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Coinciding with UN Arabic Language Day observed on Dec.18, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives announced the launch of Arabic language lessons on Madrasa e-learning platform.
Fifty million Arab students from kindergarten to grade 12 will have access to free online Arabic language educational content, which will add up to 1,000 videos by end of 2020.
The Arabic language lessons, produced in interactive high-tech videos, facilitates learning among students and non-Arabic speakers.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai,took to the twitter to announce the launch.
"On the occasion of the International Day of the Arabic Language, we launch an integrated curriculum for the Arabic language through a school site that includes 1000 educational videos for all levels of education," tweeted Sheikh Mohammed.
Sheikh Mohammed launched Madrasa (www.madrasa.org) in 2018 to provides 5,000 free Arabised videos in general science, math, biology, chemistry and physics to 50 million Arab students from kindergarten to grade 12.
Madrasa e-learning platform, which exceeded two million subscribers and drew an average of 6,000 new users daily in its first year, will provide Arabic language videos through four phases.
Basic Arabic lessons will be provided in the first phase, moving to Arabic educational material for primary school students in the second phase that will produce 25 per cent of the new content.
The third phase covers 50 per cent of the content, leading up to the last phase that will see 1,000 Arabic language videos for students from kindergarten to grade 12.
Madrasa currently records an average of 15,000 daily views.
Need for Arabic educational content
Figures show that low presence of Arabic digital content relative to the number of Arabic internet users. According to reports, Arabic was the fourth most used language on the internet after English, Chinese and Spanish.
The Arabic language represented 5.2 per cent of the population. Yet, the digital Arabic content form only 0.6 per cent of the internet, ranking the 17th globally.
Comprehensive educational project
Arabic educational content on Madrasa was originally produced in coordination with a committee of specialized academic experts, teachers and professors from Zayed University and the Ministry of Education.
Madrasa team developed the original content from the research and writing process in coordination with specialized video editors, producers and tier A voiceover artists.
The comprehensive online Arabic educational content was developed in line with accredited school curricula across the Arab world to cover all aspects related to the language from grammar, reading and comprehension to speech and writing skills.
The lessons aim to support Arab students and non-Arabic speakers in mastering different linguistic skills and cater to different school age groups. Every video is followed by a group of questions to evaluate the student’s understanding of the material. The educational material is equipped with demonstrative examples and exercises.
The Arabic language lessons on Madrasa e-learning platform are categorized into two sections of 800 educational videos and 200 statically animated stories, totaling to 1,000 videos mapped with learning outcomes. The animated stories mainly address kindergarten and primary school students through engaging and creative content.
The Arabic lessons on Madrasa platform focus on four unique features: applying modern and innovative technology to create engaging Arabic content that help promote and encourage the language use among the young generation; adopting a simple language that meets the needs of the young generation and responds to different age groups; generating high quality and accredited content in coordination with a group of experts and academics; and providing more than 1,000 Arabic language videos to students from kindergarten to grade 12.
Dr. Waleed Al Ali, director of Madrasa e-learning platform, said “the Arabic language lessons are valuable addition to over 5,000 educational videos in math and science to students across all school grades.”
He added that the new content reflects the progress of Madrasa e-learning platform from providing Arabised lessons to creating original content. Madrasa was the outcome of the Translation Challenge that produced 5,000 videos and translated 11 million words of educational content in math and science.
“Now, we have created modern and innovative content with our mother tongue,” he referred to the 1,000 Arabic videos scheduled to go live next year.
Al Ali noted that the online educational Arabic content provides a comprehensive roadmap for students from kindergarten to grade 12.
“The Arabic language videos will cover listening, speaking and writing lessons, besides the grammar, poetry, comprehension and dictation in simple and engaging manner that will support students, teachers and parents.”
He added that the new content improves the student learning experience and complements school curricula through implementing interactive technology.
“Online contests also promote self-learning and encourage the exploration of the Arabic language. Through Madrasa, we aim to empower a generation capable of generating Arabic content to contribute to the overall knowledge in the Arab world.”
On future plans, Al Ali noted that the platform will include online educational content in computer science, engineering, programming, artificial intelligence, and space science.
Sharifa Al Moussa, director of Learning Resources & Educational Solutions Department at the Ministry of Education, said the ultimate goal of Madrasa e-learning platform is to encourage learning, spark curiosity and promote self-learning, as well as support the educational institutions and teachers across the Arab world with high-quality innovative content that complements school curricula and improves learning outcomes.
Dr Hanada Taha, Endowed Professor of Arabic Language at Zayed University, said the new content on Madrasa will inspire millions of students around the world to learn Arabic.
“The technology and diversity implemented in the new content to cater to different ages will enrich the Arabic learning experience,” she said.
Madrasa e-learning platform has recently adopted the “gamification in education” approach to motivate self-learning, promote healthy competition and build interactive skills through combining entertainment with education.
11 million words
Madrasa e-learning platform is the outcome of the Translation Challenge announced in 2017, calling for researchers, and professionals in the Arab World to translate, design and produce 5,000 videos and 11 million words of educational content in math and science into Arabic.
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