Shaking up classrooms with 'Word Mania Challenge'
KUALA LUMPUR, 27th March 2014
Online Word Building Game Proves Effective In Improving English Literacy
For the past two months, 70,000 students from 2,000 schools all over the country have been battling it out in a nationwide online word-building competition. The ‘Word Mania Challenge’ 2014 is Malaysia’s largest nationwide online spelling competition that introduces a fun element to English literacy through an interactive virtual learning platform, reaching schools across Peninsular and East Malaysia. It is a joint effort between FrogAsia, Yes, YTL Foundation and LiteracyPlanet.
Opened to both primary and secondary students, the Challenge required them to create as many words as possible in 3 minutes from a pre-set list of letters. The champions were announced at the Grand Finals today and prizes were given out by the Deputy Minister of Education II, Y.B. Tuan P. Kalamanathan at the awards ceremony. The competition was held at the Majestic Hotel in Kuala Lumpur.
20 student finalists competed in 45-minute sessions with separate categories for Lower Primary, Upper Primary, Lower Secondary and Upper Secondary. School winners for the Top 3 Scoring Primary Schools, Top 3 Scoring Secondary Schools, and the Most Participative School from each of the five regions across Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak were also announced.
Launched on the 2nd of January 2014, the competition saw students vying for the top spots for each of the seven categories. Amazing prizes worth up to RM 1 million in total such as Samsung 4G Chromebooks, Yes 4G devices, FrogStore vouchers and LiteracyPlanet subscriptions for every student in the winning schools made the Grand Finals a thrilling event.
In a short two months, the ’Word Mania Challenge’ saw 1,618,550 games played nationwide, 35,000,000 words spelled, 2,760 supportive teachers, 70,000 student participants and 2,000 schools involved.
All of this was achieved with only minimal publicity through social media, demonstrating the power of the Internet to make learning content such as the Word Mania game go viral. “The competition has established a greater sense of camaraderie between teachers and students as they worked together to vie for a place among the leading schools. It has been so encouraging to see such a variety of schools participating in the competition, including 118 schools in East Malaysia. The Internet access provided through the 1BestariNet project has enabled schools across the country regardless of location to have an equal chance in participating in competitions such as this,” said Lou Yeoh, FrogAsia’s Executive Director.
A fine example of how the ‘Word Mania Challenge’ has changed students’ perception of learning English is the story of Muhammad Qasri Hakim Bin Hj Khairul Anwar from SMK Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur. Coming from a single-parent family with limited Internet connectivity at home, he stayed back after school for hours, and at times resorted to borrowing a Yes 4G Dongle from his teacher, Puan Nadila Mohd Yusoff, to play the Challenge at home. “I never thought that learning English could be so fun and exciting. The interactive activities made me want to learn more everyday. I was determined to make a name for myself and my school by joining this Challenge.”
Teachers from participating schools also felt that the Challenge made an impact on their students. They hope to see more initiatives like the ’Word Mania Challenge’ in the near future. Pn. Hjh Halimah Bt Hj Abd Hamid from SMK Datuk Panglima Abdullah in Sabah, said, “I have never seen my students so interested in learning English. The Internet made lessons not only engaging and interesting but also addressed each student’s learning needs. I highly encourage other teachers to use the ‘Word Mania Challenge’ in their classes.”
Online competitions such as the ‘Word Mania Challenge’ can positively complement educational initiatives. It is evident from this Challenge that online learning can significantly impact the language learning experience of students.
Malaysia is the first country in the world to bring its entire education community together on a single converged platform designed specifically to meet the needs of teaching and learning. Through the 1BestariNet project, students have access to a personalised learning experience regardless of their levels of learning. Certainly, Malaysia stands out as a model of Internet education for the world.
“It is heartening to see the fantastic response to this competition. What delighted us was that more than 6,000 students continued to register for the competition after the closing date.
This demonstrates the power of using the Internet as a way to capture digital natives and develop in them a keen interest to learn. They were not participating just for the sake of winning but because they obviously heard from their friends how interesting, helpful and fun the online word building game is for improving their competency in the English language.
“We are indeed excited at this overwhelming response and look forward to reaching out to more schools and many more students in the future through innovative ways made possible by the Internet,” added Yeoh, For more information, visit www.frogasia.com/wordmania
FrogAsia, a YTL company, is the first company in the world to connect an entire nation through a single, cloud-based learning platform. Beyond just implementing technology,FrogAsia provides solutions focused on harnessing the Internet to transform education in a meaningful way. Its virtual learning environment (VLE), Frog, developed by sister company Frogtrade in the UK, is simple, fun, and engaging – which is why schools all around the world have made Frog their platform of choice. Frogtrade was named ICT Company of the Year at the 2013 BETT Awards in the UK.
FrogAsia aims to educate and inspire people to learn and discover beyond the boundaries of the classroom by doing, giving and being involved in activities that lead to academic learning, leadership growth and community development by using technology and the Internet as a force for good.
From more information, please visit www.frogasia.com.
LiteracyPlanet is an online learning app designed to improve students’ English language skills through fun, educational games and activities. LiteracyPlanet enables parents and educators to harness the power of rich digital media to enhance language skills and build confidence in students. Created by Intrepica Pty Ltd, Australia, the app includes curriculum from pre-school right up to upper secondary school. Lessons are catered to the individual needs of specific students and involves challenging tasks that can target areas requiring improvement.
For more information, please visit www.literacyplanet.com.
Yes, a brand under YTL Communications (793634-V), offers the fastest 4G mobile Internet with voice. Winner of Broadband InfoVision Awards under the ‘Best New Service’ category in 2011 and the ‘Best Broadband Cloud’ category in 2013, Frost & Sullivan’s ‘Most Innovative Service Provider of the Year 2012’ and ‘Most Promising Telecom Service Provider of the Year 2013’ as well as Telecoms.com’s “Best Enterprise Cloud Offering” Industry Award in 2014, Yes is a global frontrunner in mobile 4G and is the first mobile operator in Malaysia to bring the worlds of mobile Internet and voice together in one plan.
Yes offers among the lowest mobile rates in the market and currently covers over 85% of the population in Peninsular Malaysia with on-going network expansions in East Malaysia.
With a robust 4G network as its backbone and a fully-converged mobile service, Yes is one of the most advanced wireless networks in the world.
For more information, please visit www.yes.my.
Through the 1BestariNet project, FrogAsia is bringing the future of education to every student, teacher and parent in Malaysia. Combining high-speed 4G Internet access, a world class learning platform and access to ‘best-in-class’ resources and technology, Malaysia is the first country in the world to bring its entire education community together on a single converged network designed specifically to meet the needs of teaching and learning. For the first time in Malaysia, every child will have access to world-standard learning tools. An excellent education should be the right of every child. Now it can be.
For more information, please visit www.1bestarinet.net.
About YTL Foundation
YTL Foundation was established with the objective of developing and improving education in Malaysia. This includes offering scholarships and financial support to deserving individuals to enable them to achieve their full potential and supporting programmes in schools and other institutions that encourage innovation and transformation in education.
For more information, please visit www.ytlfoundation.org.