Life Access Technology Trust

… community-created media

OL3C – Current Project Overview June 16, 2010

Filed under: localization,Open Library for Local Learning Communities — miketrainum @ 12:09 pm

As we move towards finalizing the proposal that will establish the OL3C, I’ll be posting snippets of information about the enterprise architecture that we envision.  Here’s the current state of the project overview:

The Open Library for Local Learning Communities (OL3C) is an international partnership of agencies and individuals who are creating a worldwide virtual library to share teaching and learning materials in the Shellbook resource format.   The aim is that any local community of practice or social network, especially those that have been bypassed by mainstream development efforts, may localize life-crucial information in terms of its own language, culture, ethnicity, gender, and/or age group. OL3C will also provide a collaborative environment for the research and development of localization resource standards, tools, and best practices, as well as research into the relationship of localization to language development and integral human development.

See “OL3C Proposal” at the upper right of this page to view key sections from the full proposal.


Training & licensing people, not software March 11, 2010

This is just a quick post in response to a number of queries I’ve had about “how do you license the Shellbook software?”

As many of you know from earlier posts, Life Access Tech is now working with World Vision International, SIL International, and a number of other excellent international development agencies to establish a “global localization network”– the Open Library for Local Learning Communities (OL3C).

The OL3C “business model” is still in process, but one thing is clear:  We will be training and licensing people– who are capable of managing “certified programmes”– rather than just issuing software licenses to anyone with money–  but no training  in the Shellbook localization system.  If you get trained, you’ll be certified… and you can get Shellbook software licenses (for free), for yourself, and as many other people in your programme(s) as you are willing to take responsibility for by training them to our certification standards.

The reason for this is simple:  We are trying to build a global network of “learning communities” with the capacity to localize life-crucial information– in thousands of languages & cultural perspectives.  And the local understanding of this information– and local action based on it!– must be quality-assured.  With that goal in mind, we cannot afford to issue licenses to just anyone who plunks down cash for the software but has no training.

I hope you understand.  We may develop a “consumer-version” of Shellbook in the future  and market it as a simple “booklet maker”.  But, for now, we are focussed on our primary strategy– one  that will help hundreds of millions of people, worldwide, who have precious little– if any!– access to life-crucial information in their own language and cultural perspective.


Language and Education: the missing link February 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — miketrainum @ 2:50 am

An estimated 221 million children begin school in a language they do not use at home. What are the implications for the Education for All project?

In a recent blog post, author of Language and Education: The missing link Helen Pinnock,  states:

When a child speaks one language at home and comes to school to find teachers using a new and unfamiliar language, it can push them out of school completely.  Despite expectations, many children don’t ‘pick up’ a new language beyond a basic level, leaving them unable to cope with lessons.

As well as causing children to drop out, using unfamiliar languages in school can ruin many children’s chances in exams. Children who live in poor rural areas are often the worst affected. There is evidence that when children are denied education because of the language they speak, this contributes to fragility and conflict.

This excellent report from Save the Children and CfBT Education Trust is a ‘must read’ for those who care about some of the most at-risk children on the planet.

Download Language and Education: The missing link (PDF 750KB)


Open Library now open… sort of! February 16, 2010

Filed under: localization,Open Library for Local Learning Communities — miketrainum @ 11:10 am

The Open Library for Local Learning Communities is now open… sort of… at

The current website is still under development and is part of a World Vision localization pilot. At this point, the website is an unfunded proof-of-concept, with only very limited training and support available. Thanks for your patience with our extremely limited staff. The best is yet to come!

The materials available are from World Vision’s recently released Early Childhood Care & Development Toolkit. These include 72 meeting plans for parents of children from pre-natal to 5 years of age. You may browse the website, view and download the PDF versions of all 72 Meeting Plans.

The Shellbook versions of most of the meeting plans are available for download as well, but  Shellbook Player and basic Shellbook training materials will not be available for a few more days.   Once the pilot is funded, we will release Shellbook Maker software and expect to have many other language versions of these (and other!) materials available for reading and download from the Open Library.

