AYM is a British Columbia-based organization that promote and share 21st century literacy skills. They strive to provide youth-friendly training in a culturally-relevant learning environment. The youth can connect with elders, other Aboriginal youth groups, and business mentors. They also strive to promote the diversity of Indigenous languages, cultures, and the ways of knowing and teaching. AYM also claims to decolonize and “Youth-enize” curriculum by including youth and elder voices, Indigenous knowledge, and technology to create a unique and inclusive learning environment.
AYM like to bring in community partners, elders, professional facilitators and guest speakers to teach and co-teach with Aboriginal youth. They encourage youth to put their new skills to work in non-profit organizationa or local bands as writers, reporters, videographers, website designers, and workshop facilitators.
The 21st century literacy skills mentioned above include digital literacy (using various technologies), interpersonal skills (the Coast Salish tradition of witnessing events), cultural literacy skills (re-learning and rediscovering the diversities of indigenous cultural traditions. Learning these literacy skills means that Aboriginal youth will be able to professional create, publish, and promote their own stories, media messages, and art in their own voices and styles.
This organizations sounds like a wonderful resource for Aboriginal youth in the lower mainland of BC. There is easy access to podcasts, online articles, videos, stories, and surveys. AYM reminds me somewhat of Module 3s video where a group of youth traveled down the Fraser River to explore and learn about culture and heritage. This organization seems to be able to do the same with youth.
Keeping with the theme of digital divide, today I introduce you to Manitoba First Nations SchoolNet. Manitoba First Nations SchoolNet provides connectivity services, technical support, youth employment and other services to 84 First Nations Schools and 61 CAP sites in Manitoba. Through this program, First Nations students can receive IC3 certification. This initiative clearly works to combat the effects of the digital divide for the First Nations People of Manitoba. Below is a companion video which discusses the unique challenges Manitoba First Nations have in overcoming the digital divide.
I’m trying to refocus some of my postings on here back to my proposed paper topic. Lately many of my posts have been connected to Inuit culture as I find it personally quite fascinating. Nonetheless, my post for today is actually a link to a project by a fellow UBC student named Cindy Plunkett. For her ETEC540 weblog she has posted on digital literacy and one her emphases has been on the digital divide in Canada. You can view her piece here: http://cleach.wordpress.com/digital-divide-in-canada/
The second paragraph deals with aboriginal education. She cites academic sources in highlighting some of the unique challenges faced by aboriginals. One of the top issues identified was connectivity and access to the Internet. These will be items addressed in my research paper.
The focus of my weblog entries from here forward will be to explore aboriginal access to technology by looking more closely at digital divide and digital literacy issues, discuss what is unique about aboriginal access and tie in the aboriginal tradition of story telling. My un-researched opinion currently is that I would guess that the digital divide in aboriginal communities is greater than in most other communities. I believe that the oral tradition of aboriginal communities, and the strong tradition of story telling has likely served as a backbone for culture history and because it has trumped the written word for so long it has also, perhaps, delayed the adoption of digital means of cultural transmission. As pointed out in our first module, however, these digital transmissions are not culturally neutral in of themselves. This is another aspect which can be tied into the discussion of aboriginal education and the digital divide. To this end, my next posting to share communally relates closely with this topic.
This survey completed by stats Canada in the winter of 2004 highlights deficiencies in internet access and online skills for aboriginals. This ties directly to the notion that the digital divide is more acute in aboriginal communities and will connect well with my research topic.