-Aide et Action, Cambodia-
Currently, smartphones and tablets are very popular for Cambodian people since their prices are more reasonable and access to the internet and social media continues to improve.
Despite this, these materials are mainly used for communication and entertainment. Although there is no specific research, it is likely that the users of smartphones and tablets spend most of their time on information exchange related their daily life via Facebook and YouTube. On the other hand, these materials are used by parents to play with their small children because of the many entertainment programs, even though the use of screens at an early age, can slow down cognitive development for young children.
Aide et Action in close cooperation with the ministry of Education, has recently developed a new application, Khmer Rean An, to convert smartphones and tablets into tools to improve reading and learning for children in preschool and primary school. This is an application that allows users, and especially small children, to read, write and pronounce correctly basic Khmer words. “There are lots of educational programs that can be used on smartphones and tablets, but most are in foreign languages. This can cause problems for children as if they are still having problems learning their native language. Additionally, they cannot perform well in school and their communication with friends, family and local communities cannot progress. With audiovisual programs in their mother tongue, this new application can solve these problems and the children can strengthen their knowledge”, said Mr. Ronald Nhim, in charge of ITC project for Aide et Action.
Educational songs and games have already been downloaded with this application. Aide et Action with its partners is currently producing more educational content to attract more children to read and learn. Demonstrations at exhibitions have been organized to inform the public, and especially the parents, so they can download and use the application in their smartphones. “I am impressed by the reading program in this application. My son really enjoys the educational songs and games, so it is easier for me to teach him to read”, said Sreyna, the mother of a grade 1 child during the exhibition.