Madar Al-Huruf (“The Wheel of Arabic Letters”) was one of 40 UN-based World Summit Award winners awarded for world’s best practices in digital innovation
QATAR / SALZBURG – March 23, 2017: The World Summit Award (WSA) has announced its 40 mobile innovation winners, which were selected from 451 global nominations. Qatar Foundation International (QFI) is pleased to have its open education application, Madar Al-Huruf, selected as one of the winners.
Madar Al-Huruf is a valuable language tool and mobile app that introduces users to the Arabic alphabet. Anyone who is unfamiliar with the Arabic alphabet can write his or her name by matching English letters and sounds to their Arabic phonetic counterparts. The wheel has been used to connect students all over the world with the Arabic language.
The first iteration of Madar Al-Huruf was a physical wheel, created and designed by VCU Qatar graduate, Muneera Al-Badi, for QFI’s Arabic language and culture program. Al-Badi also developed a user guide and worked closely with U.S.-based Arabic teachers in Washington, D.C., and Tucson, AZ to finalize the wheel’s design.
“When I thought about students learning Arabic, I felt that creating a tool to help them write their names would assist teachers in connecting them to the new language since a person’s name is his or her identity. I then began working on Madar Al-Huruf, with QFI’s support,” said Muneera Al-Badi, Madar Al-Huruf Designer. “It is my first design to be patented. As a Qatari, I’m proud to have designed an educational tool that helps spread my native language.”
Due to the success and demand of the physical Arabic wheel, QFI worked with Al-Badi and partnered with Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) to adapt the design into an iOS and Android compatible application. Designed to accommodate both novice and expert users, the app now includes sound so beginners can verbalize Arabic alphabet. Additionally, the app also lets users customize and share their name in Arabic through social media.