Archive for the ‘Knowledge’ Category

Areeb: A Free Arabic E-Learning Project Providing Video Lessons

| October 12, 2010 – 3:11 pm | comment No Comments

Areeb School is a new non-profit educational project for the Arab world, which aims to provide good education for all Arabic speakers, at different stages of their lives and covering various topics and natural sciences.

The site aims to  explain the various scientific subjects of mathematics, physics, chemistry and others in a simplified and easy to understand manner, all in the form of short video clips that do not exceed 15 minutes, that should be enough to simply deliver the information and get it across to the learners.

The goal of the site is to build and provide an extensive library of tutorial videos that cover hundreds of explanations and lessons in various fields of science; this is to facilitate access to information and clearly explain all these topics to a large number of people from around the Arab world, whatever their financial situation is or how advanced the  educational system is in their countries.


Video: Loomni Presents Education Project At DemoCamp Dubai

| June 29, 2010 – 11:48 am | comment 5 Comments

LoomniLoomni is a new service for the region that aims to empower continuing education, making it more accessible and affordable to everyone. The service was previously reviewed here.

The overall idea of the startup is to fill the existing gap and provide learning opportunities for people who can’t afford expensive courses, nor have the time to spend locked up for long hours in a training venue somewhere.

It aims to do this by providing focused practical courses delivered in 90 minutes, at a fraction of the price available in the market, by working with another profile of instructors, mainly experts on certain fields who can share their knowledge and experience, educating people about their areas of expertise, but also helping market themselves and their services along the way.


Video: The Question Company Presents SMS Based Q&A Service At DemoCamp Dubai

| June 26, 2010 – 11:58 am | comment No Comments

The Question CompanyThe Question Company is a UAE based company that provides a question and answer sms-based service, that enables users in the UAE to sms any question to them and get an answer back in a few minutes time.

The guidelines to use the service are really simple, you basically just think of a question, text it to the number 4644 and then wait for them to send you the reply back. The target on their side is to have replies sent out in less than 10 minutes, and they say their current average is 6.55 minutes.

The service is available for both Etisalat and Du subscribers and costs 3 Dirhams per question, answering all types of questions, but refraining from providing any legal, financial or medical advice.


Loomni, A Knowledge Sharing & Educational Platform

| June 8, 2010 – 1:00 pm | comment 2 Comments

LoomniLoomni is a new service that’s being launched today for the region that promises to reshape and transform continuing education, making it more accessible and affordable to everyone.

The problem Loomni is trying to solve is that of education outside of public schools and universities being out of reach for most people as it takes the form of limited, relatively long and expensive courses offered up by training institutions.

The idea of the startup is to fill the existing gap and provide learning opportunities for people who can’t afford expensive courses, nor have the time to spend locked up for long hours in a training venue somewhere. It aims to do this by providing focused practical courses delivered in 90 minutes, at a fraction of the price available in the market.

To be able to provide these lower prices, Loomni goes after another profile of instructors, mainly experts on certain fields who can share their knowledge and experience, educating people about their areas of expertise, but also helping market themselves and their services along the way.


Shawshara, An Online Encyclopedia For Arabic Music

| September 24, 2009 – 1:11 pm | comment 4 Comments

ShawsharaShawshara is a community based project aimed at collecting and documenting all aspects of Arabic music in an online encyclopedia.

Shawshara is set up as a wiki based platform enabling anyone to add and modify the contents of any page, without the interference of site administrators, in order to enrich the content and grow the database.

The site currently contains over 25 Arabic artists, their biographies and discographies that translate into several hundred albums, and over 700 song pages which include the song’s lyrics, lyrics translated into English and other languages, transliteration and videos.


The site interface is presented in both English and Arabic, and so is the content, which is translated and transliterated into English, and in some cases into other languages as well.

Shawshara was founded by Waseem Sayegh, a Palestinian, currently living and studying in Canada.
It is powered by MediaWiki, the same open source software that runs Wikipedia.

