From Powys to Patagonia: learn, share, deliver and develop in Welsh

29 Oct 2013

A new Welsh language option of BigBlueButton is available in the latest release, bringing the open-source live classroom tool to thousands of learners with Welsh as their first or second language.

Cymraeg | English

The idea was the suggestion of Curon Davies, e-Learning Adviser for the Jisc RSC Wales who went on to develop and translate the resource so all users who wish to offer seamless provision through the medium of Welsh - wherever they might be in the world - are able to do so.

Peter Scott, Jisc RSC Wales Manager said: “On the surface it might seem straightforward to take an online learning environment and translate it into Welsh, but there are many nuances of the languages that Curon worked hard to resolve.

“It was necessary to consider the context that words appeared within the user interface, as part of the speech sense of a word was not obvious from the list that required translation. We’re really pleased with the result and hope the education and research community in Wales will be too.”

Several further education colleges within Wales already use the open-source BigBlueButton to provide a virtual classroom environment that is integrated with their Moodle virtual learning environment. This allows a web conference with audio, webcam, chat, video, and screen sharing and presentation slides along with other office-based documents. BigBlueButton had a user interface available in 20 fully translated languages with a simple drop down selection allowing a change of language mid-use. Welsh was not one of the language options available.

Claire Roberts, Director of Bilingualism at ColegauCymru/CollegesWales said: “The development of the Welsh language pack for BigBlueButton supports and underpins the sector’s commitment to developing opportunities for learners in further education across Wales to learn through the medium of Welsh.

“In enabling organisations to deliver learning through bilingual virtual systems, we are moving closer to realising the aspirations set out in our National Strategy for Bilingualism in Further Education.”

BigBlueButton is a stable and well tested platform that is easy to install as either a Virtual Appliance or with Ubuntu packages. Welsh localisation is available as of version 0.81-RC3, and will be available in the final 0.81 stable release which will be available soon. A demo of BigBlueButton, including the Welsh localisation is available on the demo site.

Further information and help on how to deploy BigBlueButton for supported providers can be obtained from support@rsc-wales.ac.uk.

In May 2013, the former Welsh Government Minister for Education and Skills set out four priorities for the Welsh further education sector in 2013/14. One of these four is the development of Welsh-medium provision.

 


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