Voyaging App Inspires and Supports Kids to Mālama Honua
Like other sea birds, Manu does a particularly good job helping navigators find their way. Unlike her fine-feathered friends though, Manu does the guiding by talking and singing along the way – and that’s because she is the central, kid-friendly character of a new app.
Inspired by Hōkūleʻa and the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, the locally created app engages five to eight-year-old “junior navigators” in building a traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe, learning lessons in environmental sustainability and Hawaiian culture along the way.
You can check out a trailer for app here or visit the app website at www.malamahonua.com for more information.
Created by the Hoʻomālamalama Foundation, launch of the app punctuates an 18-month effort that received collaborative support from the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) and the Mālama Honua Public Charter School (MHPCS). Hoʻomālamalama intends to share app proceeds amongst the three non-profits to further their respective educational missions.
As the name suggests, My Voyage Appisode 1, is the first in a planned series of “appisodes” inspired by Hōkūleʻa’s voyage.
“We created this appisode to raise awareness of the Worldwide Voyage and its message of sustainability with very young children – whose future depends on a healthy and abundant planet Earth. At the same time, we want to establish an ongoing funding mechanism for the voyage and for the charter school that is associated with it,” said Ann Botticelli, founder and president of the Hoʻomālamalama Foundation.
The inaugural appisode introduces children to the tradition of voyaging practiced by the ancient Polynesians and in use today aboard Hawaiʻi’s voyaging canoes, using a compelling combination of video storytelling and interactive activities.
App users join excursions from the ocean to the mountains, learning how to gather and prepare materials for their own canoe. Cultural experts Sam Gon and Umi Kai show the children how Hawaiians selected koa and ʻohiʻa trees for the canoe hulls and masts and how they lashed canoe parts together with rope made from olona plants. Mele Apana explains how Hawaiians used lauhala to make sails.
Encouraged by Manu, their animated guide, users take the steps toward becoming a “junior navigator.” Approximately 35 minutes long, the appisode contains engaging interactive elements requiring varying levels of dexterity. Lessons include environmental sustainability, arithmetic, geography, and logic.
The extremely curious will be charmed by hidden surprises – splashing fish, twirling palm trees – and find reason to revisit the appisode again and again. The daylong adventure culminates with a lively musical recap aboard a traditional sailing canoe.
The appisode was developed in collaboration with MHPCS, which seeks to perpetuate the Hawaiian cultural values and contemporary 21st century skills embodied by the Worldwide Voyage. Its central storyline, highlighting connection to place and culture, was informed by the schools’ curriculum. Teacher and parent guides supplied by the school will be available on www.malamahonua.com and the school’s keiki are featured in the inaugural appisode.
“Our students are excited to be able to be a part of this voyage, and to work with others in finding solutions for our environment and communities. Learning different ways to take care of Island Earth and each other is what our Malama Honua approach is all about,” said MHPCS Principal Denise Espania.
If the apps prove to be popular, the organization has plans to create additional appisodes chronicling lessons in sustainability encountered throughout the 4-year, 60,000 nautical mile voyage.
The Polynesian Voyaging Society would like to thank Hoʻomalamalama Foundation for creating this app and promoting the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage amongst children and their parents in a manner that is educational, fun and true to the values of mālama honua.
About Hoʻomalamalama Foundation
Hoʻomālamalama Foundation was created in 2014 to create educational tools that inspire learning while supporting worthy charities. The Foundation is operated exclusively for charitable and educational purposes.
About Mālama Honua Public Charter School
Mālama Honua Public Charter School (MHPCS) prepares children to be community leaders and environmental stewards for our island home and the world. MHPCS prepares students to navigate their many voyages through life, drawing on a blend of indigenous and global knowledge to create positive solutions for the environmental and social challenges that their generation is facing. Students gain science, math, reading, art, and music skills through hands-on experiences in the community that help them identify ways they can mālama — care for — the world around them. For more information about MHPCS, visit malamahonuapcs.org.