Best Practice

Gramadach with Google Sites

A while ago, I attended a Byte-Size Session with Dr Louise Crowley, School of Law. In the session, Dr Crowley described her use of a WordPress site with students. It was I was listening to this talk that I got the idea for Gramadach. Gramadach is an Irish grammar Google site. I created it last summer with the help of Claire Fennell. I had no previous experience of creating web sites.

I found creating the actual site easy enough; it was the editing that proved challenging. I wanted to keep the layout as simple as possible, so I listed the grammar elements I wanted to focus on on the left of the page. I needed to put these items in order of difficulty as I wanted the students using the site to progress from one point to the next in a logical sequence. The most difficult thing for me was moving items around within the list. It took a bit of time to master this. Being able to copy and paste material into the site from word documents saved a lot of time. It was also possible to include Youtube clips in the listening section of Gramadach. I was very pleased with the final product which is a very simple resource in English explaining the basics of Irish grammar.

At the start of semester one, 2016, I gave the URL of the site to all of my students. At first, they couldn’t get into the site as it was password protected and there always seemed to be some difficulty getting into it. It was then Claire and I decided to remove the password and allow anyone with the URL to get have access. If you would like to visit the site, here is the URL: https://sites.google.com/a/ucc.ie/gramadach/

I began to use Gramadach in class as a way of showing my student’s grammar charts (the definite article rules, for example) and thus avoiding having to write the same things on the white board every week. It also meant I no longer had to photocopy endless copies of grammar notes as the students had immediate access to them through the site. So, what started out as a type of grammar book idea became a very useful teaching tool.

I realise that I have only scratched the surface in relation to what the Google sites can do, particularly in relation to language teaching.

Dr. Isobel Ní Riain (Roinn na Nua-Ghaeilge, UCC)