Twenty representatives from seven local authorities across Scotland attended a conference on digital learning in Gaelic Learner Education at the University of Strathclyde on 14 September 2018. The forum discussed provision for Gaelic language learners online, with the aim of improving the digital offer and increasing the number of Gaelic learners in Scottish secondary schools.
Phyllis Green, who attended the conference on behalf of West Lothian Council, said: “The conference helped raise awareness of how we could support Gaelic learning within our authority. Following on from this event, we plan to make links with e-Sgoil, and with other local authorities, to look at how digital can be exploited to support learning within West Lothian Council.”
Jo Ellson, representing Aberdeenshire Council, commented: “It was particularly valuable to discover what is available in a wider context to support learners digitally, and to see the will of all those attending to take Gaelic learning forward.”
The event was facilitated by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages. Delegates included representatives from Further and Higher Education as well as national education organisations, SQA and Scottish Government.
SCILT Professional Development Officer, Eòghan Stewart, said: “The conference allowed us to bring colleagues from Comhairle nan Eilean’s e-Sgoil to meet with representatives from other local authorities in order to build links with one another and with Further and Higher Education institutions. There is an appetite to learn Gaelic amongst young people but it can be unclear how to go about doing this if there is no teacher in the school. With a good digital learning strategy nationally, we hope to increase the numbers learning and, eventually, speaking the language, in line with the aims of the Scottish Government Gaelic Language Plan.”
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s e-Sgoil was established in August 2016. Through a network of staff who deliver online learning, e-Sgoil aims to support the expansion of Gaelic Medium Education locally and nationally. e-Sgoil recently launched an on-line class for National 5 and Higher Gaelic (Learners). This has attracted 12 candidates for the 2018-19 session.