Te reo Māori is likely to be added to a popular language learning app

May 15, 2019

Te reo Māori is likely to be added to a popular language learning app

Dr Valance Smith said that in regard to learning tools “a book is fine, but a book is a resource of its time”. Photo: Isabella Durant

Te reo Māori is the top contender to be added to Duolingo in 2019.

In a poll against 29 other languages, it received 4037 votes — 19 per cent of the overall participation of the poll.

Duolingo is a language learning platform available online and through an application which offers 85 different language courses in 24 languages, with approximately 300 million users across the world.

Academics and students support the integration of technology as a learning tool and said that it is important to foster any platform that is going to make the language easier and fun to learn.

Dr Valance Smith, the assistant pro vice-chancellor Māori advancement at AUT, thinks the addition of te reo to the platform could be beneficial for students who study and value the language.

He also said it is important for institutes to respond to the medium’s students are already engaged in.

“You can’t interact with a book, but however, with how technology is at the moment, I think we need to harness that.

“How do we wield that, how do we then make it relevant and engaging, make it fun and I think if any app does that to teach te reo, I am fully supportive of it,” Dr Smith said.

Molly Kirkbride, a student studying a te reo Maori paper at AUT, said the language being on the app would be helpful for her studies, and for anyone who has a general interest in the language.

“Apps online are a big tool in the overall process of learning nowadays so I think personally if Duolingo added te reo I would use it simultaneously with my night classes at uni.

“Te reo Māori is such an important language for New Zealanders and I think if there was easier access to learning resources it would make it easier,” she said.

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