Technology helps foster love for learning Malay language

SINGAPORE - Putra Irwan, 10, has never climbed a mountain before but now he knows what to say if he scales one and reaches its summit.

"Puncak" - which means peak in Malay - was one of the new words he picked up today after playing with a new Malay language game app.

The app is designed to foster a love for learning Malay in primary and secondary school students through technology.

Putra, a Primary 5 pupil from Lianhua Primary School, said: "It makes learning interesting - the graphics and game play are a new way to learn words."

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The app was among the things featured at the Fiesta Bahasa on Saturday (Aug 12) morning. The annual event, which is now into its third year, aims to help students develop an interest in the language. This year's theme revolves around the use of technology to better teach the Malay language.

For instance, Tembok Kata, or Word Wall, is a Scrabble-like game developed by the Malay Language Learning Promotion Committee (MLLPC), where students earn points by forming Malay words. Their computer opponent forms words as well, and students can tap on any new or unfamiliar words to open up a dictionary to learn the meaning of the word and how to use it.

Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng, who launched the app at the National Library's plaza during the event, said such technology opens up new ways of teaching and learning languages, particularly for Mother Tongue languages.

He said: "Mobile apps provide bite-sized learning - learning that is consumable in smaller bites but still follow a coherent learning path."

The fiesta, which is organised by the Ministry of Education and MLLPC, also showcased information displays and game booths set up by schools, curriculum developers and supporting partners such as the Malay Heritage Centre and National Library Board.

About 600 participants took part in the fiesta this year.