The Government of Norway Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has developed two interesting games for helping refugee children to read and write in their own language.
Some 2.5 million Syrian children have left their homes due to ongoing war. They receive little schooling in refugee centers across Turkey, Jordan and other countries. Teaching them in Arabic is a challenge faced by relief agencies.
Now the, “Antura and The Letters” and “Feed the monster” – two smartphone based literacy games –are helping Syrian children to read. The games have developed through EduApp4Syria competition, aims to develop an app to help Syrian refugee children to read Arabic.
The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs coordinated the release of the games by launching a competition in 2015. The challenge was simple – to develop effective games for informal learning to Syrian refugee kids in their own language.
Professor Alf Inge Wang of computer science department at NTNU, and a jury member of the competition says Smartphones are widespread among Syrian refugees to connect them with their relatives and friends.
The hungry monster and the wild dog
In “Antura wa al Huruf” (Antura and The Letters) children help a shepherd to take care of his living letters in the form of little creatures. The gamers use Shepherd’s dog to catch the hidden letters around the world.
Educational psychologists and teaching experts around the world help to design this game for the children 5 to 10 years. The game covers the whole primary school curriculum with 32 fun games and 255 sessions.
This game was developed by an international team managed by Cologne Game Lab, Wixel Studios and Video Games without Borders, who won the EduApp4Syria competition.
Feed the monster is a simple game for very young children even unaware of basic Arabic knowledge.
In this beginner level game, a monster eats letters and words in all 72 levels. As the monster grows it need more complicated food – the words and letters.
Feed the Monster is a joint venture of Apps Factory, CET – The Center for Educational Technology and IRC- the International Rescue Committee.
Both games are free and can be played offline. Kids are happy with these games during initial tests.
Professor Wang even travelled to Jordan and Turkey to test the potential of the smartphone games .In Jordan, Queen Rania’s Foundation for Education and Development also involved in the project.