Smart Keeps local Language and culture alive through mother-tongue based apps

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

Dubbed as 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 Taghderiyyah Arabic apps, and Matigsalug app for the Matigsalug tribe of Davao and Bukidnon.

“Smart believes mobile technology is uniquely positioned to help facilitate learning opportunities, which is why we tailored initiatives to help address the needs of our partner learning communities,” said Ramon R Isberto, PLDT-Smart Public Affairs Group Head.


Alphabet and Numbers games, folk stories



The Kaalam (Cebuano term for ‘Knowledge’) app features stories such as Diwata sa Konta and Ang Kwentas ni Ingko 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, 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 Saragani, local government unit of Saragani, 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, 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 Movement.



Inspired by the iconic 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.


Representing indigenous peoples


The lack of localized educational materials is more evident in indigenous peoples (IP) community, where available learning materials are not contextualized. This is the reason why Smart developed Matigsalug, the first tribal app of its kind that showcases songs, dances and chants from the Matigsalug tribe 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 tribe of Sitio Contract, Datu Salumay, Marilog District in Davao, Pamulaan Center of IP Education. ACLC College of 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 the Ilocano-speaking regions, Gnare Blaan and Tagakaulo for the children of Saragani, and the Singsing Kapampangan app.


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. “From partnerships with government and non-government offices, local government units, companies, acaademe, advocacy groups and media, we all need to work together to help build a nation where no learner is left behind. said Darwin F Flores, Smart Community Partnerships Head.


The mother tongue based apps are available for download on Google Play.


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