Digital spelling app ready for kick-off

SHARPENING spelling ability by "shooting" hoops and "kicking" letters into a soccer goal are part of iSpell, a digital spelling app.

Created by education technology firm iQ-hub, the app is part of the RHB-The Straits Times National Spelling Championship.

In the three games, players must spell words within a time limit to advance through three difficulty levels.

In a preview of one game at the launch, teams from Tampines North and Yu Neng primary schools played a friendly spell-off. They had to "kick" soccer balls with corresponding letters to spell out six audio words, timing the "kicks" to get past animated monkeys trying to block the shots.

Using Samsung Galaxy tablets, they attempted words such as "hygiene", "zoology" and "monstrous", but like their spelling, their aim had to be accurate to get past the simian goalies. A live video feed of the gameplay was broadcast on-screen.

iSpell will be available for download by Jan 31 and top scorers on the game's leaderboard will be invited to compete at a fringe event in the finals.

Judging by the cheering of pupils in the audience, the game was a hit. Yu Neng Primary 6 pupil Hamka Dzulkarnain, 12, said: "The game makes more children want to learn how to spell."

Ms Serene Goh, The Straits Times Schools editor, said: "We wanted to give kids who are not part of the main event a chance to join in the fun. Plus they get to improve their spelling too."

Mr David Topolewski, 50, chief executive officer of iQ-hub, said: "Playing games is part of our nature. When children are motivated, they learn much better. Kids will take the initiative - they want to improve their game scores, so they pursue learning."

SHERYL QUEK

For updates on the Big Spell and details about iSpell, head to www.straitstimes.com/bigspell