Mother tongue-based literacy apps launched

Smart’s School-in-a-Bag, contains a teacher’s laptop, student tablets, a projector, DVD player and pocket Wi-Fi.

As part of its advocacy of harnessing technology for education, PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications (Smart) recently launched its pool of mobile applications that promote literacy in the mother tongue.

The five literacy apps were developed by Smart in partnership with the Department of Education, local stakeholders, colleges and universities

Called “Digital Education for All: No Learner Left Behind,” the event showcased five literacy apps developed by Smart in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd), local stakeholders, colleges and universities. These are the Bahay Kubo Tagalog app, Kaalam Cebuano app, Taallam and Tahderiyyah Arabic apps and Matigsalug app for the Matigsalug tribe of Davao and Bukidnon.

Alphabet and number
games, folk stories
The Kaalam (Cebuano term for “knowledge”) app features folklore stories such as Ang Diwata sa Konta and Ang Kwentas ni Ingkco Candido that were all retold by residents of Argao town in Cebu province. The application was developed in partnership with DepEd Cebu City and Cebu Province, the local government of Argao, Cebu Technological University Argao Campus and University of Cebu Banilad.

The Ta’allam (Arabic term for “to learn”) 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 reading and counting exercises, the app features Islamic prayers such as dua, surah, salah and wudhu.

The first literacy app for the Bangsamoro children, the Tahderiyyah (Arabic term for “kindergarten”) app focuses more on 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.

Inspired by the house that has become a symbol of Filipino culture and tradition, the Bahay Kubo interactive mobile application teaches Tagalog alphabet and numbers and will soon feature fun games and stories. The product is a collective effort between Smart and Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Council, an attached agency of the Department of Education.

indigenous peoples
The lack of localized educational materials is more evident in indigenous peoples (IP) communities, where available learning materials are not contextualized. This is the reason why Smart developed Matigsalug, the first app of its kind that showcases songs, dances and chants from the Matigsalug ethnic groups of Davao and Bukidnon.

With 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 communities of Sitio Contract, Datu Salumay, Marilog District in Davao, Pamulaan Center of IP Education, ACLC College Davao and Gensan and Skeptron Business Solutions.

Aside from these five, Smart intends to launch more literacy apps in 2019. Among those in the pipeline include Sanut Ilokano for Ilokano-speaking regions, Gnare Blaan and Tagakaulo for children of Sarangani and the Singsing Kapampangan app.

Digital portable classrooms
The targeted primary beneficiaries of the literacy apps are students, teachers, and parents of learning communities under Smart’s School-in-a-Bag, a portable digital classroom designed to facilitate learning in basic education. The applications are delivered through the said digital portable classrooms that contain a teacher’s laptop, student tablets, a projector, DVD player and pocket Wi-Fi.

The devices are preloaded with educational content, while schools with no sufficient electricity also receive solar panels. School-in-a-Bag beneficiaries also receive Dynamic Learning Program modules, teacher training courses and regular monitoring and evaluation.

No learner left behind
“Our mission is to develop mother tongue-based apps as interactive tools that can help support learning strategies, as well as help preserve and promote local culture and heritage for the present and future generation,” Isberto explained.

Smart emphasized how strong partnerships with community stakeholders are essential in developing Learn Smart programs.

The mother tongue-based apps are available for download on Google Play. Visit the Smart Communities Facebook page or email to learn more.

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