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 content 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 believes 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.”