Last week I had the pleasure of attending the the Indigenous, Minority, and Lesser Used (IML) Languages Conference hosted by the British-Irish Council in Dublin. The two days confirmed what we have already learned in our time working with Irish teachers–technology needs to do a better job supporting local languages.
I am proud to say that Edcite has taken a proactive strategy in regards to language equity–responding to the language needs that we see. Although Irish is required in schools and is an official language of the country, most educational websites don’t offer a translated interface. At Edcite, we decided that this was worth doing!
Earlier this year the Irish Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs praised Edcite for taking on the translations.
We have translated the student side, thank you to the volunteer contributions from one of our Irish Edcite users and October 2014’s Edcite Teacher of the Month, Graeme Higgins. This means that our site can be used by students across the entire country of Ireland, whether they are receiving their instruction through the medium of English or Irish.
This school year, Coláiste Ghlór na Mara became our first campus to roll-out Edcite to all of their students. As an Irish speaking secondary school, they were very excited to have a site that they could use with their students as gaeilge (through Irish).
You can click on the green icon next to any Irish words to hear how they are pronounced.
Bláithín, one of their science teachers and a technology champion at the school said:
Is acmhainn iontach í seo go háirithe leis an rogha do leathanach na ndaltaí a bheadh ann trí Ghaeilge Bhí Julia chomh cabhrach agus tháinig amach chun na scoile chun dul tríd gach rud leis na múinteoirí agus chruthaigh sí ár ranganna uilig dúinn. Mholfainn an suíomh seo go mór do gach duine
(English: This is a wonderful resource to have especially with the choice of student page in Irish. Julia was so helpful and came out to the school to go through everything with the teachers and set our classes up for us. I would highly recommend this site to everyone.)
It is really exciting to see teachers sharing content in the language of Irish. You can see some of the content in our library as gaeilge by clicking on the blue title of the assignment.
- Cé mhéad? (How many?)
- Cé mhéad milseán atá i ngach grúpa? (How many in each group?)
- Sórtáil (Sorting)
- Obair Bhaile 12/10/15 (Homework 12/10/15)*
- Obair Bhaile 14/10/15 (Homework 14/10/15)*
*Remember that dates are written Day/Month/Year in Ireland and various parts of the world
We are happy to see the translation of the student pages leading to more shared resources in Irish. This approach is replicable and we are in conversations with several groups and individuals to explore the potential of offering the platform in the language of their choice. We will continue to value languages not just based on the number of speakers, but rather by what they mean to their communities. If you value having content in your language, we welcome an opportunity to speak with you.
Recognise the importance of offering content in other languages, not just English #EdTechEquity
— Graeme Higgins (@GraemeHiggins) November 15, 2015
Earlier this year we wrote about our Curriculum Mapping initiative with Camara Ireland and our hackathon with teacher volunteers to open up more resources for teachers and improve the process of sharing content between teachers in Ireland and the US. We hope that our language options will ensure that as we improve the usability of Edcite for our Irish teachers, we do so equally for teachers teaching through either of their national languages.
If you have ideas or interest in regards to offering Edcite in your local language, please reach out to me at Julia@edcite.com.
To close out I just want to give a special thanks to everyone at the conference last week–it is quite amazing to see what is being done to preserve the history and culture that is intertwined with language. A special thanks to Ailbhe and her team at Trinity for developing the Abair website which was used to provide the audio for any of the Irish words you clicked to hear pronounced.