Nahdet Misr develops AI-powered ‘Al Adwaa’ educational app

Mohamed Alaa El-Din
10 Min Read

The Nahdet Misr Publishing House will launch a smart artificial intelligence-based (AI) application for the educational series “Al Adwaa”, 53 years after its first launch in hard-copy form.

The book’s shift to a digital platform is to keep pace with Egypt’s recent focus on digital transformation and integrating a digitalised approach to educational technology.

The development was not a coincidence, according to the publishing house’s Chairperson Dalia Ibrahim, who noted that over the past 20 years, the foundation has been working to cope with the latest technological developments. This started with the launch of CDs for the book in 1998, which was followed by a website, with the AI-based app is the book’s latest incarnation.

Ibrahim added that, in the past academic year, the website witnessed a 79% increase in traffic due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the dependence on remote education methods.

Ibrahim sat down with Daily News Egypt and reflected on the nature of digital transformation in education, and what this has meant for the company.

What opportunities does the digital transformation in education present to the company?

Distance education through various means of technology and digital transformation in the field of education is not an option, but rather a reality that the world is experiencing now. This is the direction in which Egypt is heading, especially after the circumstances of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

As for the next academic year, I see that the Ministry of Education is making every effort to reach the appropriate solutions to ensure the safety and security of students. This is especially important since the pre-university education system has nearly 22 million students across different educational years. For this, all possibilities are presented in the form of study for the new academic year, so the ministry will rely on modern technology in the learning process.

In general, e-learning is indispensable as it offers the student several advantages, the most important of which are:

– A variety of learning resources to provide students with a high-quality education suited to different learning styles and capabilities.

– Varied content that matches the different abilities and skills of each student.

– AI technology that enables and supports the concept of “personal experience in learning”.

– Learning need not be confined to school and instilling the concept of continuous development.

It also means using motivation in the teaching process and then creating an enjoyable educational experience for the student, through which they can interact more with the educational material. At the same time this upgraded teaching method will provide modern means of communication for the student with friends and teachers.

Will Al Adwaa stop printing hard copies as it moves towards digital transformation?

Digital development in Al Adwaa will not affect the printed product, as there are multiple methods of learning that benefit different types of student, with ways of learning different from one student to another. These include learning by watching, listening, touching, and writing.

For more than 20 years, the Foundation has been working to keep pace with technological development, starting with the launch of the CDs in 1998, through the launch of a website, and recently the launch of an application based on artificial intelligence technology.

We believe that blended learning and the combination of a paper book and educational technology provides the student with an integrated learning experience. Also, the prevailing idea globally now is the multiplicity of sources and learning methods, which we provide through the integrated lights series services. This also prompted us to introduce the smart code feature for the first time in Egypt, which links the printed book with the application.

Has Nahdet Misr reduced printed copies of Al Adwaa by virtue of the digital solutions, especially with the high costs of printing?

No, we did not reduce the number, as we believe in the importance of blended education. The student needs different educational resources to live an integrated educational experience.

Will the Al Adwaa app replace books?

No, the application will not replace the book, but it works to present a new model that links printed books and digital content to obtain an integrated educational experience for the first time in Egypt.

Al Adwaa provides a printed book and an application, in addition to the educational site, to enable the student to benefit from various features that help him in the learning journey. It also helps the teacher and the parent to track the performance of their children and intervene to raise their level.

Has the pandemic contributed to the growth in demand for digital services?

Of course, this year the world witnessed a great demand for digital education, which was also witnessed by Al Adwaa. The number of the book’s website users  increased during this period by 79% compared to the same period last year, especially since we produced a large number of videos in that period to explain lessons and to support high school students. We also produced videos for final reviews to help students in this difficult period, which achieved good viewing numbers and entries onto the Al Adwaa educational website.

Do the students prefer using digital services? If yes, has this affected the publication’s sales?

Yes, there are a large number of students who prefer to use digital services, but our sales have not been affected because we offer educational solutions that complement each other. Also, our solutions are not only for the student, but for parents and teachers as well. The printed content and digital content have been developed to serve different learning and understanding styles for each student.

What role does AI play in the new application?

The application depends mainly on the use of AI technology, which supports the concept of “personal experience in education”, and which is the most important global concept now in the field of education. It depends mainly on the idea of different students’ abilities and different ways of understanding and comprehending the educational material. Hence, AI is used to create an individual experience for each student and then make the most of it.

The application contains a number of characteristics that depend on AI, including the “smart study plan” feature that helps the student organise their studies to achieve better results with less effort. It also provides reports on his achievement rate to ensure that their performance is in line with the ministerial curriculum schedule.

The application also provides more than 11,000 educational videos that help the student to understand the educational material. The application also provides additional educational materials related to the student’s lessons from many international sources, and nominates them as an auxiliary material, which saves the student’s time in research and the effort to obtain the educational material. This is in addition to the question bank feature, which includes nearly 500,000 questions, and many examinations and interactive evaluation methods. The latter easily identify the weaknesses of each student, to help them work on strengthening the areas they need, and based on the analysis of the student’s information and level, the application creates reviews for each student separately.

This is in addition to the presence of a number of smart programmes that analyse the student’s level, and nominate what the needs in terms of explanation, reviews, and examinations commensurate with his level.

The application also offers the smart assistant feature, which tracks the student’s performance and sends him alerts continuously. It also directs him to those areas where he needs to raise his level.

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