Yooyaland – Education & Entertainment For Arab Children

| October 12, 2008 – 8:47 pm | comment 1 Comment

YooyalandYooyaland is a Palestinian startup that aims to fill the need for creative educational resources for 3-9 year old children in the Arab world; providing resources that blend technology with an enlightening learning process, and utilize Internet as a medium to deliver across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and the rest of the world.

Its exclusive, original content is carefully created to stimulate the children and challenge their intellect; provide teachers with entertaining, educational material; and transform the home educational cycle by giving parents an ever growing library of resources ranging from Yooyaland’s interactive portal to worksheets, toys and other products.

Yooyaland delivers a rich variety of age-appropriate activities to each user, providing parents with the possibility to change the level of difficulty to each activity, according to their child’s pace.

It also focuses on the educational skills that are most important to the child’s development, including basic language skills, number recognition and mathematical thinking, critical thinking, spatial reasoning and logic.

The animations are based on flash technology and demonstrate effective use of e-learning methods such as dividing the content into few learning steps, examining the knowledge gained in each step, and interacting with the child to keep him/her playing online.

To get access to all the lessons and contents of Yooyaland, subscribers have to charge their accounts using one of the supported payment methods: Visa, CashU, OneCard and Yooya Prepaid Cards.


Alia Abu Shmeiss submitted the Yooyaland project to PICTI (Palestine Information and Communications Technology Incubator) back in 2005, where it was then incubated for a period of 18 months, through which it went from idea to reality with support and consulting from PICTI.

PICTI then linked Yooyaland with Hadara, a member of Paltel Group, which launched it to the private sector, making Yooyaland the first case of a merger and acquisition from the incubator in Palestine culminating in transfer of equity shares in exchange of US$450,000 and an additional US$1Million of investment in the company.


Google Launches Knol In Arabic As One Of The First Languages Worldwide

| August 26, 2008 – 5:00 pm | comment No Comments

KnolGoogle has just launched their service Knol in Arabic, as one of the first languages supported by the language worldwide. Knol is a new service from Google that in some way competes with Wikipedia, it is a free tool encouraging people to write articles about the things they know about most, and that they’re considered experts on.

So whatever their area of expertise, the service lets users write, share and participate in a community of information and knowledge.

Arabic is one of the first languages that Knol is launching globally, showcasing the importance of the Arabic market to Google.

Mohammad Gawdat, Managing Director for Emerging Markets explained: “The Arab region is a high priority for us at Google and we are excited to provide more tools in local language such as Blogger and now Knol.”

For more information and to start writing on your subject of expertise in Arabic or English, or explore existing knols (articles and posts), all you have to do is visit the website at:

Knol screenshot

‘The internet is huge, but still a lot of expert knowledge remains untapped,’ said Ahmed Gaballah, spokesman for Google. ‘Knol provides a way for people to share their expertise with others–and get credit for their contribution. In the same way that books have authors’ names right on the cover, knols have authors’ names–and links to their other articles–right there on the page.’

Knols are a great way to tackle the lack of Arabic content on the internet. ‘We are delighted that beyond providing a forum for Arabic speakers to share their knowledge, readers can now access information they are searching for that they otherwise could not get in Arabic,’ Gaballah stated.

Knols allow authors to include references, link to additional information, and interact with readers. And readers can easily submit comments, rate, or write a review of a knol.

Ras2Ras, Arabic Online Comparison Research Tool

| August 12, 2008 – 6:46 pm | comment 11 Comments

ras2rasRas2Ras, which means “Head to head” in Arabic, is a new Arabic service from Yemen, which is built around a very simple yet really interesting idea: putting any two comparable things against each other, and letting people vote on which they like best.

These comparisons are called ‘battles’, and competing against each other we can find products, services, websites, people or anything really; and then through user voting we can find out which one the people prefer.

Users can also leave their comments on the battle, which can provide more insight into what people like about a certain ‘competitor’, or what they find negative about the other.

Anybody can register for free and start a new battle between two things for the people to vote on. Battles can be tagged for easier search, and users can also view all battles started by the same user.

Now, even though the idea is very simple in principle, it is very useful and really helps in a number of situations, some serious ones and others that could be for fun, which makes it all the more interesting.

