Dubai, UAE, April 3, 2016: A new mobile edutainment application that aims to help children understand and engage with environmental sustainability has recently been launched by a pair of engineering students from Canadian University Dubai, in collaboration with the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA).
Pedram Parvaz, a member of the University's innovation community, Lighten Up, along with his friend Bezhan Odinaev, came up with the idea for the game-based app, DEWA RUN, in response to last year's DEWA App Master contest.
The competition called upon university students to develop a smart, entertaining application for seven-year-olds and older, to help instill environmental values and promote a culture of rational energy and water use, in a fun and engaging way. The pair went on to take fifth place in the competition, winning AED10,000 from DEWA to help further develop the app.
Pedram explained, “It was quite a challenge to create and develop a concept that was both educational and entertaining in just one month. The idea we came up with involves players helping to keep their city clean by running as fast as possible, collecting water drops and trash along the way, while dodging different obstacles. The aim is to teach children to conserve water and energy and to illustrate the impact this would have on our environment.”
After some fine-tuning with the support of the DEWA marketing team, the app was unveiled during last year's GITEX Technology exhibition, and was officially launched to app stores for public download earlier this month.
Finding the time to develop the app was a challenge for Pedram, who also works alongside his studies, but he was determined to take part and contribute to the campaign. He revealed, “Bezhan and I could only work during the weekends; we would start a Skype call at 10am and before we knew it, it was dark outside and we were still working on something we started early in the morning.”
Nevertheless, it was a rewarding experience from which they both learnt a great deal. Pedram concluded, “I managed to learn the basics of the new Apple programming language, SWIFT. Aside from that, I believe the biggest achievement for me in this project was all the things I learned that are now helping me in my professional life – teamwork, being resourceful, time and project management to name a few.”
Pedram and Bezhan are now hoping that children across the UAE and beyond will be learning valuable lessons from their creation, and in turn, contributing to positive actions for environmental sustainability.