ReoBot has been launched to support people in using te reo M?ori. Available for free via Facebook Messenger, it enables users to chat with and practice te reo M?ori 24/7.
Created by Jason Lovell and Jonnie Cain, ReoBot was designed to address a common challenge faced by people wanting to learn te reo M?ori. “When I was learning te reo M?ori, I would seek out opportunities to practice but when you have a family, a job, this becomes difficult,” he says. “ReoBot is designed to allow people to practice everyday conversational te reo M?ori in their own time at their own pace; on the way to work, at home, or whenever they can spare five minutes.”
ReoBot works by encouraging the user to interact and respond in te reo M?ori through a series of short conversational chats. Questions such as “would you like a coffee?” and “how are you?” or “how is the weather?” guide the user through a short conversation that is conveyed in both te reo M?ori and English.
Lovell and Cain hope this approach will help boost confidence in using te reo M?ori in everyday situations. “Whether you know nothing or just a few phrases you will find this useful to start a chat. And if you are a beginner it will keep the reo M?ori you know top of mind so you’re more likely to go into a daily situation and use it,” says Lovell. “ReoBot is not a teaching app, nor is it designed to replace teachers or be used as a translation service. What it can do is provide teachers with a tool to help their students with conversational M?ori, especially young kids who have grown up with technology and mobile phones.”
The end goal is more people conversing every day in te reo M?ori. “Te reo M?ori is an everyday language; it’s not just for formal occasions.”