Watch: Virtual reality Welsh speaking town built to help hit one million speakers target

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A virtual Welsh speaking town has been created to help school children learn Welsh and contribute to the goal of one million speakers.

Animated Technologies, has developed a VR pilot for Welsh learners in the Gwynedd immersion program designed for children who are new to the county.

The recently launched resource is a first for learning the Welsh language, taking traditional classroom materials into a VR space.

Using multiple choice, children can navigate around imaginary town, Aberwla, practicing their language skills with up to 30 other people and digital avatars. The hope is the new technology will make language learning fun and more interactive for youngsters.

Anna Burke is a co-founder of, Animated Technologies, she said: “We are really excited to see this project come to life, and hope pupils who take part in Gwynedd’s 10-week language immersion program enjoy learning through this new technology.

“We know that using VR for learning is effective, with studies showing that learners retain up to 75% more information using technology like this compared to the usual classroom setting. Already we are getting fantastic feedback, pupils love spending time in the virtual Aberwla.

“The next step for us is to expand the VR space to offer additional content and scenarios so learners can extend their vocabulary and confidence.”

‘Important’

Funded through the Welsh Government’s Late Immersion Grant, Gwynedd Council commissioned Animated Technologies to develop the virtual town originally created by local writer and TV presenter Anni Llŷn.

The aim is to help new comers to Gwynedd acquire the language before they enter mainstream education with the new virtual experiences reinforcing class-room learning.

Councillor Beca Brown, the Gwynedd cabinet member with responsibility for education, said: “We wanted to develop innovative resources to support new comers to the county to learn Welsh, adding value to our existing ten-week language immersion course. We hope the virtual Aberwla will appeal to our learners and help them practice language patterns through play and apply their skills in different contexts.

“It’s important that we give children and young people who are new to Gwynedd every opportunity to learn Welsh so that they can fully participate in activities with their new friends at school and in their communities.

“This project will do just that as well as contribute to the Welsh Government’s goal to reach one million Welsh speakers by 2050.”


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