I am really interested in researching the success as well as the barriers to mobile learning for Indigenous youth in Canada. Mobile technologies can offer many advantages that traditional means struggle to provide for students, such as bridging formal and informal learning opportunities. However, mobile education is very new territory, and as an educator, I would like to learn more about how to support this new avenue of educational technology, so that Indigenous learners, already the most disadvantaged students in Canada, are supported through appropriate educational programming.
The more that I researched this topic, the more interested I became in language preservation through mobile technology, and how this can potentially give a voice to Aboriginal youth. It also raises several concerns about knowledge preservation and access (e.g., those who do not have mobile devices or have limited connection).
Cowan, D., McGarry, F.M., Moran, H., McCarthy, D. D., & King, C. (n.d.). Information technology to support Indigenous Peoples [PDF]. Retrieved from https://uwaterloo.ca/canadian-index-wellbeing/sites/ca.canadian-index-wellbeing/files/uploads/files/information_technology_to_support_indigenous_peoples.pdf
- In this article, the authors conducted a study on the effects that Dreamcatcher software had on knowledge sharing and curation within some Indigenous populations in Canada. Dreamcatcher is an interactive mapping service that has been co-designed with Aboriginal communities from Ontario, Canada. Attached to the maps are interactive stories and knowledge about specific communities in Canada. The authors of the study outline several advantages of using this software, but also provide insight into the considerations of using technology that is so closely tied to Indigenous cultural identity and language. There is also a really interesting section on the concerns people have regarding Indigenous knowledge that was meant to be private accidentally becoming public knowledge because of security issues.
The Endangered Languages Project. (2017). Browse resources by category [Web page]. Retrieved from http://www.endangeredlanguages.com/
- In 2012, Google launched a curated website called The Endangered Languages Project, which catalogues languages from around the world, including some Indigenous languages in Canada. There are many interesting resources (related to the intersection of language and technology) as well as research that supports the importance of language revitalization on a global scale. This seems like a very useful website for observing the intricacies of local and global knowledge. Although the website is a little tough to navigate because of the limited browsing and search options, I think it is useful for those interested in learning about how to support endangered languages through mobile technology. The blog on this website is also particularly helpful and is easier to navigate for focused material than the actual website.
Franks, S., & Gessner, S. (2013). A guide to language policy and planning for B.C. First Nations Communities [PDF]. Retrieved from First Peoples’ Cultural Council website: http://www.fpcc.ca/files/PDF/Language_Policy_Guide/FPCC_Policy_Guide_2013.pdf
- This 142-page guide outlines reasons why language revitalization is essential to preserving Indigenous knowledge, but also offers important information about why some current efforts to preserve languages and knowledge through technology have had adverse effects on Indigenous populations in Canada. The guide offers educational policy suggestions that could be helpful for educators who are interested in supporting learning opportunities that help Indigenous students transmit their language and culture. Finally, the guide offers important insight into community-based education, and why it’s important that educators and policy makers look at the needs of the community or specific body of learners first before implementing policy or learning activities (p. 72). This seems especially important as we introduce mobile learning into the classroom.
Perrier, C. (2016, May 20). Keyboard app brings Indigenous languages to mobile [Newspaper article]. Retrieved from CBC News website: http://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/indigenous-language-app-1.3586511
- A CBC article reports that some Indigenous language speakers will now be able to talk, speak, and text using their traditional language through the FirstVoices app. For many years, online platforms have catered to the English language and not included other languages and voices, so this app, and others like it, could be a step in the right direction in terms of acknowledging diverse Canadian voices. As I was reading through this article, I was excited by the prospect of Aboriginal youth connecting to their Elders through the power of language. Plus, this app would certainly be interesting to utilize in the classroom. However, I question who designed this app, and for what purposes. What are the assumptions and biases that have gone into the production of this app?
Pulla, S. (2015, October 30). Mobile learning and Indigenous education in Canada: A synthesis of new ways of learning [Report]. Retrieved from Royal Roads University website: http://www.siomonnpulla.com/downloads/pulla-knowledge-synthesis-report.pdf
- This executive summary is written in a very approachable way and provides a detailed overview of the influence that mobile education has had on Aboriginal youth. In this summary, the author provides many examples and case studies of mobile education, but also warns against using this technology as a Band-Aid solution to fix the injustices that Indigenous learners have faced in traditional Western schools. What I found particularly interesting was the section on how mobile learning can potentially assist in Indigenous language revitalization (p. 19). While the author makes several interesting points, including how social media can effect positive change, I question how Indigenous people feel about the preservation of knowledge, including language, on mobile apps that pose serious privacy and security risks, not to mention who has access to this knowledge, and for what purposes.