Learning Apps – For Indigenous Children

Learning apps for indigenous children

In 2020 the team at Media Shark were approached by a bilingual school from a remote indigenous community to design a phonics learning app that teaches young school children the Warlpiri language. Learning apps for indigenous children are becoming more widely used.

Statistics and research show that learning in a mother tongue or first language before learning other languages can improve literacy levels in young indigenous children.

It is believed that some remote communities would benefit from various types of learning apps that could assist with teaching the students their first language.

Learning Apps

The app itself would teach alphabet sounds and syllables and allow students to practice and cement their knowledge prior to undertaking a second language such as English.

From this initial contact the team were able to conduct further research and found a multitude of mobile applications ready to use which could assist indigenous school children in not only learning their mother tongue but also learn English as a second language and therefore become multilingual.

Encouraging multilingualism is crucial to ensuring the survival of indigenous languages and It is important to note that as a society we are moving into a world driven by technology and we can utilise these new technologies and learning apps to ensure young children are equipped for life in today’s community.

Learning Apps for indigenous Children

According to the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIASTSIS), there are more than 250 cultural groups which make up Indigenous Australia, yet only 120 languages are still used. About 100 have been identified as endangered.

Further to this some native tribes have opted to use modern technology to assist in preserving their beloved mother tongue.

The Miromaa Aboriginal Language and Technology Centre have been trailblazers in this area by developing a software which allows for native languages to be uploaded onto their platform and then be transformed into an app. This is a fantastic learning tool for everyone young and old!

Below is a brief list of the apps readily available and already in the app store to assist young indigenous learners.


1) Learning Apps for Indigenous Children – Indigenous Learning app 

This app was the initiative of the world literacy foundation which is an organisation that aims to educate and bring literacy skills to children. This app enables Indigenous children get ready for school by providing e-books using local stories, illustrations, pictures, words and sounds.


2) Learning Apps For Indigenous Children – FirstVoices Keyboards app

The FirstVoices app is an Aboriginal typing app with hundreds of Aboriginal languages available. This app helps Aboriginal people regain the everyday use of their heritage languages by texting, typing, sending emails, creating documents and using social media in their traditional languages.


3)Learning Apps For Indigenous Children – iBobbly app

iBobbly is an emotional wellbeing app which aims to assist Aboriginal, and Torres Strait Islander Children aged 15 and over. It is a private platform which helps youngsters manage their thoughts and feelings.

To ensure the utmost safety of the children, everything that is seen, heard, and experienced in the app has been shaped by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members.

The app itself was developed with partners Black Dog Institute and ALIVE & Kicking Goals! iBobbly was first tested with young people based in the Kimberley’s. The result was a positive experience with the majority of users reporting they felt good after using the app.


4) Learning Apps For Indigenous Children –Yugambeh app

This app was built by the Yugambeh museum and has been built to close the educational gap between Aboriginal and non-aboriginal Australians. The team behind the Yugambeh Museum has also been working for three decades to help gather local language and cultural stories.

Woolaroo is open source and allows language communities like ours to preserve and expand their language word lists and add audio recordings to help with pronunciation. Today it supports 10 global languages including Louisiana Creole, Calabrian Greek, Māori, Nawat, Tamazight, Sicilian, Yang Zhuang, Rapa Nui, Yiddish and Yugambeh. Any of these languages are an important aspect of a community’s cultural heritage.

Explore more on the Google Arts & Culture app for iOS and Android and at g.co/woolaroo.


5) Learning Apps For Indigenous Children –NSW AECG languages app

The language app features languages of Bundjalung, Gamilaraay, Gumbaynggirr, Paakantji and Wiradjuri. This app provides an easy way to see news, photos, events and other information to keep up-to-date on everything to do with NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Inc.

6)Learning Apps For Indigenous Children –Wadawurrung Language – Intro

This app is an introduction to the Wadawurrung language of the region that encompasses the Geelong and Ballarat areas of Victoria, Australia. The content of this App was produced in partnership with the Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation and the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages.

It has never been more important to educate young indigenous children and set them up for success in older life. Although technology can seem overwhelming at times, it is something that is gaining importance in the world and can be embraced to teach, protect, and preserve the languages of our first nations people.

If you need assistance with creating learning apps whether they be for indigenous children, or adults please reach out to us at Media Shark!