FEU stu­dents to de­velop lit­er­acy app for Mus­lim kids

Cebu Daily News - - OPINION - /PR

EARL Hi­lary Marol­lano, a dig­i­tal arts stu­dent at Far Eastern Univer­sity (FEU), faces a daunt­ing task. He and other stu­dents tak­ing up In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy (IT) cour­ses will spend the next few months do­ing la­bo­ri­ous an­i­ma­tion work and soft­ware de­vel­op­ment on top of their usual school work.

But Earl says he is in­spired to work ex­tra hard on this par­tic­u­lar project.

Earl and his peers have been tapped to de­velop a learn­ing app for Mus­lim kids in con­flict-af­fected ar­eas in Min­danao.

The app, which will be aligned with the Tahderiyyah kin­der­garten cur­ricu­lum im­ple­mented in Is­lamic schools, is be­ing de­vel­oped through a part­ner­ship among PLDT wire­less unit Smart Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, the Bangsamoro De­vel­op­ment Agency (BDA) and FEU.

“It’s a big deal to be able to help any­one. What we usu­ally do at school is only for our­selves. This project is for Mus­lim kids af­fected by what’s hap­pen­ing in Min­danao. We are more ded­i­cated and in­spired to work harder be­cause this isn’t just for us; this is for kids who are the fu­ture of this coun­try,” Earl said.

To equip the FEU stu­dents for the tough work ahead, Smart or­ga­nized an­i­ma­tion, sound de­sign, and app de­vel­op­ment work­shops fa­cil­i­tated by ex­perts from OrangeFix and Click Mul­ti­me­dia Stu­dio. The stu­dents will use their new skills to dig­i­tize Tahderiyyah-aligned con- tent be­ing de­vel­oped by the BDA. The app is ex­pected to be launched next year.

“Stud­ies show that the man­aged use of dig­i­tal learn­ing tools and con­tent can im­prove the lit­er­acy skills of chil­dren and heighten their in­ter­est in learn­ing. We hope that the app would help Mus­lim kids in con­flict ar­eas in Min­danao con­tinue and im­prove their ed­u­ca­tion de­spite the many chal­lenges they face,” said Smart Pub­lic Af­fairs Se­nior Man­ager Stephanie Or­lino.

The Tahderiyyah app project is part of Smart’s larger ini­tia­tive to de­velop learn­ing apps in var­i­ous lo­cal lan­guages. Smart’s goal is to en­hance ed­u­ca­tion us­ing mo­bile and dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy.

Hav­ing learned a lot from mul­ti­me­dia tools and con­tent, FEU dig­i­tal an­i­ma­tion stu­dent Pamela Fer­reros be- lieves th­ese are a great way of teach­ing young chil­dren.

“Kids are in­ter­ested in fun things. Let us use that to ed­u­cate them,” she said.

“Be­cause this is for kids, we will make it more cre­ative and an­i­mated. If we can’t com­mu­ni­cate with them us­ing a com­mon lan­guage, we can help them un­der­stand con­cepts vis­ually,” Earl said.

FEU IT pro­fes­sor Gene Jus­tine Rosales said the project would achieve two things. “It helps us in our mis­sion to im­prove the lives of com­mu­ni­ties through mul­ti­me­dia. At the same time, the train­ing helps our stu­dents pre­pare for their fu­ture ca­reers.”

Pamela says the project is a big step for her. “This is a big op­por­tu­nity in my life. I am not just a stu­dent. I can also help other peo­ple.”

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

FEU stu­dents un­dergo var­i­ous train­ings be­fore help­ing de­velop a learn­ing app for young Mus­lims in con­flict-af­fected ar­eas in Min­danao. FEU stu­dents un­dergo var­i­ous train­ings be­fore help­ing de­velop a learn­ing app for young Mus­lims in con­flict-af­fected ar­eas in Min­danao.

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