- Nothing about us without us
This last week, to my surprise, I saw this article on the website homepage of Mount Royal University, where I work.The following description is in the article:
“A field school in the mountains last spring is being lauded as the best model to date of delivering Indigenous-centred curriculum in partnership with Indigenous stakeholders”
Students are taken to the lyarhe (Stoney) Nakoda first nation in Morley, Alberta for a week-long immersive learning experience that brings together Indigenous people and settler Canadians to explore reconciliation and Indigenous land relationships.
Community member Thomas Snow stated that:
“You can’t teach environmental reconciliation without being out on the land, and you can’t teach Indigenous students without learning from Indigenous peoples”
It’s definitely nice to see this sort of progress happening in my own community.
- Developing a Culturally Relevant eMentoring Program for Aboriginal Youth
This is a great article for better understanding how eMentoring can assist Indigenous students in succeeding in post-secondary, as well as some of the precautions that should be taken such as understanding cultural values, protocols, respect for land and elders, etc. in pursuing the development of eMentoring programs. The article further discusses how enhancing Indigenous education could also improve Indigenous health and wellness. eMentoring allows students to have better support on their traditional land, which is critical for place-based learning and community identity.
- Going Places: Preparing Inuit high school students for their future in a changing, wider world
After the last weblog, where I focused in on mobile education, particularly in Inuit communities, I wanted to explore this topic further as a potential avenue for narrowing my research topic. In my exploration I found this YouTube video which discusses Inuit learning and community investment into Inuit youth education. In watching this video, I have further recognized the importance of having community involvement in education. While this video in particular doesn’t discuss e-Learning or m-Learning, I think that it helps to further solidify the importance of community involvement in educational program, system, and tool development.
- Work-based Mobile Learning: Concepts and Cases (Google Book)
Although the section in this book on Indigenous learners is small, it was helpful to me in bringing to light how mobile devices could help assist Indigenous instructors and learners in developing their own narratives in their day-to-day lives. It is discussed that mobile devices can assist Indigenous workers in documenting their work and then being able to share their work with others. As well, mobile devices are a good medium, as many learners are already experts in using them, eliminating a difficult learning curve.
- Tablet PCs preserve Indigenous knowledge
While this article doesn’t discuss Canada’s Indigenous people, it does discuss, similar to the #4 article above, that mobile tablets can help with preserving knowledge. This article explains a specific application that uses 3D visualization of a village as well as drawing capabilities imitate the way elders share their knowledge which is similar to being physically present in the village. The article stresses the importance of having elders involved in the development of the app. Finally, the article discusses how tablets, using touch screens, are more intuitive than using computers and will eliminate some frustration and costs in implementing them.
I’m still in the process of deciding how I would like to narrow my research. At the moment, I am thinking of focusing on the benefits and/or disadvantages of e-Learning for Indigenous students. When I signed up for this course, it was my hope that I would gain some insight into how e-Learning opportunities could be offered to remote indigenous communities. I currently work in a post-secondary institution in a Continuing Education non-credit department, where a lot of our students are already within industry, but come to us to advance their skill set. Also, we get a lot of adult students that are looking for a career change, but don’t have the time, resources, or past credentials to enroll in a full-time credit diploma or degree program. I’ve now worked in my department for over two years, and although our primary audience (from what I see) is the middle-aged professional adult learner, we have very limited options for distance education, and especially for indigenous communities. After learning of the tragedy that continues of basically forcing children to leave their land and families to attend high school and even post-secondary, I kept thinking to myself: there must be a way to offer better educational resources while allowing Indigenous people to remain on their land. To me, this need to leave reserves for education still mirrors some of the issues that were faced by children in residential schools. My interest in this topic was intensified after reading “After the Makah Whale Hunt Indigenous Knowledge and Limits to Multicultural Discourse” when I learned how important land is to Indigenous identity, and I learned of the term “place based culture.”
Here are the first five of the resources I have found related to this topic:
This video further spiked my interest in exploring the need for e-Learning in rural Indigenous communities. Although this video doesn’t specifically focus on e-Learning, it focuses on the separation rural Indigenous Communities face in having to send students into larger “hub” cities to attend High School. These students generally live with strangers, and they suffer loneliness, depression, racism, etc. In many rural Indigenous communities (this film primarily discusses rural Northern Ontario communities) students are faced with the choice after grade eight of either staying home with their families and not attending High School, or leaving their family and their land to attend High School alone. The video comments on how not offering quality education within rural Indigenous communities is racial discrimination against children, and racial discrimination shouldn’t be a public policy that’s tolerated just to save money.
This makes me wonder what e-Learning could offer in helping Indigenous communities to stay together, and not be separated by lack of resources.
