One of Ulster’s first full Clilstore training workshops was recently delivered to members of Roinn na Gaeilge at St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra. St Patrick’s College is a college of Dublin City University and is “a vibrant and innovative centre of excellence in Education and the Humanities. It is one of the largest such institutions in Ireland with approximately 2,500 students enrolled on a range of undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral programmes.” The new national 3rd level syllabus for Irish based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (available at www.teagascnagaeilge.ie) was conceived at a symposium organised at St Patrick’s College in 2008 and the subsequent project which led to the publication of the three year syllabus and supporting sample materials was also based there. The new syllabus, which was completed in January 2011, is currently being implemented at third level institutions throughout Ireland and one of Clilstore’s potential applications will be to allow teachers who are following the syllabus to create bespoke multimedia teaching and learning materials which help their students achieve the various learning outcomes detailed in the syllabus. During the workshop Roinn na Gaeilge (“Irish Department”) staff were introduced to the Tools project and were given a demonstration of Clilstore’s key functionality before registering and trialling the service themselves. Following the workshop the participants were asked to provide feedback on the workshop and Clilstore. The seven participants unanimously agreed that they were given a clear and informative introduction to the Tools project and Clilstore, that sufficient time had been set aside for them to register and get hands on experience, that any questions they had had been adequately addressed and that ultimately the workshop had provided them with the knowledge and competence to use the online system confidently. The participants’ replies to the two free response questions were most encouraging and gratifying. Responses to the question ‘What I liked best about the workshop/ the software’ included:
“..is the versatility it allows for; its adaptability; the ease with which excellent learning materials can be created with it”
“potential for developing language learning resources & sharing them. It is easy to use – user friendly & uncomplicated”
“The opportunity to try out various options available for creating resources under supervision. It was wonderful to be able to develop a teaching unit during the workshop and avail of Caoimhín’s expertise each time the need arose”
“Bhí na treoracha an-soiléir. Is bogearra thar a bheith aisiúil é” (Trans. “The instructions were very clear. It’s a very useful piece of software”).
Responses to the question ‘What I think could be improved’ included:
“No suggestions for improvement! Following the workshop I’m eager to create some new material for current courses, míle buíochas”
“One-to-one periods of instruction would greatly enhance the possibility of individuals acquiring the requisite capability…”
“Workshop was excellent. Another workshop perhaps in 6 months time”
“The interface could be updated to indicate the full potential & uniqueness of the resource”
“Tá mé ag súil leis an dearadh nua ar an suíomh a fheiceáil” (Trans. “I’m looking forward to seeing the site’s new design”)
The above feedback reflects the breadth of Clilstore’s appeal and validates the Tools project’s intensive programme of dissemination and training. The suggestions for improvements also give us food for thought e.g. the user interface has been a matter of intense discussion among the Tools partners and plans are in place to address this issue within the coming year, however, new users will expect to see the promised improvements being delivered and the project teams will need to ensure that new users stay onboard as the improvements are carried out. While it is intended that new users who have benefitted from a Tools workshop will be able to use Clilstore confidently, and while new users are encouraged to contact us if they require any further assistance, follow-up meetings or repeat workshops for key user groups may be necessary or desirable in order to ensure that the service has been fully adopted and exploited.