This research and development is aimed at learners, tutors and course developers of Scottish Gaelic. The method of teaching Gaelic being used initially with the system is Ùlpan. This method has been used for over 50 years to great effect in Israel, where it originated for teaching Hebrew, and in Wales, where it has been used for over 30 years to bring thousands of learners to fluency in Welsh. In Scotland, around 2,000 students have registered with Ùlpan since its launch. The course is made up of 144 units, with most students at present doing one or two face to face sessions of around 1.5 hour each week in classes of around 8 to 16 students and one tutor. For minority languages such as Scottish Gaelic it is difficult for learners to get the practice with native speakers between face to face classes that is required to become fluent. In this project ICT is being developed to enhance face to face lessons by offering a supportive web-based environment practicing (text and audio) and for formative assessment (homework). The ICT environment collects data on student performance that can be fed back to the students for self- improvement, to tutors so they can monitor the progress of cohorts of students (and adapt lessons as necessary), and to course developers (and trainers of tutors) so they can alter the course if need be. The structuring of course content is XML based allowing course developers to more easily update or re-order content, or adaptation to different dialects or other languages. Tutors of minority languages are often native speakers with little formal training in language teaching. The ICT system is being designed to support such tutors, especially these in fragile communities where additional income from language tutoring can help supplement income from more traditional sources of employment such as crofting. This paper will report on the first phase of design and development of this work in progress, and an evaluation of the initial results of providing feedback to students, tutors and course developers. Future plans for development will also be discussed; in particular mobile applications and video conferencing to further support the students, tutors and course providers.
Lawson, A., Mikuta, P., & Cruickshank, P. (2013, September). Using ICT to Supporting Course Developers, Tutors, and Students of Scottish Gaelic. Poster presented at EUROCALL