This article talks about post-secondary distance education and some of the challenges that need to be faced for successful implementation and adoption of e-Learning in remote regions. This article also reports on student experiences. Additionally, this article discusses the importance of giving First Nations people the opportunity to stay on their land in order to mitigate government efforts to remove them from their land to exploit resources. Finally, the article discusses the technology available to rural communities, and the benefits and drawbacks of these technologies.
This report was funded by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. Although this report focuses on Human Resource Development, this report does touch on the fact that “…one of the greatest potential areas for incurring both long-term economic and social benefits is by investing in online education created and provided in cooperation with Aboriginal communities” (p. 19). It also addressed some of the barriers still faced by Indigenous communities in offering successful online learning.
This article explores perspectives of e-Learning for Indigenous students in coastal communities in Labrador. It discusses the learning needs of Indigenous students and the “…achievement issues that continue to characterize aboriginal populations.” Additionally, it also discusses the opportunities and unique challenges that rural communities face with e-Learning.
This book discusses some of the challenges faced in deploying successful distance education courses. Although this book was published in 2003, it still offers a good insight into what education specialists, Metis, First Nation, and Inuit Organizations believe are the challenges communities face in implementing e-Learning. It touches on how it is important to recognize individual community and student needs, and not only common Indigenous needs across all of Canada. The book discusses issues related to cost, politics, and the “…perception that distance education is a second-rate option” (p. 8). This book discusses specific communities that have had distance education successes.
Marker, M. (2006). After the makah whale hunt: Indigenous knowledge and limits to multicultural discourse. Urban Education, 41(5), 482-505.
Tunison, S. (2007). Aboriginal learning: A review of current metrics of success. University of Saskatchewan, Aboriginal Education Research Centre, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and First Nations and Adult Higher Education Consortium, Calgary, Alberta. Retrieved from http://deslibris.ca.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/ID/218414
This document investigates the definition of success in learning for aboriginal students, provides indicators of success and then provides recommendations for educators. The author puts significant focus on the ‘learning spirit’ that “emerges from the exploration of the complex interrelationships that exist between the learner and his or her learning journey” (Tunison, 2007, p.10) prior to discussing pedagogy and technology.
Crossing Boundaries Aboriginal Voice. (2005). Aboriginal voice national recommendations: From digital divide to digital opportunity. Ottawa, ON. Retrieved from http://deslibris.ca.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/ID/241099
Although these recommendations include elearning, they also include recommendations around egovernment, cultural and linguistic preservation and sustainability. From what I gather, the recommendations were presented to a government agency but I was unable to find any follow up papers. The paper has some valuable points on elearning and information and communication technologies in aboriginal communities.
Kawalilak, C., Wells, N. (Little Mustache), Connell, L., Beamer, K. (2012). E-learning Access, Opportunities, and Challenges for Aboriginal Adult Learners Located in Rural Communities. College Quarterly, 15 (2).
This is a very relevant and fairly recent study done by Bow Valley College in Calgary done using research methods respectful of the communities that they were researching. The authors discuss four themes that surfaced in the study: “1) Building Capacity: Onsite Education, 2) Success Factors: Needs and Perspectives, 3) Relationships and Learning: The Human Factor, and 4) Technology: Bridges and Barriers” (Kawalilak, Wells, Connell, Beamer & Kate, 2012) and provide 12 specific recommendations based on these themes.
O’Donnell, S., Walmark, B., Hancock, B-R. (2010) Videoconferencing and Remote and Rural First Nations, in White, J., Peters, J., Beavon, D., Dinsdale, P. (eds) Aboriginal Policy Research Volume 6: Learning, Technology and Traditions. Toronto: Thompson Educational Publishing: 128-139.
Though video-conferencing seems to be used less since the publication of this article it has some interesting and useful comments that could certainly be transferable to other technologies in online courses (i.e. Skype, Google Hangouts, Blackboard Connect, Adobe Connect). The article is based on the premise that face to face contact is valuable to aboriginal students, a premise that has plenty of support. It explores the various functionalities of video-conference technologies with aboriginal students.
I found this article very interesting because it addresses some of the key challenges in creating an online learning environment that is culturally inclusive for Indigenous Australians. A summary of various studies is provided that highlight some of the characteristics that should be present in online technologies that promote successful learning opportunities for Indigenous students. Other suggestions include possible online tools, such as journals, chat rooms, discussion board and work spaces allocated for group work, as a means to support Aboriginal students in distance education settings.
This resource would be useful for anyone wanting to learn the possibilities in incorporating certain technological tools in their course site to support Aboriginal students in an online class that is shared with other students from different cultural backgrounds.