NUI Galway launches new online network for overseas Irish language learners

Gaeltacht.net, a new research project launched at NUI Galway this week, provides a social network for Irish learners living overseas to help them make contact with fellow learners and to develop their language skills.

Members on the site can build a profile and message each other via instant messaging and video chats. The slogan of Gaeltacht.net is ‘connect, create, communicate’. Members are given the opportunity to meet on the online social network, develop their language skills through creative language tasks, and help each other to improve. The project will run for four weeks.

There are three courses available at Gaeltacht.net: Tasc An Lae, Dúshlán na Seachtaine, and Misean na Míosa. Short, simple, tasks are provided for A1 and A2 (beginner and elementary ) learners every day during the course. Each day focuses on one language skill – Monday is listening, Tuesday is reading, and on Wednesday and Saturday a structured conversation session is available. On Thursday there is a written task, Friday is left open for participant suggestions, and Sunday is used as a day to revise, reflect, and offer feedback to the research team.

In the course Dúshlán na Seachtaine there will be a task provided every Monday for learners at B1 (intermediate ) level to complete during the course. Finally, the Misean na Míosa is for those with a high level of Irish who want one Irish language challenge each month.

Ronan Connolly, a PhD student with NUI Galway’s School of Education, said: “The success of this community depends on participants being active, helping each other, and fostering collaboration. The biggest challenge with a project like this is encouraging those with a good level of Irish to participate or register as a language helper and encourage the learners, the majority of whom are located in the USA. We are looking forward to many participants and helpers getting involved in this trial.

“This research project aims to provide support to learners overseas based on good educational practice," he added. "Everyone is welcome to register and take part, and all feedback is appreciated.”

You can follow the project on Twitter by using the #Gaeltachtnet hashtag. For more information see Gaeltacht.net

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