested and had lots of input and comments about them as they read.
The hope is for Bloom books to create a new interest not only in literacy but also the Bau language and that teachers will be motivated to use them in schools.
Bloom developers and volunteers are working with other language groups to grow this language interest and book accessibility with other language groups in other areas of Papua New Guinea.
An initiative that puts books into the hands of young readers in remote villages is large and complex, and language diversity is part of that complexity. SIL LEAD looks forward to sharing its knowledge of minority language literature production and the technology that now exists to support it.
For more information on Bloom and other technology innovations of SIL and SIL LEAD see Innovation and Technology.
You can also visit the Bloom website at http://bloom.palaso.org/