Press release; Greek language

The SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies at Simon Fraser University and the General Secretariat for Public Diplomacy and Greeks Abroad of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announce the full release of Staellinika

October 06, 2020
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The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for Hellenic Studies at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada, is pleased to announce the official release of Staellinika, in collaboration with the General Secretariat for Public Diplomacy and Greeks Abroad of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic and the support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF). Starting today, Staellinika users will be able to experience the full version of the web application, which in pilot form has been available for several months. 

Since its inception, Staellinika, an online platform and suite of apps developed by the SNF New Media Lab at the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies, has sought to provide individuals ranging from preschool-aged children to young adults with an innovative and engaging product designed to re-connect Greeks around the world with their heritage language and culture. Today’s full release sees this goal realized with the launch of a full course curriculum for beginner heritage learners in schools and for individuals at home. The platform can be used either as a stand-alone program to assist schools or to supplement existing curriculum. It is offered for free thanks to generous funding by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF). 

The Staellinika platform (staellinika.com) and suite of applications consists of a series of language and culture courses, which targets learners of different age groups. These courses include Beginners Greek for Ages 4+, Beginners Greek for Ages 6+, Beginners Greek for Ages 9+, Beginners Greek for Teens and Adults (Ages 13+) and Greek Mythology. The mobile apps are available for iOS and Android devices (phones and tablets). 

With COVID-19 challenging the traditional ecosystem of learning for young people around the world, now more than ever, educational institutions are relying on technology to deliver content that supports students by way of effective pedagogy. Staellinika responds to this crisis and to the ever-increasing dependence on digital technology to facilitate remote learning by privileging accessibility and innovative pedagogy. 

The platform can be accessed on mobile devices and relies on principles of microlearning and gamification. Users learn in short intervals of time and are exposed to video game features such as scores, points, rewards, and more, to promote the desire for continued engagement with the Greek language. 

Other features of the full release include data analysis and machine learning tools that monitor student performance. Designed with teachers and parents in mind, these analytical tools provide valuable insights for evaluating and supporting users’ learning habits and progress.

The Director of the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies at Simon Fraser University, Dr. Dimitris Krallis, noted about the launch that:

The team at the SNF New Media Lab at SFU and our partners around Greece and across the world, feel grateful for the opportunity afforded us by the generosity of SNF, to embark upon a rewarding creative journey. With SNF’s assistance we were able to bring together Canadian and Greek expertise in ways that bridged continents and constituted a team, whose creativity and innovation makes Staellinika a tool ideally suited for learning in this early part of the 21st century. We are proud to be able to serve Greek communities around the world, both in conditions of social distancing but also in what should be a brighter and more optimistic era to follow. We see Staellinika as an illustration of the creativity and generosity of a global Hellenism that works across borders in the service of both Hellenes and our friends the world over.

An interdisciplinary team of developers, animators, and educators coordinated by the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies have been working for over two years to develop the online platform and suite of apps now available to the diaspora. Those involved in the project are particularly proud of the young talented interns from Greece who have been pivotal in bringing Staellinika to life.

The Greek language is a gateway to modern Greek culture—yes to the works of Cavafy and Kazantzakis, but also to a thriving global community and its rich traditions. At this moment when the pandemic has narrowed our horizons in so many ways, SNF is proud to have helped support tools for young people to reconnect with their heritage by discovering something new, the joy of learning Greek,

said Andreas Dracopoulos, Co-President of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).

In partnership with the General Secretariat for Public Diplomacy and Greeks Abroad of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Staellinika is used as a core tool for teaching and learning the Modern Greek language, mythology and elements of Greek culture throughout the Greek diaspora. In May, the platform was made available as a pilot in select schools of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, and the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies at SFU.

At the start of September, Staellinika had already accumulated 13,000 registered users across all of its platforms.

For more information about the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies and its programs, please visit our Media page.

You can visit the Staellinika website for more information. The SNF New Media Lab has for years been at the forefront of educational technologies, and you can learn about their current and past projects on the Lab page, elsewhere on our website.