Digital Gaelic resources supporting young learners

Engage News

Donald Campbell, Chief Executive of MG ALBA, discusses the development of new digital media resources supporting young people learning Gaelic. 

“Gaelic Medium Education (GMS) is a big priority for us and we are delighted that the Glasgow Gaelic School will soon be able to expand its capacity to take in even more pupils.

There is a new generation of GME pupils for whom BBC ALBA and FilmG is a major educational resource. We know that pre-school children and pupils in GME need Gaelic resources in the home which they can share with their friends and families and that they can access on their computers, consoles and devices. These resources are an essential complement to formal education. As well as introducing new words and idioms, the element of fun and play in such programmes is a significant educational tool in its own right.

BBC ALBA is a significant contributor to education and learning through its programming, and I have been particularly encouraged to learn that BBC ALBA children’s programmes are doing so well on the iPlayer.

MG ALBA is helping to meet demand by also commissioning and producing DVDs of programmes such as “Peppa” for parents and children. Websites such as ‘Bitesize’ make Gaelic education provision for pre-school, primary and secondary school pupils and the content includes detailed notes for teachers and parents.

The FilmG project has created about 240 short films, all available online. I am delighted that this project not only helps meet Curriculum for Excellence aspirations for participants but also provides learning material to supplement formal education in the classroom.

Young Gaels are learning to be “super-users” and enterprising creators of digital media, and this is a strong sign of their emotional attachment to Gaelic and their emerging intent to see Gaelic thrive.

We see further evidence of this in other initiatives such as the work of MG ALBA with external partners in the Gaelic education sector. An example is the development and delivery of the SQA Intermediate 1 in Creative Digital Media through the medium of Gaelic at the Nicolson Institute.

The future can be bright for Gaelic. Young champions are emerging through the education system who have been inspired and supported by Gaelic media, and who are now in turn inspiring and supporting others.

I have been very pleased to see the collaborative effort between MG ALBA, BBC, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, the Board of Celtic Studies Scotland and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig which has brought us the website www.LearnGaelic.net .

About 15 different bodies are working together to provide this new service for Gaelic learners.

I would thoroughly recommend learners of all ages and abilities, and anyone interested in learning Gaelic, to go to thie site and make use of the practical tools and information on offer, such as dictionaries and thesaurus and help on finding a class somewhere near you.

What I find especially useful is the 400-odd video clips from the television series Speaking our Language which take the learner on a journey from absolute beginner towards conversational ability.

The website is a great example of how partnership and collaboration can bring new and existing resources together and it stemmed from a request made to MG ALBA by Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Mike Russell in December 2009 at the annual SMO Lecture.

I am pleased that the £50k grant given to kick-start the project has been so well spent.”

Dòmhnall Caimbeul / Donald Campbell
Àrd Oifigear / Chief Executive
MG ALBA

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