Globe Telecom, in partnership with Molave Development Foundation, awarded Team Magtutudlog Bisaya, comprised of Jonie Aranzado-Jumamil, Genesis Lagacan, and Vahn Marty Cagalawan, as the Grand Prize winner of App Challenge Cebu 2016 held last December 13, 2016 at the Cebu City Public Library. The competition was designed to encourage local developers to create educational Android apps that will teach K-3 pupils about reading and writing in Cebuano. The team bested other teams in a live pitch and prototype demonstration to a panel of esteemed judges: Ms. Michelle Tapia, Ms. Bea Lacson, and Ms. Mara Garcia from Globe Telecom; Ms. Irma Saligumba from Molave Development Foundation; Ms. Irene Pilapil from the Department of Education, and Ms. Tina Amper of TechTalks.ph.
“Amazing, we can’t believe it,” Jonie exclaimed when he and his team won PhP 100,000 in the App Challenge. Aside from the cash prize, the team is supported with supervisory guidance and continued mentorship from Globe Telecom, Molave Development Foundation, and IREX through their Beyond Access program as they continue to build their learning app.
While the team, along with their university MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology, celebrates their win, they are also looking forward to developing their learning app further in the next few months to come. The app, which will feature familiar games to Cebuano kids, will be an essential digital tool in teaching kids how to read and write in Cebuano. Education stakeholders present at the Pitch & Awarding, including officials from the University of Cebu, the Mayor’s Office, Department of Education, and the Cebu City Library, have commented on how the app will be a welcome addition to the literacy content for the Cebuano community.
At present, a lot of students have minimal-to-no usable material for in-classroom learning or for self-study especially for fundamental skills like mother tongue literacy in K-3, thus, while they are able to speak and to understand their main language or dialect, their reading and writing abilities are limited.
On the other hand, many teachers all over the country are saddled with additional work on content development to compensate for the lack of available good-quality materials instead of being able to focus on improving student outcomes.
Cebuano is among the pre-identified major Mother Tongues for instruction, according to the Department of Education. The language is the second most widely used language, after Tagalog, and is spoken by 21 million Filipinos.
The app is expected to help address the problem by teaching the half-a-million Cebuano children their native alphabet and helping them build their vocabulary, among other things, through various activities. Learning concepts will focus on colors, numbers, shapes, family members, and/or body parts.
Team MAJA, comprised of Aldrin Navarro, Jay Arnel Bilocura, and Jae Marie Magdadaro, came in as the first runner-up in the App Challenge. Their learning app, when developed, has great potential to be added to the ever-growing body of content for the Cebuano language.
Globe Telecom, along with Manila-based Molave Development Foundation and Washington D.C.-based IREX, are closely invested in enriching education through tools, content and technology that advance basic education in the Philippines. The local developer community is very much alive and thriving, and as highlighted through the promising work of budding developers, has great potential to help shape and transform Philippine education for the better.