SNF New Media Lab

The SNF New Media Lab is a leading innovator of online and mobile solutions for the education and cultural sectors.

Over the past 15 years, Greek and Canadian developers working in the Lab have produced applications covering a vast array of subjects and topics, from online applications for Canadian universities to products for the Greek tourism sector. A key speciality of the Lab is online and mobile language education for Modern Greek. Its proprietary Odysseas technology has also been used for French, Italian, Arabic, as well as for the teaching and preservation of 13 critically-endangered First Nations languages in Western Canada.

The Lab’s most recent project is perhaps its most ambitious. Thanks to a significant grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the Lab has embarked on a two-year project called Rebooting the Greek Language. This initiative brings together revolutionary pedagogy with cutting-edge technologies, to the preservation of the Modern Greek language in the Diaspora, for generations to come.

Projects

Rebooting the Greek Language

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Thanks to a $2M grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the Lab has embarked on a two-year project called Rebooting the Greek Language. The project brings together revolutionary pedagogy with cutting-edge technologies, such as machine learning, natural language processing, and mixed reality, to Greek language education. This project also features a significant internship program, which brings young Greek developers to SFU to work on the project and take part in entrepreneurship workshops courtesy of our partner VentureLabs®, a leading business accelerator in downtown Vancouver.

First Nations Languages in the 21st Century: Looking Back, Looking Forward

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This seven-year project is a collaboration between the SNF New Media Lab, the First Nations Language Centre at Simon Fraser University, and 22 community partners to preserve 13 critically endangered First Nations languages in British Columbia and the Yukon. This initiative was made possible by a $2.6M Partnership Grant by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and uses the Lab’s Odysseas Intelligent Language Tutor as anchor technology. Beginning in 2013, members of participating First Nations communities have been working alongside SFU researchers and the Lab’s developers to create lasting online and mobile educational resources for their language communities.

Ímesh Indigenous Artwalk

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ímesh, meaning "to walk" in Skwxwú7mesh snichim (Squamish Language), is a free mobile app developed by the SNF New Media Lab in partnership with the Bill Reid Centre for Northwest Coast Studies. Currently available for iOS devices, this app provides locations and information for the publicly accessible Indigenous art located at SFU’s Burnaby campus and Burnaby Mountain Park. Users can access each artwork from a list of available pieces, or take a directed tour using geolocation to notify them when they are close to one of the artworks. At each venue the user is presented with information about the artist, the work, and the culturally-shared knowledge that informs each piece, gaining a stronger awareness of the Coast Salish territories on which the university is situated.

Odysseas Intelligent Language Tutor

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The Odysseas online language tutor is an interactive learning program designed to teach the Greek language and culture on the Internet using electronic learning principles and advanced user interface technology. The tutor is designed to emulate how an actual personal tutor would instruct a student. It provides several examples and no-risk quizzes so that students are familiar with the exam format ahead of time. After each exam the student receives customized feedback based on his/her performance. Odysseas also tracks the progress of students through several exams to ensure that they are making steady progress. The tutor has now taught Greek to thousands of students throughout North America and China, and has been recognized as a pioneer of online language instruction.

The Greeks: From Agamemnon to Alexander

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The SNF New Media Lab partnered with the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C., the Field Museum in Chicago, the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Canada, and Pointe-à-Callière Montréal Archeology and History Complex in Montréal, Canada to bring a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition of Greek history and culture to North American audiences. The exhibition featured artifacts from 22 Greek national museums, covering over 5,000 years of history, many of which had never before left the country. The Lab contributed a free mobile app, available for iOS, with interactive timelines, augmented reality, social media integration, and exclusive content developed by the National Geographic Society.

The Greeks: From Agamemnon to Alexander

The SNF New Media Lab partnered with the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C., the Field Museum in Chicago, the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Canada, and Pointe-à-Callière Montréal Archeology and History Complex in Montréal, Canada to bring a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition of Greek history and culture to North American audiences. The exhibition featured artifacts from twenty-two Greek national museums, covering over 5,000 years of history, many of which had never before left the country. The Lab contributed a free mobile app, available for iOS and Android, with interactive timelines, augmented reality, social media integration, and exclusive content developed by the National Geographic Society.

Amazing Athens

Developed in partnership with the Greek Ministry of Tourism and the Greek National Tourism Organization, the Amazing Athens app was the first officially recognized mobile tourism app for the city of Athens. The app covered the most popular sites and attractions of the Greek capital and was the first in a series of mobile applications that allows visitors to discover and better explore the rich cultural heritage and natural treasures of Athens. The app originally launched for both iOS or Android devices.

The SNF New Media Lab launched a series of apps to re-engage a new generation with Greece’s lost Jewish legacy. The history of Greece’s Jewish communities is a long but tragic one, stretching back to St. Paul the evangelist’s first century visit. Once large and thriving, these communities, like many other centres in Europe, were tragically affected by the Holocaust and now only a small number remain. This project attempts to bring to life the communities of Thessaloniki, Hania, and Ioannina through virtual tours and geolocating technologies that allow users to step back in time and see the Jewish presence projected on the modern cityscape. These mobile apps are available for download for iOS devices and were developed in partnership with the Embassies of Canada and Israel to Greece, the German Consulate to Thessaloniki, and others.

Project partners, supporters and sponsors