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Apps: Learning Smart

Some people would argue that technology gets in the way of learning. While we agree that too much tech can be a distraction, technology, when utilized properly, can do a great job to help us learn.

In recent years, we have seen the rise of technology dedicated to the advancement of learning. Among those who see the most benefit are children with little to no access to quality education. Smart Communications, seeing the potential in the merging of education and technology to aid instruction and reach children even in isolated communities, continues to make initiatives that would push forward digital education. In 2018, under the #LearnSmart campaign, the network service provider launched a slew of programs that encourage the use of technology to champion efficient learning. Part of this campaign are its recently-launched mother tongue-based apps.

The five literacy apps, namely Bahay Kubo, Kaalam, Taallam and Tahderiyyah, and Matigsalug were developed by Smart in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd), local stakeholders, colleges and universities. These interactive apps were developed to facilitate learning strategies, promote diversity by keeping local language and culture alive, as well as support inclusive education.

Mother-Tongue Based Apps
The Bahay Kubo app teaches Tagalog alphabet and numbers through fun, colorful games and stories. It is a collective effort between Smart and Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Council, an attached agency of the DepEd. This digital learning companion is meant for children aged 2 to 6 years old.

The Kaalam, which is Cebuano for knowledge, features animated folk tales such as Ang Diwata sa Konta and Ang Kwentas ni Ingkco Candido, retold by residents of Argao town in Cebu province. The application was developed in partnership with DepEd Cebu City and Cebu Province, Local Government of Argao, Cebu Technological University – Argao Campus, and University of Cebu-Banilad.

The Ta’allam, to learn in Arabic, was developed specifically for Filipino Muslims by content and multimedia partners such as DepEd General Santos and Sarangani, Local Government unit of Sarangani, Mercy Foundation, Young Moro Professionals, and ACLC College Gensan. Aside from entertaining reading and counting exercises, the app also has Islamic prayers such as Dua, Surah, Salah, Wudhu presented in a way that’s easy to follow.

The first literacy app for the Bangsamoro children, the Tahderiyyah, Arabic for Kindergarten, meanwhile, features stories with Islamic values and expressions on top of Arabic alphabet and number games. Its developing team consists of reps from the Bangsamoro Development Agency, FEU Institute of Technology, and Teach Peace Build Peace Movement.

Smart also developed Matigsalug, the first tribal app of its kind. It showcases songs, dances, and chants from the Matigsalug tribe of Davao and Bukidnon. Through the app, users can learn how to properly pronounce Matigsalug letters and numbers and write them through app-tracing games. It was created in partnership with Matigsalug tribe of Sitio Contract, Datu Salumay, Marilog District in Davao, Pamulaan Center of IP Education, ACLC College Davao and Gensan, and Skeptron Business Solutions.

Smart will also be launching more apps based in the mother tongue this year, including Sanut Ilokano for Ilokano-speaking regions, Gnare Blaan and Tagakaulo for children of Sarangani, and the Singsing Kapampangan app. The mother tongue based apps are available for download on Google Play.

Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE February 2019 Issue.

Words by Mia Carisse Barrientos