Please note that all materials in the Open Library for Local Learning Communities will be provided under the CREATIVE COMMONS Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license.

OL3C is a collaborative environment for sharing teaching and learning resources, worldwide, for localization and sharing by learning communities of all types, regardless of their race, gender, age, creed, or tongue.


Open Library for Local Learning Communities (OL3C) November 25, 2009

Filed under: Open Library for Local Learning Communities — miketrainum @ 11:35 am
Tags: ,

The official name of the Open Library has changed as per the title of this post, so the acronym is now OL3C.  We plan to have a proof-of-concept site up at in January in conjunction with the “World Vision Shellbook Resource Adaptation Prototype-A”.

Apologies for the lack of posts over the past 2 months.  The World Vision and OL3C projects have begun to accelerate and I’ve been working long hours.  I’ll renew my efforts to give an update here at least once per week by Friday.


Open Library for Localized Learning (OL3) September 26, 2009

Filed under: localization,Open Library for Local Learning Communities — miketrainum @ 8:30 am

As a result of my trip to the International Linguistic Center/GIAL, I am pleased to inform you that the Trust is now collaborating with SIL International on the development of an online library for localized teaching and learning materials.

Gary Simons– co-founder of the Open Language Archives Community (OLAC)– will be  the enterprise architect for OL3.  Gary was also instrumental in establishing SIL’s Ethnologue as the basis for ISO 639 codes for language identification.

Our vision for OL3 is for a global center on the web where all those involved in integral human development may come to find 100’s and eventually 1000’s of shells ready for localization.

Resource shells– and those localized in any language– will be archived and accessible in OL3 for:

  • reading online
  • download in a printable (PDF) format
  • download in shell format for further localization by other language communities or social networks, worldwide
  • research & development of the localization process
  • language development and preservation programmes
  • comparative linguistic studies

We plan to design, build and beta-test OL3 in conjunction with World Vision’s Shellbook Resource Adaptation Prototype beginning next month.


Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics Forum September 17, 2009

Filed under: localization,Shellbook Method — miketrainum @ 8:30 am
Tags: ,

I’ll be speaking at the GIAL forum next Tuesday, September 22.  It’s open to the public so if you happen to be in the Dallas, TX, USA area that day, please come by!  Here’s the abstract…

Shellbook Localization and Integral Human Development:
Empowering Communities to Create Their Own Teaching & Learning Materials

In October, World Vision will launch a “Shellbook Resource Adaptation Prototype”.  The ultimate goal is to empower communities in each of their  Area Development Programmes, worldwide, to create their own teaching and learning materials.  The prototype will use the Shellbook knowledge sharing “resource” model and Shellbook technology to fully empower communities to participate in this process.

The reasoning for this approach is simple:

  • Development is not sustainable unless communities participate in the process.
  • Participation must be in the language and cultural perspective of the participants.
  • Therefore, sustainable development is best achieved through a participatory process in which communities are involved in the creation of their own teaching and learning materials.

A “shell” is a principled framework in which expert information is provided to communities as a resource rather than as a finished product.  Within this framework, communities are empowered to apply all of their own knowledge and cultural expertise to create the finished product(s) in their own language, for their own use.

Mike Trainum Bio

After graduate studies at the University of North Dakota and the International Linguistic Center, Mike Trainum and wife Donna served with SIL in Papua New Guinea from 1984-95.  They developed the “shell” book method during their village program among the Qoqwaiyeqwase people in 1989.  The method was adopted for the PNG Elementary (K-2) Reform during which materials were produced in 435 languages– and by thousands of communities within those languages– between 1993-2003.

In 1996 Mike started the Foundation for Indigenous Languages to promote the Shellbook localization method internationally.  In 2002 he founded Shellbook Publishing Systems, LLC to develop technology required for the efficient management of publications localized by diverse social networks in thousands of language communities.  In 2009, the Trainum’s established the Life Access Technology Trust to ensure “access to life-crucial information among communities worldwide in the language that serves them best.”