Students from the Henry and Marilyn Taub Faculty of Computer Science at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology recently developed an app for the Madrasa Project to help people learn Arabic.

Madrasa is a free-to-use resource that advocates for better communication in Israeli society through spoken Arabic courses. There are currently more than 100,000 students enrolled in Madrasa courses. Yet until now, the Madrasa Project did not have an app.

According to Gilad Sevitt, founder and director of Madrasa, “During our seven years of operations, we have seen the need for people to practice their speaking proficiency while learning, while hearing the same question from students over and over again: ‘What about an app?’”

Madrasa partnered with Technion students Noor Hamdan, Rina Atieh, Lina Mansour, and Wadad Boulos from Professor Alex Bronstein’s Industrial Projects course to create the app. The app will upgrade the students’ learning experience, provide alerts, and serve as the basis for many other developments, such as mobile games and more.

Students Mahmod Yaseen and Rajeh Ayashe developed an effective infrastructure for bots to have conversations with students within the app. The bot creates a conversation in spoken Arabic and teaches students to pronounce words and have conversations on various topics. The conversations are written by Madrasa’s pedagogical team, and the students developed an editor that directs the level of conversation and content according to the knowledge gained by each student in the online courses.

The app is expected to be released on Beta in the coming months, and IBM has already taken interest in the technology.

“With the help of Technion students, we were able to develop a voice recognition component that will finally allow tens of thousands of students in our online courses to practice their pronunciation in Arabic and speak while learning,” Sevitt said. “The component will be integrated as soon as possible in the courses alongside all videos, games, and exercises, and will be a kind of conversation bot through which students can practice their proficiency of spoken Arabic.”