Monday, September 7, 2015

The Future is OPEN

Ms.Suzanne Singh, Chairperson, Pratham Books, talks about the philosophy behind the new open source story platform, StoryWeaver, by Pratham Books,

If we could have one wish, it would be this : Joyful reading material for all the 300 million children of India. So they could fall in love with reading, and discover new ideas, new thoughts, and eventually, have richer lives.

In the past ten years, at Pratham Books, we’ve created inexpensive, but high quality storybooks and spread them across schools and libraries in every corner of the country. We reached millions of children, but we still had a long way to travel to reach each of those 300 million little minds. 

2008 introduced us to two little letters that would change the way we worked. And brought us closer to that one wish. Those two letters were CC or Creative Commons.

Creative Commons took conventional publishing wisdom of restrictive copyright and threw it to the wind. It meant that when we released our stories under this open license, we gave anyone the right to use, share or even build upon the creative work that we were licensing. It allowed our stories to travel to places that we couldn’t reach directly. It opened the doors to readers – of all ages, geographies, and nationalities. It’s how our stories found their way into newer languages, audio versions, YouTube videos, and digital apps. Its how a whole new multiplier effect got created. 

This led us to our brand new initiative, StoryWeaver, an open source platform of multilingual children’s stories. StoryWeaver is a window into this enchanting world of Open stories and images and languages. Open to parents. Open to educators. Open to other publishers. And, most importantly, Open to children!

Log onto StoryWeaver from a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or mobile phone. You can then read from a collection of 800 stories in 24 languages. You can create a new story from a bank of 2000 images. You can translate any of the stories into newer languages and share them with others. You can print and use the stories in the way that you want. And also connect with a community of content creators and readers. And this is just the beginning. We will continue to grow the repository through more participation and more collaboration with like-minded partners. 

Imagine a story written in English being translated into Ladakhi, being read by children in Kashmir. And the same illustrations being used by a teacher in Bihar to retell the story. And the same story being versioned into a play in Assamese. The possibilities are endless. 

We believe that the joy of reading is the greatest gift of all. So we’re giving it – to the children of India, and the world. Not just for now, but for the future. 

We believe in Open!

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