Pools AwardSabhal Mòr Ostaig earned the distinction of a Silver Award for its POOLS project (Producing Open On Line Learning Systems) at a recent pan-European Conference in Prague on Innovation and Creativity in the Lifelong Learning Programme.

The award was one of only 18 awarded from a total of 250 projects involved in lifelong learning projects from all over Europe. Alison Dix, the College’s Head of Lifelong Learning, was in attendance with project colleague Kent Andersen to collect the prize from Ján Figel´, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Training and Youth, and Ondřej Liška Minister of Education ,Youth and Sports for the Czech Republic.

Gordon Wells, POOLS co-ordinator, said “The project took us into very productive collaboration with other colleges across Europe. While our focus is on Gaelic it was good to learn from, and contribute to, other language learning situations.” The award follows on the back of a European Award for Languages which was presented to the team for their bilingual Island Voices (Guthan nan Eilean) project in 2007.

Gordon Wells and his team are currently working alongside community partners throughout the Hebrides to create an expanded video archive. The archive aims to capture slices of contemporary life and work in the islands and will be beneficial for learners of both Gaelic and English. The project is supported by the European Social Fund.

A new POOLS-T project is also underway, which will continue co-operation with mainland European partners. Gordon Wells explained “The POOLS-T project will focus on developing learner-friendly access to online dictionaries. At the last count, our software development work here in the college was enabling links between over 40 different languages.”