Cork student creates Irish sign language app

Cork student creates Irish sign language app

Ugonna Duru, a student at Ashton Secondary School, Ballintemple, Co. Cork, has created a user-friendly app, ‘Lamhalingo’ to improve the understanding and use of Irish sign language

A Cork secondary school student has created her own app that aims to helps users to learn Irish sign language.

Ugonna Duru, a student at Ashton Secondary School, Ballintemple, hopes to help Ireland’s 5,000-strong deaf community with her app Lamhalingo, which provides an archive of different signs for Irish sign language.

The signs are arranged in a multitude of simple, easy-to-access categories including the alphabet, colours, and greetings.

Lamhalingo is a teacher-student learning service that specialises in ‘in-class’ learning with special tools that help teach Irish sign language, something the student says is vital for better awareness of Ireland’s deaf community.

Ugonna is a participant in Teen-Turn, a mentoring programme for female students supported by Hays Recruiting. The program strives to provide teen girls with the opportunity to gain STEM experience and helps them to prepare for third-level education.

The project has enabled people across Cork to gain experience in STEM and hosted the SciFest in December which saw participants exhibit and showcase their ideas.

Ugonna developed a prototype of the app before creating the functional Lamhalingo, and documented her progress in a blog.

Her reflections won her first place in the overall blogging competition at the SciFest event.

According to Ugonna, the fact that only 0.1% of Ireland’s population can use sign language means there are significant challenges in everyday life for the deaf community here.

With her app, she hopes to give students and teachers a way to learn Irish sign language in school, specifically as a new module in Transition Year. Raising awareness of the deaf community in Ireland and the challenges they face was also a key objective of Ugonna’s initiative.

Reflecting on her research, she said that with the support of Teen-Turn, she has developed a “passion for science and technology”.

“During my time with Teen-Turn, I came to appreciate the different career choices in the area of STEM,” she said.

“I also learned how to persevere, and I put this to use while developing my app.”

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