New free Irish-English app lets users ‘weave’ through NUI Galway campus using maths

15 Oct 2013

(Left to right) Marc Mellote and Dr Caoilfhionn Lane, both INSIGHT; Dr Máire Ní Ríordáin, School of Education; Val McEvoy, INSIGHT; Prof Chris Curtin, vice-president, Innovation; John Lonican, INSIGHT; and Dr Mary Fleming, head, School of Education

Say hello to Gafa le Mata. It’s a new Android and iOS app from National University of Ireland (NUI), Galway, to help visitors, students and staff explore the maths features linked with the campus, both in English and ‘as Gaelige’.

The university’s vice-president for innovation, Chris Curtin, has launched the free app, which is the brainchild of researchers at NUI Galway.

One of the main aims of the app is to give users a digital platform to take part in mathematical problem-solving and to be ‘Gafa le Mata’. All in real-time, in a ‘live’ working university campus, from Ireland.

Maths and Irish and English combined, and Galway … One of Ireland’s Gaeltacht regions

The app’s development and fruition has brought together a varied group.

EXPLORE funded Gafa le Mata’s development. EXPLORE supports NUI Galway students and staff in the collaboration of innovative, new projects to benefit NUI Galway and the wider community.

Coupled with this, eight BA in mathematics and education student teachers also took part in the project: Michelle Garvin, Aisling Carew, Jenna Donoghue, Michael Holton, Laura Maher, Shane McDowell, Kathleen O’ Mahony and Charles Stanley.

Creative ‘soup’ to pioneer digital platform

Technical development of the app was carried out by INSIGHT @ NUI Galway (formerly the Digital Enterprise Research Institute, or DERI).

Val McEvoy, John Lonican, Caoilfhionn Lane and Marc Mellotte of INSIGHT were behind the app’s development.

Dr Máire Ní Ríordáin, staff partner on the project, said that by participating in this project, the student maths teachers had to work collaboratively together to develop material and content for the app, while also designing the app’s interface.

They developed new skills, while also developing awareness of the potential of maths learning taking place outside the classroom and the importance of improving the public perception of maths, she explained.

The main software developer on the project was a recent NUI Galway graduate.

Prof Stefan Decker, director of INSIGHT, said the Gafa le Mata project is a reflection of the “multi-disciplinary nature of modern app development” that is happening at NUI Galway at the minute.

This app is free to download from both the App Store and Google Play.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic