"Read so hard, got paper cuts..."
See the original post with the lyrics here on Annabelle's blog.
About the treaty:
There are about 256 million visually impaired people in the developing world, according to an estimate by the World Health Organisation. In many rich countries, blind people have ready access to works that have been translated into braille and other accessible formats such as audio and large-print books, although, according to the EU, only 5% of books are accessible to blind people in wealthy states.
However, under existing copyright law, poorer countries can't access those translations without getting the express permission of the copyright holder. Few developing country governments have managed to do that, meaning that their blind and visually impaired populations are left with barely anything to read. The EU estimates that less than 1% of books are accessible to blind people in poorer countries.
The European parliament passed a resolution in February calling on the EU to support a binding treaty for the blind, but it does not appear to be having much impact. "The EU and the Americans are blocking the treaty - that's what's going on," said James Love, director of Knowledge Ecology International (KEI). "It's shameful what they're doing." He added that the administration of President Barack Obama has changed its position on the treaty over the past few years. In 2008 Obama's transition team were making positive noises, but since then the administration has become less enthusiastic.
Europe and the US are home to some of the world's biggest publishing companies, many of which don't like the idea of an international treaty that would restrict their intellectual property rights. Observers speculate that the Obama administration may be loth to upset the publishing industry, a major campaign supporter, this late in an election year. "What we can see in the [negotiating] room is that primarily it's the business interests that dominate," said Hackett.
Activists are hoping for a legally binding treaty, but US and European delegates have been pushing for a softer "instrument" that would offer only guidelines and recommendations.
That was my
first impression after reading this Wall Street Journal article: "An E-Reader Revolution for Africa?"
Maybe I'm pulling a Sarah Erdman, author of "Nine Hills to Nambonkaha." While a great writer, I was put off by her negativity towards technology that actually facilitated and empowered the lives of Africans in rural villages (complaining about the new light posts because it diminished her views of the night sky...please).
But a Kindle for every student? I think it's fair to say that the education system in numerous African countries needs improvement, but should kindles really be at the top of the list?
Maybe it has nothing to do with my pulling an Erdman, but just about how much I romanticize real books, and my reluctance to accept that kindles are the new thing.
Or maybe, I'm just jealous.
Whatever it is, I'm really curious to see how this "one kindle per child" pans out over the next few years. How effective are they? What happens when it breaks? Are students really more engaged in their school work with a Kindle? Does using it help improve a student's academic success? Anyone doing a research project on this? Michael?