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Gadgets & Home Improvement

An app for zoo visitors, thanks to students

Education@Zoo, available since March 7, has been downloaded more than 6,000 times
The Straits Times - March 15, 2012
By: Leslie Kay Lim
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An app for zoo visitors, thanks to students -- ST PHOTO: JOSEPH NAIR

STUDENTS have come up with a free mobile application for iPhones and iPads to help visitors get the most out of the Singapore Zoo.

It features information and videos on more than 80 animals, plus an interactive map linked to a satellite navigation system. Those who want to learn more can take a quiz or access an e-newsletter.

Teenagers from Fajar Secondary School put in months of research to produce content about the animals, while the programming was carried out by information technology students from Nanyang Polytechnic.

Education@Zoo, available since March 7, has been downloaded more than 6,000 times and is this month's No. 1 new featured education app in the Singapore iTunes store.

Fajar Secondary's head of science Mohamed Faizal, 32, said the project not only helped students learn about ecology and conservation, but also let them enjoy the digital fruits of their labour.

'Knowing that their research is being used for a final product that not only benefits them but everybody... They find a purpose in doing the lessons,' he said.

The project began in December 2010, and was funded by a Ministry of Education grant which helped provide iPads and iPhones.

Forty pupils from MacPherson Primary School were invited to complete a circuit of the zoo yesterday using the app. Primary 4 pupil Wang Jun Bo, a frequent visitor to the zoo, said: 'The app is quite easy (to use) and you can find your way around... I'm going to download it when I get home.'

Adopting new platforms for education is a good way to appeal to a technology-savvy generation, said Wildlife Reserves Singapore director of education Lok May Kuen, 50.




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