The most obvious and interesting use is as a research tool; for example it can help businesses get people’s feedback on them with regards to their biggest competitor and understand why through the comments to better identify ways to build on their strengths and fill in their weakness gaps; The tool can also come in handy for a person wanting to buy a certain thing and not knowing which is best, and hoping that the community can help them out. And the list of examples where it can help in research can go on.

ras2ras screenshot

Ras2Ras was built by Yemeni internet solutions company Yemen Server. The design is pretty simplistic and straight-forward, focused on the battle and the vote, just like it should be. The service is available in Arabic only for the time being and is still in beta mode, as they’ll be rolling out more features.

# Ras2Ras

Questler Online Learning Network Launches New Version

| July 9, 2008 – 8:35 pm | comment No Comments

Questler LogoQuestler, the online learning and knowledge network, just launched a new version of their service today, with a sleeker looking logo and a new navigation system.

This new version brings a number of changes beyond the design, like:

Channels: New channel pages have been introduced for each user, where you can browse all their contributions, whether quests or comments, per their learning interests or all tags of their posts. Users can go to their settings to customize the design of their own channel.
They plan to launch specialized channels from companies and organizations that have quests to share soon.

RSS Feeds: It is now possible to subscribe to Questler’s everyone feed, as well as to RSS feeds for any specific user channel. RSS feeds are also available for tags and keyword searches, enabling you to follow topics of interest to you.

Extra Tagging: Now everyone can add more tags to any quest when they post a comment on it, this way other users will be able to filter through the Quest View page to see their comments per tags they’ve added.

Quest creation from a comment: Users can now post a comment on a certain a quest as a new Quest; the two will be linked and can be viewed in the Related Quests tab.

Related Quests: When viewing a quest’s details, all related quests will be listed on the same page, enabling interested users to further explore the topic. Recent quests as well as latest quests by the same user are also available now.

Home/Dashboard: To make posting quests easier, it is no longer necessary to go to the quest page to post, it can be done directly from the home page. A new dashboard also helps browse through the latest conversations quickly.

Questler New Version

Another detail worth mentioning is that the Beta moniker has been dropped from this version, which does feel more mature as an online service, more organized and better rounded at the corners.

# Questler

Interview With Questler Founder Razan Khatib

| June 16, 2008 – 11:04 am | comment 7 Comments

QuestlerFirst of all, I’d like to really thank Razan Khatib, the founder of Questler, an interesting Jordan-based startup which was previously reviewed here, for taking some of her time to answer some of our questions about Questler, offer us some insight into the startup, the experience so far and where it’s going, as well as tips and advice for other entrepreneurs.

How would you describe Questler in your own words?
Questler is an informal learning network which allows its user base to learn from each other on any topic they have in mind through posting Quests and commenting on them. Quests in Questler are mini-blogs of information categorized into 6 types, Query, Observation, Discovery, Research, Media and Story. Each of those types represents an informal aspect to everyday learning. It’s not only a Q & A site, as some users keep comparing us with Yahoo!Answers. Questler is a place for mini-blogging, conversation, discussion, opinions and recommendations from peers rather than experts. The word “Questler” was chosen because learning starts with a quest!

How did you get the idea for Questler? and what made you feel passionate about this specific idea?
The initial thoughts on Questler came in late 2005, I basically stumbled on facebook while searching for learning technologies, and thought immediately of the power of social networks in learning rather than just social connections. I felt that there is a great space here for innovation yet I let sometime over 10 months before I started seriously working on Questler. Had to make the jump into entrepreneurship and that took some time to kick in! I was always enthusiastic about self-learning and learning from others, I find this form of learning (informal) is the real learning everyone does when they start working as opposed to what we learning in formal settings.

Did you face any difficulties or challenges taking Questler from idea to project to company?
Yes of course I did, financing from one hand was a challenge, trying to find the right partners as well as trying to create something new as opposed to imitating other sites. Still a challenge with the number of web startups launching everyday, the hardest challenge is your ability to adapt and keep trying to differentiate your project/product. We made numerous mistakes along the way, but working on Questler was and is the most exciting and fulfilling work I’ve done in my life, the adrenaline rush when launching a release, when traffic takes a hike, amazing experience.


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