Getting Technical

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

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

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.

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