Free bilingual mobile application for children “THE GUARDIAN OF THE SEA” Encouraging environmental education and early language learning

Morigenos – the Slovenian Society for Marine Mammals in cooperation with MINI POLIGLOTINI created a bilingual mobile app for early language learning with educational content on protecting the seas and marine animals. It is a free application for mobile phones or tablets with the Android system and is available on Google Play.

The application consists of the fairytale The Guardian of the Sea concerning the incredible experience of a boy named Oti and his marine friends – a seal, a turtle, a whale, and dolphin, and an educational part in which children learn about the species that appear in the fairytale. The story takes place on the islands of Hawaii, which are extremely rich in natural and cultural heritage, yet at the same time very much threatened by the negative impact of human activity.

The purpose of the app is to use the fairytale to raise children’s awareness of the threats to marine mammals and how we can help them. The app also promotes the importance of protecting nature generally. In addition, the application allows children to become familiar or even learn a foreign language as the content can be read and listened to in both Slovenian and English. The narrations were all recorded by native speakers.

The app is currently available in the Slovenian and English languages, although in the future it will also be available in other world languages. The multilingual content allows intercultural cooperation and raising public awareness about the importance of nature protection and early language learning. This can create opportunities for future international projects between children or between environmental organizations from different countries and cultural backgrounds. The app is also intended for preschool children and children in the first three grades of primary school in Slovenia, as well as neighboring countries and beyond.

The project is partly financially supported by the U.S. Embassy Ljubljana, Slovenia, with the NGO Small Grants Program. The idea for the app was envisaged by Mojca Stubelj Ars, PhD in Environmental Science, that creates multilingual books and applications for children to bring them closer to nature protection. Mojca carried out a part of her PhD thesis in Hawaii, where she was fascinated by marine animals, and thus created the fairytale Guardian of the Sea. The illustrations were created by the renowned Slovenian illustrator and academically trained painter Polona Lovšin, while the app was developed by the Slovenian group Proxima.

The mobile app is available for free in the hope of reaching as many users who will understand the importance of protecting the seas, wildlife, and nature through the app’s contents. It is currently available for the Android system and will soon also be available in the Apple Store.