Net4Voice: New Technologies For Voice Converting in Barrier-free Learning Environments – English version

EU Programme
Lifelong learning programme (LLP) – key activity 3 ICT

Duration
01/12/2007 – 30/11/2009

Coordinator

University of Bologna – Direction and Development of Web Activities
Via Zamboni 26 – 40126 Bologna (Italia)
Tel: ++ 39 051 20 99 267
Sito web: www.unibo.it
Referente: Dr. Luca Garlaschelli
E-mail: luca.garlaschelli@unibo.it

Partners

University of Southampton – Southampton (United Kingdom)
University of Ulm – Ulm (Germany)
• Public Professional Institution for Social Services “Iris Versari” – Cesena (Italy)
Totton College – Southampton (United Kingdom)

Abstract

Description

Three European Universities, a 6th Form College and a high school, are partners in the project ‘Net4Voice’ which consists of testing voice recognition techniques and methods within a variety of learning contexts. Speech-recognition technology can automatically transform a lecturer’s speech into digital text in real-time, by generating an electronic transcription of the lesson, or conference material, to be printed or delivered through different devices and channels.

The need to support the learning process with non-traditional technologies derives from the fact that teaching material is not easily accessible to users with disabilities in different learning contexts. The exploitation of interactive technologies helps students to learn by doing, receiving feedback, and continually refining their understanding. This facilitates participation in lifelong learning by people with various needs.

Net4Voice recognises that education in traditional classrooms is still the most pervasive way to support learning. Nevertheless, there are needs related to accessibility and effectiveness of learning that are not properly satisfied in the traditional classroom. In this regard, traditional face to face (F2F) education, although extremely important and unique, presents constraints due to physical, temporal and cultural barriers that could hinder access to – and the effectiveness of – learning. ICT can be an effective means to raise the quality of educational processes in term of accessibility and effectiveness. The adoption of a universally accessible learning methodology will help to promote a better quality of education for the whole community.

Objectives

The final aim of the project is to increase the quality of learning opportunities for the whole of society, promoting the adoption of barrier-free learning environments and the development of innovative learning methodologies which utilise speech-recognition (SR) technologies. In particular, Net4Voice aims at defining a clear scheme to assess the impact of SR technologies in education, by experimenting with SR in at least three different learning contexts: university, school and adult education classrooms. Secondly it evaluates the impact on key actors involved, such as students and teachers, by particularly focusing on learning settings addressed to people with particular needs.

Beneficiaries

Students with different kinds of auditory or motor disabilities can particularly benefit from the use of speech recognition technologies which can give access to synchronized speech-recognised text, allowing disabled students to follow lessons in an accessible learning environment without additional intermediary support and without losing lesson content.

Also, second language learners, and all students in general, can take advantage of these technologies which enable them to exploit the available multimedia transcriptions a second time, after the lesson, by reading and listening to the lesson content again – anywhere and at any time they desire.

Activities

The main activities carried out by the partners during the project will be:

• Developing a joint speech-recognition technology based learning methodology, to increase the accessibility and the effectiveness of learning at all of its stages.
• Training professors of the educational settings identified by partners on the developed methodology.
• Testing the speech-recognition technology based methodology within the educational settings identified by partners (Higher Education, School and Adult Education).
• Sharing and validating the results of the experimentation.
• Setting up a virtual intranet workspace for the management of the project and the exchange of information.
• Setting up the project web site for the exploitation and disseminating actions.
• Evaluating the scalability of the testing results and planning dissemination and exploitation activities.

Expected Outcomes

As a result, the project will produce:

• a tested and validated learning methodology that can be shared with other educational Institutions in order to create a stable and broader network;
• a standardised and innovative pedagogical documentation;
• a share of expertise among the partners.

Grant
486.185 EUR