The three free apps, launched on February 9 to coincide with International Day of the Greek Language, seek to revitalize Greek language learning in diaspora communities. Rebooting the Greek Language is supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) and is a project of the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies and the SNF New Media Lab at Simon Fraser University in Canada.
“Greek identity is closely tied to the language,” notes the SFU Center for Hellenic Studies press release announcing the launch of the apps, “and yet even as we celebrate the International Day of the Greek Language, Modern Greek is heard less and less throughout the Diaspora. Teaching materials and curricula are from a generation ago and do not reflect the reality of many of today’s young people.”
The three new visually engaging, interactive courses are tailored to preschool learners four and up, early elementary learners six and up, and late elementary learners nine and up. They incorporate the latest pedagogical strategies and build on more than 15 years of research and development. Creating the apps has been the two-year project of an international team including Greek digital interns who train at SFU then return to work remotely from Greece.
“It’s thanks to initiatives like these,” said Gregory Tsolakis, a Director and Motion Design intern with the project, “that our language has a chance to stay alive in the diaspora.”
The characters introduced in the apps aren’t limited to those in the Greek alphabet. Learners will encounter colorful characters from Greek mythology, like Perseus and Medusa, as well as original character creations by the Rebooting the Greek Language team, in curricula strategically tailored by age. Woven into the plots of the stories and games that drive the courses are interactive modules focusing on building particular skills. A course for teenage and adult learners, who will have the ability to customize their learning experience to their goals, is also forthcoming.
The one downside to the new learning apps: “it’s all Greek to me” just won’t cut it anymore as an excuse.
Read a recent SNF feature on Rebooting the Greek Language and the Greek Diaspora Fellowship Program.