Cliff Schmidt

Executive Director, Literacy Bridge

The Talking Book Device
27 minutes, 12.8mb, recorded 2008-08-06
Cliff Schmidt

People trying to learn to read will soon be able to use a handheld device to practice their reading skills when a trained teacher or the Internet are not available. Using its own inexpensive hardware, Literacy Bridge plans to provide Talking Book audio players/recorders in developing nations starting this fall, with a goal of selling them for about $10 per device or less. Listen to Cliff Schmidt describe the Talking Book and the benefits it will bring to people in far-flung locations, starting with Ghana and India. Schmidt also describes the history of the project, content distribution plans, the open-source nature of both the hardware and software, and how you can help. Schmidt also describes the Talking Book's potential impact of further distributing locally-generated audio content on agriculture, health and other issues facing the developing world.

Cliff Schmidt started Literacy Bridge after spending six weeks in rural Ghana to research ideas for the Talking Book project with local nonprofits, universities, and government agencies. Aside from his service as a grassroots lobbyist for organizations working to end global poverty (such as CARE and RESULTS), most of his prior experience comes from business, nonprofit governance, and engineering.

Schmidt ran a successful open source software consulting business for clients throughout Europe, the Middle East, and North America, specializing in intellectual property issues, nonprofit governance, privacy policies, and community development. He also served many nonprofit organizations, such as The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the Eclipse Foundation, the OpenSEA Alliance, and the Free Software Foundation, including service on the board of directors and as the vice president of legal affairs for the ASF. In the 12 years prior to his consulting work, Schmidt worked as an industry standards representative for Microsoft, as the open source programs manager for BEA Systems, and as a nuclear engineer and submarine officer for the U.S. Navy. Cliff received his B.S. in Cognitive Science from MIT and his M.S. in Computer Science and Engineering from University of Washington.



This free podcast is from our Opening Move series.

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Photo: Scott Mace