What can you tell us about the app and how it works?
Something Fishy About Arabic is an IOS based Arabic educational game which can be played at home or in school. Not only does it make Arabic fun, interesting and exciting but it also helps you learn!
Is the app aimed at a certain level of Arabic learner?
It is targeted at children aged 3 to 7 and closely parallels the school curriculum. It has been designed for beginners as well as for parents who can now learn along-side their kids.
The app is divided into three comprehensive modules that are designed to teach, review and reiterate and finally test progress in a manner that makes children 'think about what they have learnt'. The learning modules teach Arabic characters and numbers by combining both visual and phonetic aspects to create a holistic learning experience.
Module 1 - Talking Fish
Talking Fish helps you get started and all you have to do is look, listen and learn! This module focuses on the Arabic Alphabet and Basic Numbers.
The alphabet is centered on 5 main elements:
Letter Forms and Names
Sample Word Pictures
Sample Words in Arabic and
Sample Arabic Words with English Meanings
We believe that these 6 elements are crucial in understanding and learning the Arabic alphabet in its completeness. The numbers from 0 to 10 will introduce you to the forms, names and English equivalents.
Module 2 - Let’s Fish
Let’s fish is a fun fishing game that helps you learn Arabic and revise and review it. Pay close attention to the area that you or your little one needs to revise more. You can choose your game set accordingly. This game is structured around the time frame of learning in school. So you play all year through with the Arabic letter set selection.
Here, you can choose the set that your child has learnt already and play all the games, with just this set. If you feel, your little one needs to focus more on the middle order, just choose that set.
Once, they’ve learnt all the letters, revise by choosing the set with all the letters. Mixed bag of Bait is a game that mixes up all the different game sets and we can assure you, this game will be bags of fun!
Module 3 - Prep the bait
This is our spin on the traditional memory game. Not only does it help you revise and retain what you have learnt, it also triggers and stimulates your memory. You can choose how much of a challenge you want by selecting level 1 or 2 and then the 'easy' or 'challenge' mode.
Level 1 allows you to choose 2 sets to play with and level 2 allows you to select 3 sets. Either ways, we are sure you will of lots of fun and even more learning.
For example: Choose letter names and pictures and match them up or choose arabic meanings and pictures and match them up. Eg: Alif and the picture of a rabbit would form a pair or Arnab and the picture of a rabbit would form a pair. To increase the challenge, try choosing 3 or more sets.
Are there any additional features?
Given the wide choice of games and apps on smart devices, the attention span of a child is very small. Kids also normally expect to have more fun on an ipad than learn. I tried to ensure that the app we created would take care of this by not just making learning fun and exciting through the methodology of game play but also sustaining their interest by including a rewards program and a fun mascot.
Tammy the Octopus is a fun character that we created to help encourage players. She appears throughout game play through her animated responses. Hi-fives and whistles when you do well, a pick me up when you need one and a groan and sob here and there when she’s really disappointed. You can also earn coins at the end of every game that you can use at the “Fish Tail Shoppe” to buy her amazing treats.
We also introduced places that you can go to fish. So the more you play and earn coins, the more you can travel. You can buy trips to Rocky Dew and fish there or go on a boating trip or sit by The Swan Sea Lake Fishing Wharf. It was crucial for us to sustain interest with constant unexpected surprises.
How did you get the idea for the app?
Arabic, for me, presented a great challenge! How was I to help my little girl learn and understand a language that I didn't know. After all, the classroom must extend into the home for learning to be complete. So, Keya and I set out on a mission. To learn together and have the most fun while we did! She loved to fish! So, we made a game where she could fish and learn. I wanted to make Arabic less intimidating. It also wanted it to be fun, exciting and achievable and that’s why I created a methodology that I thought worked best to learn understand and retain the information.
Do you think the app has relevance outside of the classroom?
The app has been designed as a ‘play-alone’ and a ‘play-along-with’. On the one hand, children can play alone in and out of the classroom or they can play and compete with their friends or parents.
The most important thing that I wanted to achieve was parent-child time and that’s why the app focuses on parents learning along-side as well.
Not only does it serve as encouragement to their children but also presents a true and real opportunity to start learning the language and thereafter be involved in Arabic as much as with other subjects.
What else have you got in the pipeline?
While the current app focuses on children aged 3 – 7, we hope to develop the next levels for higher age groups. We are also keen to adapt the resource to other platforms including android, smart boards and smart TVs and classroom kits so that classrooms can be enlivened through play and movement.
Given the crucial need for resources in the classroom, we are also now opening our doors to creating customized solutions for schools. Schools that approach us with a need for creative resources can utilize our services to conceptualize and full develop the resource on a platform that best works for them.
How can educators get the app?
The app is available for download from the iTunes store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/something-fishy-about-arabic/id545241195?mt=8
You can install it on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
It is a paid app but costs just Dhs 17 for all 3 modules.
Maria, thank you for taking the time to talk to us about this excellent new app.
Get in touch with Maria via her Facebook page (which is regularly updated with interesting learning tips and treats.) or via email
FACETIME: Maria Menezes