SFU partnership aims to increase online Greek language learning

May 08, 2020

We’ve all heard the phrase “it’s all Greek to me” – well, Greek language education is about to get a whole lot easier thanks to a new partnership between Simon Fraser University’s Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Centre for Hellenic Studies and the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad.

StaEllinika, which means “in Greek”, is a joint initiative to distribute a suite of apps for Greek language education to young learners in the diaspora, free of charge thanks to the generous support of SNF. The current suite of apps includes beta versions for preschool learners, as well as students in early and late elementary and is accompanied by a growing catalogue of engaging videos on Greek cultural themes, now available on YouTube.

The current release was accelerated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to provide learning resources to parents, so they can carry on their children’s education while in a global lockdown. The final release is planned for the fall and will include more lessons and more learning material, as well as a version for young adults and a minicourse on Greek mythology. The Greek Ministry for Foreign Affairs has also expressed interest in customizing and adapting the platform for Spanish, German, and French users, transforming these apps into a truly global resource.

StaEllinika grew out the Rebooting the Greek Language project, a two-year initiative supported by the SNF, that is bringing the latest advances in mobile technology and pedagogy to heritage language training in the Greek diaspora. The project is led by SFU’s SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies and has brought together an international team of educators, developers, and designers working in a distributed – pandemic proof – workspace, dedicated to preserving and supporting Greek language education in communities around the world.

Dimitris Krallis, the director of the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies had this to say about StaEllinika: “We’re thrilled to be able to do our part during the current global crisis and support Greek diaspora communities, around the world.”

The current suite of apps is available for download on the Apple App store. Stay tuned for updates about the full fall release.