Photo - Ms. Lou Yeoh, Executive Director of FrogAsia (left) and Y.B. Tuan P. Kamalanathan, Deputy Minister of Education II (right) giving away the prizes to the winners for lower primary category of The Word Mania Malaysia Challenge 2014.
Organisers FrogAsia, LiteracyPlanet, Yes and YTL Foundation have announced that 70,000 students from 2,000 schools all over Malaysia have been competing in a nationwide online word-building competition called 'Word Mania Challenge' 2014.
According to the organisers, this was Malaysia's largest nationwide online spelling competition yet and also introduced a games approach to English literacy through an interactive virtual learning platform, reaching schools across Peninsular and East Malaysia.
Launched on the 2nd of January this year, the competition included seven categories culminating with 45-minute sessions in which 20 student finalists competed from Lower Primary, Upper Primary, Lower Secondary and Upper Secondary categories.
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.
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.
Camaraderie between teachers and students
FrogAsia executive director, Lou Teoh, said, "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."
Yeoh said 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," she said. "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."
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