Úna Carthy welcomed second and third level teachers of language to the second seminar in the National Forum series Digital Pathways into Learning Languages. She summarised the contributions of Brendan Colleran and Neil O Sullivan who were guest speakers at the first seminar in November 2018. Both Brendan and Neil are E-Twinning ambassadors and are enthusiastic about the potential of digital platforms for language learning. She encouraged teachers who had missed the first seminar to visit her Lingo Blog which has captured the highlights of November’s event.
Úna also welcomed her guest speakers for the second seminar on the 18 January 2019, Minister for Education Joe McHugh and Professor Mairead Nic Giolla Mhichil from Dublin City University.
The minister highlighted the role which language education could play in Ireland’s future. Both Ireland’s indigenous language Irish and other modern languages have been prioritised at national level, as Ireland faces the challenges ahead. An appreciation of the value of language skills engenders respect and tolerance of other cultures and ethnic backgrounds, as the minister has experienced during his many international visits abroad. Indeed, at home, the vastly changed demographics in Ireland suggest that English is no longer enough, as multiculturalism is a socioeconomic reality. The Minister is fully supportive of any initiatives that might motivate and encourage language learning among all age groups, including the creation of digital pathways into languages. The following interview captures some of the minister’s contribution: Interview with Minister Joe Mc Hugh.
As the director of the Ideas Lab in DCU, Professor Mairead Nic Giolla Mhichil is convinced of the potential of digital technologies for creating learning pathways for all kinds of subjects. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) provide learning platforms that transcend time and space barriers. The hugely successful Fáilte Online Irish 101 is a best practice example of how this might work for language learning. Learners from 135 countries worldwide are now accessing this platform in order to learn Irish. In this short video, Mairead discusses the general concept of MOOCs and shares her experience of the Fáilte Online project: Interview with Professor Mairead Nic Giolla Mhichil.