Games for Gain! Turkish language training for refugee children

Children, adolescents & youth

Games for Gain! Turkish language training for refugee children

Helping Syrian refugee children to learn Turkish. 

Contact details

Submitted by:  Zeynep Tuğrul, Communication and Public Relations Unit Officer of Project on Promoting Integration of Syrian Kids into the Turkish Education System (PIKTES), Ministry of National Education of the Republic of Turkey  

Email: [email protected] / [email protected]          




Introduction to the project 




2 years


Ministry of National Education of the Republic of Turkey (MoNE) has developed numerous digital materials to address the educational needs of the learners of Turkish language, which has been a specific issue to be addressed particularly in the aftermath of the Syrian refugee crisis that broke out in 2011. 

Listening is one of the most important parts of learning a foreign language. In this context, MoNE aimed at developing an application to improve listening and reading skills, as well as indirectly speaking and writing skills of migrant students. As a result, 4 mobile applications were developed to help especially Syrian children learn Turkish. These applications are “Bil Bakalım 1&2 (Guess What 1&2)” and “Buki ile Öğreniyorum (I’m Learning with Buki)”, “Kayıp Sesler Ülkesi (The Land of Lost Sounds)” and “Oku Yaz (Read&Write)”

“Bil Bakalım 1&2 (Guess What 1&2)” are game-based mobile applications developed to teach Turkish to Syrian students in primary schools. The applications consist of concepts and words that students run across in their daily lives in Turkey. They are interactive and include visual, auditory and conceptual elements targeting multiple intelligence theory. 

“Buki ile Öğreniyorum (I’m learning with Buki)” is an online education program designed for children at early childhood period and the first grade of the primary school. This application can be reached online from web site and can be downloaded via googleplay to android mobile phones (Users don’t need to be online to use the application after downloading) The program supports learning process of children through interactive, visual and audial contents. Buki helps children strengthen their imagination and creativity encouraging them to make inventions.

“Kayıp Sesler Ülkesi (The Land of Lost Sounds)” is an electronic-based learning material that combines the theoretical basics of the first literacy teaching with the fantastic world of children. Thanks to its spiral applications that allow the children to do independent activities through games, “Kayıp Sesler Ülkesi” supports kids in their process of learning how to read and write via sound-syllable-word-sentence and text studies. The Land of Lost Sounds application is the transformation of a universal understanding in the field of first literacy in line with the national curriculum. 

“Oku Yaz (Read&Write)” is a mobile application which is based on the content of the students’ book prepared for literacy campaign. 

Those applications support Syrian students in their efforts to learn Turkish and become self-reliant in the host community.

Project aims

The goal of this project is to help Syrian refugee children learn Turkish so that they can become self-reliant in the host community. 

Main activities of the Good Practice 

Bil Bakalım 1 (Guess What 1) has 12 themes such as Home, School, Hospital, Colors, Vehicles, Animals, Vegetables, Fruits, Clothes, Foods of Animal Origin, Occupations, and Our Body. 

Bil Bakalım 2 (Guess What 2) consists of 4 sections. Section 1 includes themes such as emotions, shapes, and spatial relations. Section 2 includes themes such as hours, breakfast foods, and monies. Section 3 includes themes such as family members, physical characteristics, and numbers. Section 4 includes themes such as weather forecast, our country and its neighbours, and seasons. 

Buki ile Öğreniyorum (I’m learning with Buki) provides different scenarios for children to pick and learn different concepts according to their choice. It is a fun way of learning which supports memorisation of the new vocabulary and concepts. 

Kayıp Sesler Ülkesi (The Land of Lost Sounds) offers a rich learning experience for 1st graders with animations, interactive applications, songs and games for every sound. It enables the student to practice gradually and individually being prepared with an understanding that supports the child's reading motivation. It creates a enjoyable learning environment with 29 original songs that refers to 29 sounds.

Oku Yaz (Read&Write) allows the user to hear the proper spelling of the letters shown on the screen and improve their writing skills through line checking. This application can also be used on the web portals.

Results of the Good Practice 

Bil Bakalım 1 has been downloaded by 87,900 users (the download count was 68,120 in June 2019)  and Bil Bakalım 2 has been downloaded  by 21,200 (the download count was 7,003 in June 2019)  users. There has been a huge increase in the download counts which proves that these applications are useful. PIKTES gets dozens of thankful feedbacks on the comments of this application. 

Buki ile Öğreniyorum (I’m learning with Buki) was applied in two kindergartens and the vast majority of children stated that they enjoyed the puzzle, singing, karaoke and particularly painting activities in the application. This application was in pilot implementation process. In 2021 will be the year for its promotion nationwide. 

“Kayıp Sesler Ülkesi (The Land of Lost Sounds)” is visited by hundreds of users everyday.

Oku Yaz (Read&Write) has been downloaded by 96,200 users (the download count was 59,710 in June 2019) to improve their reading and writing skills. 

PIKTES receives very positive feedbacks for Oku Yaz application, which is very useful for learning letters in Latin alphabet and writing them. New updates are being made so that the users can practice syllable, word and sentence examples. PIKTES gets dozens of thankful feedbacks on the comments of this application.