Delivering training to volunteers is a huge challenge for non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Traditional classroom-based approaches that dominate training are problematic due to the limited participation they offer to trainees. Peer-led approaches however, have shown promise in helping NGOs utilise trainee experiences within training. Although technologies are playing an increasing role in training, their benefits are not well understood. We describe our experience of designing peer-led training for community volunteers in rural India. Working alongside an NGO involved in community regeneration and social action, we collaboratively delivered a ten-day training workshop, deploying audio technologies to engage the participants in sharing lived experiences. We draw on reflections from trainers and trainees on how utilising participant voice can enhance training. We highlight opportunities around the usage of audio technologies for engaging with participant voice, including the ability to reclaim trainee agency within training and to work within cultural barriers.
Employee voice and workplace democracy have a positive impact on employee wellbeing and the performance of organizations. In this paper, we conducted interviews with employees to identify facilitators and inhibitors for voice within the workplace and a corresponding set of appropriate qualities: Civility, Validity, Safety and Egalitarianism. We then operationalised these qualities as a set of design goals – Assured Anonymity, Constructive Moderation, Adequate Slowness and Controlled Access – in the design and development of a secure anonymous employee voice system. Our novel take on the Enterprise Social Network aims to foster good citizenship whilst also promoting frank yet constructive discussion. We reflect on a two-week deployment of our system, the diverse range of candid discussions that emerged around important workplace issues and the potential for change within the host organization. We conclude by reflecting on the ways in which our approach shaped discourse and supported the creation of a trusted environment for employee voice.
The integration of text-to-speech into an open technology stack for low-power FM community radio stations is an opportunity to automate laborious processes and increase accessibility to information in remote communities. However, there are open questions as to the perceived contrast of synthetic voices with the local and intimate format of community radio. This paper presents an exploratory focus group on the topic, followed by a thematic analysis of public comments on YouTube videos of the synthetic voices used for broadcasting by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio. We find that despite observed reservations about the suitability of TTS for radio, there is significant evidence of anthropomorphism, nostalgia and emotional connection in relation to these voices. Additionally, introduction of a more "human sounding" synthetic voice elicited significant negative feedback. We identify pronunciation, speed, suitability to content and acknowledgment of limitations as more relevant factors in listeners' stated sense of connection.
The modulation of voice properties, such as pitch, volume, and speed, is crucial for delivering a successful public speech. However, it is challenging to master different voice modulation skills. Though many guidelines are available, they are often not practical enough to be applied in different public speaking situations, especially for novice speakers. We present VoiceCoach, an interactive evidence-based approach to facilitate the effective training of voice modulation skills. Specifically, we have analyzed the voice modulation skills from 2623 high-quality speeches (i.e., TED Talks) and use them as the benchmark dataset. Given a voice input, VoiceCoach automatically recommends good voice modulation examples from the dataset based on the similarity of both sentence structures and voice modulation skills. Immediate and quantitative visual feedback is provided to guide further improvement. The expert interviews and the user study provide support for the effectiveness and usability of VoiceCoach.
Access to literacy is critical to children's futures, but formal education may be insufficient for fostering early literacy, especially in low-resource contexts. Educational technologies used at home may be able to help, but it is unclear whether or how children (and families) will use such technologies at home in rural communities, particularly in low-literate families. In this paper, we investigate these questions with a voice-based literacy technology deployed with families in 8 rural communities in Côte d'Ivoire for 4 months. We use interviews and observations with 37 families to investigate motivations, methods, and barriers for rural families' engagement with a literacy technology accessible via feature phones. We contribute insights into how families view digital literacy as a learning goal, leverage networks of supporters, and over time, transition from explicit to implicit support for children's learning.