Educational mobile software for teaching Maori
Māori language is in danger of extinction within 1-2 generations if we do not begin to embrace digital technology as a way of revitalising the Māori language
A senior academic in Māori language and culture at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in Whakatāne, Dr. Rāpata Wiri. has launched the world’s first educational mobile software application course for teaching Māori language and culture: Te Pūmanawa – The Māori Language and Culture App” at www.maori.ac.nz . The mobile app is the culmination of over 15 years or research and teaching by Dr. Wiri into Māori language revitalisation and “m(obile) learning”. According to Dr. Wiri’s research, the Māori language is in danger of extinction within 1-2 generations if our older generations do not begin to accept digital technology and mobile or “m learning” as a way of revitalising our Māori language and culture. Dr. Wiri cites research by Australian academic, Dr. Stewart Hase, who argues that traditional classroom learning is now being by replaced “m learning” via mobile devices (iPads, iphones, tablets, smart phones), particularly by our younger generations. This is a global phenomenon that is currently happening through the World Web Web and may well provide the optimal approach to learning and Māori language revitalisation in the twenty-first century.
The mobile app, Te Pūmanawa is a new technological innovation in “m learning” consisting of 9 interactive modules in Māori language and culture with touch-screen activated technology and Voice Recognition Functionality, over 100 educational games and quizzes and assessments. The mobile app has even acquired New Zealand Qualifications Authority accreditation as a Māori language short award Certificate. A free trial of “Te Pūmanawa” is available on iTunes and Google Play Store and may be deployed on any mobile device (iPads, iphones, smartphones, tablets, desktops and notebooks). Dr. Wiri claims that “m(obile) learning” is the way of the future for education and is crucial in revitalising endangered languages and cultures around the world. This new technological innovation allows people to learn via their mobile device, at any time and at any place. Dr. Wiri also argues that adult learners now prefer to learn via “m learning” and their own mobile devices simply because they are too busy and prefer not to attend traditional classes to learn “te reo Māori”. Younger learners are already using tablets as part of their learning in schools. Dr. Wiri states that Māori teachers and learners either accept the changes that are occurring in technology with respect to the Māori language or it will become extinct, as a fluently spoken language, within 1-2 generations.