Batibot iOS app launched
MANILA, Philippines – The iOS version of the Batibot app was launched on Wednesday, July 5, at an event held at the "Early Night?" in Taguig.
The free app continues the show’s tradition of teaching young Filipino children, this time on iOS devices such as the iPhone and iPad. The Android version was launched in 2015.
Here are some of the things that app users can learn from or do on the app:
- basic learning concepts like matching, sorting and grouping
- tracing letters with proper strokes
- identifying shapes, colors, numbers, and letter sounds
- “Awiting Batibot” feature that enables kids to sing along to Batibot songs
- “Kuwentong Batibot” which contains local stories promoting values
The app features content from Batibot shows taped during its television run, which ended in 2013.
Smart says it’s the only app in the Filipino language that is aligned with the kindergarten curriculum of the Department of Education (DepEd). Smart Communications spearheaded its production, and collaborated with app developer OrangeFix and the Community of Learners Foundation (CLF). CLF is the rights owner of Batibot.
Smart’s public affairs senior manager, Stephanie Orlino, told Rappler how CLF head Feny Bautista eventually agreed to the collaboration. Orlino said Bautista, affectionately called “Teacher Feny,” saw her 2-year-old granddaughter making use of a tablet. The granddaughter was learning through online sources such as YouTube. This development eventually helped Orlino and Smart convince Bautista to bring Batibot to the digital age through an app.
Bautista is among the creators of Batibot, and a consultant for DepEd in developing the kindergarten curriculum for public schools. She was also the original voice and the puppeteer behind the popular Batibot character, "Manang Bola," who made an appearance at the launch along with other classic characters "Ningning" and "Gingging." (WATCH: Batibot's Manang Bola at the Batibot app launch)
Orlino said some talks with Batibot creators began way back in 2013, and finally came to fruition in 2015. The iOS version had always been in their roadmap, said Orlino, and that they hit their target with the 2017 release.
She said that they decided to start with an Android version as Android devices were less costly than iOS devices, and had a larger penetration. There are Android devices that go for a few thousand pesos. iPhones are relatively more expensive than a lot of Android devices.
There was clamor from Filipinos abroad too, she said, to bring the Batibot app to iOS. The children of some of those Filipinos abroad were not learning Filipino, recalled Orlino – an area where the Batibot app could offer help.
On the matter, Smart public affairs head Ramon Isberto said: “Many parents based here and abroad said that their kids had grown up speaking English, and that they wanted their children to be proficient in the Filipino language too. The Batibot app will certainly help them brush up on Filipino in a fun, interactive, way.”
He added, “When you search for educational content online, you’ll find that most of them are in English. There is a need for digital learning content that promotes the Filipino language as well as Filipino values. The Batibot app addresses that need.”
The app is also the first educational app in Filipino that is aligned with the kindergarten curriculum of the DepEd, said Smart.
Another highlight at the launch was Smart’s TechnoCart and School-in-a-Bag programs. These are digital education-oriented aid packages, containing items such as tablets, laptops, mobile Wi-Fi devices and learning modules. The School-in-a-Bag package includes a solar panel for remote areas without electricity. So far, Smart has donated 40 TechnoCarts and 18 School-in-a-Bag units.