Spraoi Ville: Learning Irish through virtual worlds


Spraoi Ville is a new virtual world designed to teach kids Irish in primary school. Developed by secondary school teacher Michelle O’ Brien, the world aims to change the old fashioned way that Irish is taught in schools and modernize the language using current technology.

“The way Irish is taught in primary schools has not changed in the past thirty years, they still use the illuminated, laminated flash cards on the wall for learning” said Michelle O’ Brien, founder of Spraoi Ville.

In Ireland, teenagers sit an exam called “The Leaving Certificate” which is similar to an entrance exam for Universities and Colleges. There is an ongoing political debate to abandon Irish as a compulsory subject, due to lack of interest from pupils.

“By the time students in Ireland finish primary school and secondary school in Ireland, they have between 12 and 13 years of learning Irish, yet the majority of students cannot even hold a conversation in Irish,” said Michelle. “I think there is just a stigma that Irish is boring in schools and I think that this can really be changed now with the introduction of interactive white boards, before our government abandons teaching Irish as a compulsory subject”.

Set in a virtual school environment, students will be taught: Maths, Geography, Science and Irish. Everything is taught and labeled in Irish supported by voiceovers.

In Math class children will learn addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and fractions. In Geography, they will learn the counties in Ireland through an online interactive map, the countries in Europe, the continents, the planets and about the weather. The Science room is will cover learning about parts of the body, planet earth, volcanoes and earthquakes. These topics require a much higher standard of Irish so will be aimed at 5th and 6th year classes. While in the Irish room the children will learn the colors, the days of the week, the months of the year and how to tell the time in Irish.

To reward the learning, children will earn “coins” in school for getting answers right and can use these coins to buy clothes, food or go on rides in the theme park. Spraoi Ville will be rolled out in primary schools across Ireland so teachers will use it daily as a teaching tool in line with the school curriculum. Kids will be encouraged to play online at home as part of their homework assignments and embrace a new era of Irish language learning. Subscription fees start at €4.95 per month or €49.95 a year.

Check it out: http://spraoiville.com (Spraoi Ville is currently only working through Google Chrome).