Education app now in Maori connects generations

Education app now in Maori connects generations

Early childhood centres are now able to share a child’s learning development in te reo Māori with parents and other teachers online.

Wellington-based software company Educa has translated its e-portfolio product to te reo Māori, having previously been only available in English and Mandarin

Early childhood education (ECE) centres can document a child’s learning development by uploading pictures, videos, and results of the child’s progress.

Parents are then able to comment on uploaded material via a mobile app or the internet.

Educa founder and chief-executive Nathan Li says he has intended to translate his software to te reo Māori since it launched in April 2011.

“We have been wanting to do a Māori version since we started – I learnt as a parent that Māori is a key part in the New Zealand education curriculum.

"When you look at other spaces such as Microsoft Office they usually have Māori versions so we wanted to provide and support this within the educational curriculum field.”

Packages start from $49 plus GST a month per customer with parents, teachers and students able to access their portfolios online.

The Māori version of the Educa software was developed internally by the company with the help of translator Piripi Walker, who translated the Microsoft Office software.

“The team admitted we had to do this right and make sure the language was translated properly. We needed to use someone with translation experience and that had an understanding of education.

Piripi had both those two things and was able to have his work verified to ensure the translation flowed.”

The Māori translated version has been used in Palmerston North’s full immersion Māori ECE centre Mana Tamariki.

Brenda Soutar of Mana Tamariki says the centre is pleased with the high quality of the translation and that it helps to encourage Maori to keep up with new technologies.

“As Māori kanohi-ki-te-kanohi (face to face) is an integral to the way we carry out relationships so we will still maintain that type of contact with our parents, but we do need to be courageous with new technology and keep up. 

“The digital world is moving at such a speed and as Māori, we do not want to be left behind.  We expect to be at the forefront of innovation and change so that it happens for us in culturally appropriate ways.”

Since starting in 2011, Educa has clients locally and in Australia and Asia.

Li says they plan to translate Educa into more languages and develop the software further in order to reach a wider education market.