NUI Galway Receives Two 'European Award for Languages'

Friday, 3 October 2008

Fifteen projects from Ireland, including two from NUI Galway, have been awarded the European Award for Languages - the Language Label for innovative ways of teaching and learning languages. The awards are coordinated by the European Commission and managed locally by the Irish coordinating body Léargas. The European Award for Languages - the Language Label, which is simultaneously run in over 20 European countries, has been a major event in the languages calendar since 1998. This year's winners were selected on the basis of excellence, innovation, intercultural dialogue and their ability to serve as a model for others. The award-winning projects from NUI Galway are:
  • L Italia in Diretta, NUI Galway: This project is aimed at secondary school students and features an interactive website, www.italianliving.org. The website was created by students undertaking the Bachelor of Commerce International (Italian) Degree. Blogs and forums encourage secondary school students to embrace the Italian language and culture through participation in forum discussions and interactive games. The award was presented to Dr Laura Incalcaterra McLoughlin and Dott. Francesca Magnoni of the Department of Italian, NUI Galway. According to Dr McLoughlin: "We are thrilled to receive the prestigious European Award for Languages. The Award is an important recognition of the work and the level of commitment of students and lecturers in the Department of Italian. Our undergraduate students designed the website, chose the topics, researched and created all the material, and now they keep the site regularly updated. This is an on-going project which will be expanded in future years. We are particularly grateful to the Istituto Italiano di Cultura for their continuing sponsorship and support".
  • The National Digital Learning Repository Modern Languages Community of Practice Blog as a Community Building Medium: This blog is a one-stop-shop online space for anyone involved in teaching languages, including literature and culture, in the Irish higher education sector. The project aims to encourage a sense of community and peer support to facilitate the sharing of information and resources by providing an easy to use, dynamic and accessible web space which highlights a range of community news and activity. The website can be found at www.ndlr.ie/modlang/blog The Award was presented to Project Coordinators Paul Gormley and Michelle Tooher, Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT), NUI Galway. Dr Tooher explained the usefulness of the project: "The blog provides a valuable service to the language community, helping to build and enhance community spirit across all language sectors. Guest editors from across the higher education sector drive the content and focus of the blog, and our regular podcasting series provides a platform to highlight and celebrate the incredible language initiatives being undertaken throughout Ireland. The blog also provides a gateway to the National Digital Learning Repository – an online database of free-to-use resources for all Irish higher education practitioners".
Both NUI Galway projects were supported by the University's An Teanglann – Language Laboratories, a part of CELT which primarily supports the teaching and learning of modern languages; specifically French, German, Italian and Spanish. The awards were made by Simon Coveney, T.D. at a special celebration to mark the European Day of Languages on 26 September.
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