New Online Platform “Staellinika” Reconnects Greeks Abroad with Culture, Language

Credit: Hans Reniers/Unsplash

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for Hellenic Studies at Simon Fraser University and the General Secretariat for Public Diplomacy and Greeks Abroad of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the full release of Staellinika, a new online platform which reconnects Greeks abroad with the homeland of their ancestors.

Now, Staellinika users will be able to experience the full version of the web application, which has been available for several months in pilot form, according to the online tool’s developers.

Credit: Staellinika.com

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.

The platform’s creators have now realized their goal 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 their existing curriculum. It is offered for free thanks to very generous funding from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).

Credit: Staellinika.com

The Staellinika platform, at staellinika.com, and its suite of applications consists of a series of language and culture courses targeting learners from 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 (iphones and tablets).

Credit: Staellinika.com

With COVID-19 challenging the traditional system 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.

The platform, which can be accessed on all mobile devices, 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 learning platform include data analysis and machine learning tools which 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, states “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 and 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 SNF.

In partnership with the General Secretariat for Public Diplomacy and Greeks Abroad of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Staellinika can now be 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 beginning of September, Staellinika had already accumulated 13,000 registered users across all of its platforms.

Learn more about Staellinika at staellinika.com or download the apps now at staellinika.com/apps. And you may also follow the platform on its Facebook page, here.