Voice Learning (VoLe) Portal

Sri Lankan government and private sectors have invested on public the Internet accessible places such as Internet hot spots, Public Internet Kiosk etc. But some of these solutions are not possible for most of the users as they require expensive resources or services.

Since mobile technologies have been rapidly growing and people make use of their mobile devices to access the web anywhere in the world, mobile phones can be used in an effective way to give a solution the resource problem. This will reduce the overhead of buying a PC, the Internet connection and the expenditure of electricity. However, accessing Internet through a mobile phone is also involved an additional cost, which is not affordable for the people in developing regions. In addition to that, accessing the Internet through mobile devices also have limitations. Primarily, buying a featured phone is an issue for general population. Further, in rural areas, it is hard to connect through even GPRS. The smaller keyboard and screen sizes may also influence the browsing. All of these limitations distracts people accessing the web through their hand-held devices.

Researchers have explored the possibility of accessing the web through voice communication rather than trying on solutions with graphical user interface (GUI). The basic voice communication has had larger penetration among the world population as well as in Sri Lanka. IBM Research Laboratory has conducted a research to build voice web. This concept is called World Wide Telecom Web (WWTW). In this model, the voice sites are developed instead of general web sites. Those voice sites are implemented using a language called VoiceXML. VoiceXML is a markup language derived from XML. Users are allowed to call to the voice site which is a collection of VoiceXML pages through their telephones. However, in this system users have to build separate voice sites and it may not going to happen. Thus we thought of implementing a Voice Learning (VoLe) portal which provides a voice interface to the existing learning web site.

For example, a user can take a phone call to VoLe and tell that he needs to browse Wikipedia entry for Robotics. Then the VoLe will retrieve the required page and read it to the user. In the other example, a user would like to take ICT quiz available on the University of Colombo School of Computing (www.ucsc.lk) web site. Then the user takes a call and tells it to the VoLe. VoLe will read each question to the user and the user tells the answer. Finally, VoLe tells the correct answer. As such we can use VoLe to provide the Internet access to the unprivileged students.

Project members:
Dr. Kasun De Zoysa
Thushari Atapattu
Sashikantha Wanasinghe

Publications:
Accessing the University Learning Management System through Voice Communication, Thushari Atapattu, Sashikantha Wanasinghe, Kasun De Zoysa,Lakshman Jayaratne, 27th National Information Technology Conference, The Computer Society of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka, 9th to 10th September 2009

V-Learning: Using Voice for Distant Learning in Emerging Regions, Thushari Atapattu, Kasun De Zoysa, International Conference on Computer Supported Education, Lisbon, Portugal, March 2009.

V-Learning : Using Voice for Distant Learning in Emerging Regions
Thushari Atapattu, Sashikantha Wanasinghe, Dr. Kasun De Zoysa
e-Asia 2009 Conference