The Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh T.D. was on Arranmore Island in County Donegal on Monday, April 1st to officially launch the Gaeltacht e-Hub Project. This innovative digital project will provide Gaeltacht post-primary students with the opportunity to access a greater range of Senior Cycle subjects online, through the medium of Irish. This three-year pilot project is based on comprehensive research completed on similar e-learning initiatives globally, where students supplement their existing curriculum with online courses, when those subjects are not available in their own school.
The e-Hub Project will initially offer Leaving Certificate Physics online to 10 students from 4 schools, starting in September 2019. The Minister visited Gairmscoil Mhic Dhiarmada, Arranmore on Monday to launch the e-Hub pilot project. In September one student from Gairmscoil Mhic Dhiarmada will join her fellow students from the other 3 schools online to take Physics. This exciting and innovative project is managed and coordinated by H2 Learning on behalf of the Gaeltacht Education Unit in the Department of Education and Skills.
The event was widely reported in the media and Eileen Magnier, RTE North West Correspondent, captured the excitement of the launch in the following report.
The online course will be taught by two Physics e-Teachers with experience in the teaching of Leaving Certificate Higher-Level Physics through the medium of Irish. The e-Teachers will be based in their own post-primary Gaeltacht schools and will teach students across a number of other post-primary schools in the Gaeltacht. Students who are participating in the pilot project will be supported by e-Mentors in their own post-primary schools. The two Physics e-Teachers are based in Coláiste na Coiribe in Galway and Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne in Kerry and they have just recently completed a five-week Transition Year Physics Module through the medium of Irish with 50 students. Both Coláiste na Coiribe and Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne have been most accommodating in supporting the e-Hub project and Éamonn Fitzmaurice, Principal of Pobalscoil Chorca Dhuibhne, gave an interview on the project on Radio na Gaeltachta where he outlined the benefits of this approach for Gaeltacht post-primary schools.
Radio na Gaeltachta’s Áine Ní Churráin had extensive coverage of the entire launch event on Barrscéalta on Tuesday, April 2nd where she interviewed many of those in attendance at the launch, including Minister McHugh.
This is an exciting pilot project that will help students to access subjects through the medium of Irish, that are not available in their own schools. Similar approaches are commonplace in other countries, such as New Zealand, Australia, Canada and North America and now Irish students can avail of similar learning experiences. We look forward to working with the schools and the DES over the coming two years in ensuring that the project is successful and that students have an engaging and stimulating learning experience during the course.