The Welsh Government has awarded Penrhys Partnership an £18,000 grant to boost Welsh language technology and digital media.
The Technoleg Mawr mewn Dwylo Bach (Big Tech in Little Hands) project is set to create new software for children learning to read and speak Welsh, which will also encourage young people in RCT to learn more about programming and coding.
The project, which is the first of its kind in Wales, will work directly with teachers and schools to create two customised apps based on the needs of the Welsh Foundation Phase curriculum.
YGG Llwyncelyn in Porth and YGG Llyn Y Forwyn in Ferndale will be working with the Big Click project hosted by Penrhys Partnership to develop two Welsh Language mobile apps to use in classrooms across Wales.
Using the development of the apps as a catalyst, the project will also support the development of a coding club in the Rhondda valleys to encourage young people to explore new opportunities through computer programming.
First Minister, Carwyn Jones, said:
Our grant scheme is designed to ensure that Welsh Language technology and digital media is more readily available – something which is key to the success of the language in the 21st century. I’m delighted that we have been able to support Penrhys Partnership to set up this project, which increases the amount of digital software for children available in Welsh and gives young learners new, exciting ways to engage with education.”
Kevin Davies, Chief Executive of Menter Iaith RCT said:
We very much welcome and appreciate this project which enables children to learn the educational basics, using the latest technology via the medium of Welsh. It is essential that the Welsh language in general and particularly in the education sector employs and exploits every available avenue to make its teaching as interesting and relevant as possible. This project goes a long way towards reaching that goal and is to be applauded as well as uploaded!”
Ben Treharne-Foose, Digital Technologies Manager for Penrhys Partnership, said:
There are currently less than 11 Welsh language apps aimed at children under the age of 7. For young Welsh learners wishing to practice their phonics on a tablet device, there is only one app currently available, compared to more than 1,000 for English learners. We want to show that schools and communities can do more than simply consume technology; they can create the technology they need to inspire students.”
The project is already underway, with more than six partner organisations on board to design, code and work with young people on the apps build over the coming months. The apps are expected to be launched in March 2014.