Tag Archives: Broadband

Internet Technology and First Nations Education

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1RUesqalw4&playnext=1&list=PL96F8DAA1B6BC9C71

This video shows Denise Williams talking about internet technology can strengthen First Nations education. Williams is a youth initiative officer for the First Nations Education Steering Committee. One question she was asked is “How would you like to see internet technology used in First Nations education over the coming years?

Williams mentions that there is hope of being able to use the internet to bridge the gap between the teachers that are available to teach and those subjects areas that are still  in need of instructors (such science, math, and physics). The internet can allow for learning activities that involve video conference and Skype. Williams also mentions that with the internet, there is also hope for sharing resources between teachers and communities.

Another question for Williams is “How does the digital divide manifest itself in First Nations schools in BC?” Williams answers by saying that the digital divide in a community sense is different than the divide in education. She says in education, the divide is in the experience of the student. For example, many First Nations students go to school where they experience mainly textbook based learning with limited access and experience with internet activities that could enhance and further their educational experience.

The third question asked is “How does internet technology improve education for First Nations students?” Williams explains that students who are going to schools with internet connectivity and IT have a different perspective on what is possible in the world. They realize that there are different ways in which they can get their education and that they do not neccessarily need to leave their community to gain education. They also have the opportunity to view the possible careers that they can have that would enable them to work from home (such as webdeveloping and art-related careers). With technology, First Nations youth are able to see many more possibilities out there in the world and explore, for themselves, who they can become.

This video is very inspiring as it talks about the benefits of internet technology to First Nations youth in British Columbia. It would be a useful resource for anyone looking to explore more about the digital divide in BC, as well as the effects of broadband connection in remote communities in BC.

Aboriginal Youth and Internet Technologies

http://arago.cprost.sfu.ca/smith/research/fncr/Youth.pdf

This paper is written by the First Nations Connectivity research team at SFU. It discusses aboriginal youth and internet technologies and the issues affecting remote communities of British Columbia. The article puts emphasis on youth as the wealth and wellbeing of young people will directly shape the future of all British Columbians. This reminds me of Module 3 where the topic of aboriginal youth and cultural preservation were discussed.

Broadband connectivity can play an important role in these various youth programs, as it helps remote communities work together to tackle major problems. This article also connects a range of youth issues to broader Aboriginal movements in BC, in order to demomstrate the interconnectedness of broadband uses in remote communities. Developing the infrastructure and knowledge-base needed to fully exploit the internet’s potential is largely inseparable from grassroots Aboriginal movements and initiatives.

This article would be useful for someone who is interested in investigating technology use in remote communities in British Columbia. It would also be interesting for someone who is doing research on Aboriginal youth and the effects of technology on cultural preservation revitalization.

Language Preservation and Revitalization Through Technology

The goal of my research will be similar to Nicola’s: examining ways that indigenous groups are using technology to help preserve and revitalize languages. I had the opportunity to work for the Ktunaxa Nation Tribal Council for a year writing proposals to generate funding to support their wide variety of projects. A couple of the proposals were to support the preservation and revitalization of their almost extinct isolate language. Both proposals were funded: one for doing an inventory of fluent speakers and the other to initiate the development of a high speed broadband system to connect their five rural communities to support language preservation.  I ended up writing the final report for the fluent speaker project as the Ktunaxa researcher hired to do the work left the community after the interviews were completed and the data was compiled. At that time in 2002 there were only about 36 fluent speakers alive, however, today I understand the total has dwindled to about 20.

At the end of 2002 I moved back to Calgary and became involved in mainstream technical post-secondary education; however the challenge of the dwindling Ktunaxa fluent speaker population was always in the back of my mind. Now with my enrolment in this course, I started to think about how the Ktunaxa Nation language preservation and broadband project had evolved. I reconnected with my former boss and realized that finding out more about how indigenous people use technology to preserve and revitalize their languages is something that I would like to know more about.

First Nations Technology Council

The First Nations Technology Council (FNTC) maintains a website that supports the integration of technologies intended to improve the quality of life for all British Columbia First Nations. The mandate of the FNTC is to develop a First Nations Technology Plan to ensure the 203 BC First Nations are connected with high speed broadband, have access to affordable, qualified technical support and, have the skills needed to access technologies that can improve their lives.

The website has a menu with links to many resources including a Community Applications section where First Nation projects are highlighted and a link through the First Nations BC Portal to the First Nations in British Columbia website.