Edutainment Entrepreneur Luma Al Adnani: Abu Dhabi Congress Interview

In News by Porter Anderson

With a strong vote for fun in learning, Adam wa Mishmish’s co-founding CEO, Luma Al Adnani, discusses the efficacy of edutainment.

At a live event staged by edutainment company Adam Wa Mishmish on December 14, 2021 at Dubai Millennium Amphitheater as part of Expo 2020 Dubai. Image: Expo 2020 Dubai, Christophe Viseux, Adam Wa Mishmish

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

See also: Screenwriter and Author Ahmed Mourad: Abu Dhabi Congress Interview

Exploring the Viability of Edutainment
Continuing today (May 16) with our previews of the May 21 and 22 International Congress of Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries–which opens the  Abu Dhabi International Book Fair for a second season—we hear from Luma Al Adnani, the co-founding CEO of the edutainment musical-cartoon platform Adam Wa Mishmish (Adam and Apricot).

Al Adani is scheduled to speak in Sunday’s congress session, “Conscious Conversation 2: Edutainment – Can Entertainment Support Learning Quality?”

In that discussion, moderator Hanada Taha of Zayed University and Al Adani are to be joined by:

  • Lamsa founder Badr Ward
  • Anne Hauguel, project manager and content curator at Louvre Abu Dhabi’s children’s division
  • Erasmus University’s Etienne F. Agué, a historian who specializes in futures studies and science-fiction

In their discussion, these speakers will be considering questions including how successful edutainment products appear to be in promoting education among youngsters and how edutainment can improve the quality of learning.

Luma Al Adnani: ”To Spark Joy in Learning Arabic’

A key image from Luma Al Adnani’s ‘Adam wa Mishmish’ site

One key question Publishing Perspectives has put to Al Adnani is whether general expectations of edutainment are correct. Do parents and educators anticipate too much in terms results from such a play-based approach?

“I believe that children learn best when they are having fun,” Al Adnani says, “and in this generation, content is king.

“Whether it’s music, cartoons, books, or plays–all content types that we create–children need a fun reference to help them learn and retain information. The traditional classroom doesn’t cut it anymore. You need to be able to capture children’s attention, otherwise they won’t care about the information that you’re trying to teach them.

“In our case,” she says, “we focus on children in the early years, up to age 6, and you need a purely learn-through-play method here. Edutainment doesn’t necessarily mean digital content. That misconception is one reason that it’s sometimes perceived negatively—too much screen time. It’s simply the mixture of entertainment and education together, and that can come in many forms.

“I don’t believe in outcome-based learning. I believe it can stifle creativity and individuality in children.

“In general, we shouldn’t expect too much out of anything,” Al Adnani says. “Every child learns differently and we shouldn’t put too much pressure on things like grades and outcomes. The point for us as Adam Wa Mishmish is to use music as a main tool to spark joy in learning Arabic, and each child can express that in different ways.”

‘It’s a Matter of How You Approach It’

When it comes to edutainment’s potential, Al Adnani says, “Edutainment can be used for any area, whether it’s math, verbal, or social. It’s just a matter of how you approach it.

Luma Al Adnani

“At the end of the day,” she says, “edutainment as I mentioned earlier is creating space for education through fun, so it’s just a matter of picking out which resource is best fit for any given area. And while there’s a distinction or even a preference in each individual for what type of intelligence they may have, this doesn’t discount edutainment as a tool to aid in their learning regardless of the area of focus.

“In our case, while we’re more focused on creating content that helps kids love and learn the Arabic language, we’re also creating content that’s well-rounded and -developed. We work on developing skills such as literacy, physical development, math, communication and language, and so much more. And all these skills are being taught via, you guessed it, edutainment.”

‘Children Learn Best When They’re Happy’

Lastly, when Publishing Perspectives asks if the edutainment industry has done the best job of communicating its potentials clearly, Al Adnani says, “I think the edutainment industry is everywhere at the moment, and its understanding is a two-way street.

“Our approach is that children learn best when they’re happy, and they’re happiest when what they’re being taught is done in a fun way. It’s up to us as content creators to get this message across, but it’s also up to parents and educators to get onboard with learning through play and creating this fun inclusive and joyful environment for students to be able to do their best learning.”

Al Adnani appears in a video about Adam Wa Mishmish and its emphasis on music as an educational tool in learning and enjoying Arabic.


More from Publishing Perspectives on the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair is here, and more on the United Arab Emirates’ market is here. More from us on book fairs and trade shows in world publishing is here. More on translation is here, and more on Arabic in the publishing world is here.

Publishing Perspectives is the world media partner of the Sheikh Zayed Book Award. Our extended coverage of ADIBF 2022 is supported by the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.