Gyumri-based software development company Digital Pomegranate developed a gaming platform called 'Playland Armenia' with the support of Gulbenkian Foundation in order to teach Western Armenian to children.
Western Armenian is listed as “endangered languages” by UNESCO and there have been a lot works for protecting Western Armenian in various fields. And there are great efforts in digital world. Developing 'Playland Armenia' with the support of Gulbenkian Foundation in order to teach Western Armenian to children, Gyumri-based software development company Digital Pomegranate made a great contribution. The Children of Armenia Fund (COAF), which is established to support underprivileged children for education and healthcare, also supported this gaming platform, which is one year old now. Though the platform has members from all around the world, Turkey hasn't paid much attention. Company's Communication Coordinator Gayane Ghandilyan spoke to Agos about the success of the platform.
Armenian with games
Stating that, as Digital Pomegranate, they tried to improve communication, comparison, selection and problem solving skills of children, Ghandilyan said that they developed an up-to-date game which would teach Armenian to children while improving those skills: “We know how difficult to preserve Armenian language and culture for Armenians who live outside Armenia. With over 15 games, which is available both in Western and Eastern Armenian, we want to make it a bit easier. Our purpose is to teach Armenian culture and language in an entertaining way. In our platform, there are sound animation for pronunciation of letters, puzzles, spelling and fill-in-the-blanks games. Also, there are games like chess and tetris for the ones who only want to have fun. We also try to improve listening skills of children with stories and cartoons. The language is the carrier of the culture, but traditional professions are also important. Thus, on the cultural level of the platform, carpet weaving is introduced in a detailed way.”
“Gadoos” from all around the world
Playland Armenia enables children from various countries like the US, Canada, Russia, Lebanon communicating each other. The platform provides the greatest security levels. The children are not allowed to publish any personal information, photos and chat function is controlled. Instead they are presented as “Gadoos” (cat in Armenian). Stating that the application enable children to use language instead of making them memorize, Ghandilyan also talked about their works on written sources: “Written sources are as important as speaking for a language; so, we also publish study books. We prepared them in Eastern Armenian, but we ready to produce them in Western Armenian as well, if people demand.”
In the platform, children gain coins by learning Armenian and they can "purchase" styles of clothes, decorate the house, send postcards and invite the friend cats to play together by those coins. Ghandilyan said that the system has other functions: “Parents can also register. There are chapters intended for parents in our books. We provide them a lot of tools for making the process of learning more entertaining and interactive. We offer suggestions to the parents of children, whose native language is not Armenian.”