Review: Céard É Sin? (ResourcED)

When it comes to educational software, Irish teachers can generally rely on other countries such as the UK, USA and Australia for most subject areas.  However, the one exception is Gaeilge.  While there have been some valiant attempts to make decent Irish language software, there are many problems.  Firstly, there’s the problem of the very small market for Irish language educational software.  Secondly, when it comes to audio, we have 3 completely different dialects to include.  Thirdly, when one takes the first two points into consideration, it means it is very expensive to create a professional looking, error free piece of educational software.  Where most software has failed is either in its poor graphics, poor grammar or poor gameplay.
Céard É Sin? is not so much a game but a huge selection of worksheets, interactive activities and posters for classrooms.  According to its authors, there are over 1,100 illustrations and over 40 themes.  These are available to print out.
The interactive activities are Flash-based activities which are a choice between things like crosswords, wordsearches and matching exercises.  They are simple, to the point and work in any web browser.
The main positive thing about this product is that there is a poster or image for almost any occasion.  If you wanted to decorate your classroom with Irish posters, it’s a good resource.  The interactives that are provided are of reasonable quality and may be a good way to consolidate learning.
Having so much choice means that navigation is essential.  Unfortunately, this is where the product fails slightly.  There is just too many options on each screen and it is very difficult to read because of this.  Perhaps, reducing the number of options on each screen would help.  Another problem is the price. €125 for a bunch of PDF files and Flash-based quizzes is a lot to pay no matter how much time and effort that must have been put into it.
It looks as though Céard É Sin? took a long time to collate and as a series of PDF files and flash quizzes, they have done a great job of bringing these things together.  They need to work heavily on the navigation of the product to try and simplify it.  It’s great to see a piece of Irish designed software on the market.  While there’s nothing on the CD that a teacher couldn’t do themselves, it does have the potential to save them a lot of time.

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