Writing yesterday about the importance of the tangible paper form of bookleteer reminded me of the ‘A Little Something About Me‘ project by Bev Carter carried out in 2007 – 2009 as part of Proboscis’ Generator Case Studies Residency Programme.
Bev wanted to make connections between her local school in England and the schoolchildren in Umulogho village, Imo state, Nigeria and the eBooks provided her with a way to do this.
The first eBook of the project, ‘A Little Something About Me‘, contained paintings, pictures and information by the students of the local school in Umulogho. The children were asked to write ‘a little something about me’ describing what learning meant to them, their hopes, fears, likes, dislikes etc. These eBooks were brought back to the UK and taken into Bev’s local school where the British children read and responded to the Umulogho eBooks helping to devise the questions for a second eBook called ‘Kedu? How Are You?‘ which was made online then printed out and sent out to Umologho early in 2008.
The ‘Kedu? How Are You?‘ eBook (Kedu means ‘How are you? in Igbo, the main language spoken in Umulogho Village) was designed as a notebook to be completed by the children in Umulogho, responding to questions asked about them and their lives by British schoolchildren. Filling in the eBook also enabled the children of Umulogho to ask questions of the children in Watford such as ‘what seasons do you have in England?’ and ‘what religions do you have?’
In October 2008 the completed Kedu eBooks were taken back to the school in Watford that had asked the original questions. The students were delighted to see the answers to their questions, such as ‘are there any crocodiles in the village stream?’ (some Umulogho students had seen some and others hadn’t) and got the students talking about the differences between the everyday lives of the Umulogho children and their own – for example, what time they wake up in the morning and what they do before school as most students in Umulogho were awake by 5.30 am and had gone to the village stream and back to collect water before going to school.
Even though the school in Umulogho doesn’t yet have a computer or internet access, it was still possible to send and receive paper copies of the eBooks, and by scanning in the completed eBooks the results could be shared online. In this way a conversation was able to be held across continents, cultures and technological formats.
Read more about the project and download the Umulogho eBooks at diffusion.org.uk