Category Archives: Module 1

Module 1 – Post 5 – Social Media and Indigenous Peoples by Kevin Andrews

Based on my initial research it looks like Indigenous people use social media at a rate higher than non-Indigenous people, and this is the case right across the country. My research on social media, reveals that for most Indigenous people, social media is an everyday activity. For some, social media provides a way to learn and express their Indigenous identity in a safe space.

During my initial research, I’ve found some uniquely Indigenous activities on social media and while many non-Indigenous youths are dropping social media platforms like Facebook because their parents have profiles, Indigenous youth are actively engaging with older generations and maintaining intergenerational connections. In addition, my initial research is showing that older Indigenous are now reporting that social media provided them with cultural and family connectivity that they did not have before.

Social media has in many ways bridged distances and is, as the founder of Electronic Frontier Foundation, John Barlow, suggests, a “world that is both everywhere and nowhere”. In this way, Indigenous populations worldwide are interacting online and supporting Indigenous issues and causes in a global collective. Given the similarities of experiences with colonization, Indigenous peoples can relate to, engage with and support each other on social media. However, research also confirms that the public can be traumatized by indirect exposure to certain events through social media.

For anyone interested in learning more about Indigenous people and trauma on social media, I have found two interesting articles. The first is a chapter in IndigenousX anthology titled, “#Overwhelmed: Juggling the stress and positive potential of social media IRL”, and the second, titled “Trauma, Shared Recognition and Indigenous Resistance on Social media” issue of the Australasian Journal of Information Systems. Food for thought!

Module 1 – Post 4 – The Impact of Technology on Indigenous Peoples by Kevin Andrews

Because of technology, we now have a new understanding of culture and communication. Indigenous peoples across the world have been affected by the introduction of technologies from foreign cultures for hundreds of years. Some have not dramatically changed their ways of life, while others have completely changed self-identities, entire societies, and worldviews.

Modern technologies, especially telecommunication and computer technologies, allow indigenous groups to participate in the larger societies and economies around them. These technologies also enable them to preserve and promote their way of life for their descendants and for our collective knowledge of human history.

Some resources I’ve been able to find so far that give a general overview of the effect of technology on indigenous cultures include the following:

  • Casey, James. “Native networking: Telecommunications and Information Technology in Indian Country.” Benton Foundation Online. Homepage online. Available from http://www.benton.org/Library/Native; Internet; Accessed 22 Sept 2017.

 

  • Warschauer, Mark. “Technology and Indigenous Language Revitalization: Analyzing the Experience of Hawaii”. Homepage online. Available from http://bit.ly/2htGVIP; Internet; Accessed 21 Sept 2017.

 

In addition, there are many different examples of beneficial uses of new technology. Several Web sites demonstrate the potential benefits that can be gained by using video conferencing technology, digitization of documents, and radio broadcast over the Internet include the following:

  • U.S. Department of Commerce. “Native American Herbal Tea Company Finds Customers Using Latest Video Technology.” Access America Exporting 11. [e-journal] http://bit.ly/2xrNi69; Internet; Accessed 21 Sept 2017.

 

  • The National Indian Law Library. “Native American Constitution and Law Digitization Project.” Home page online. Available from http://thorpe.ou.edu/; Internet; Accessed 21 Sept 2017.

 

  • Native American Public Telecommunications. “Native American Public Telecommunications.” Home page online. Available from http://www.nativetelecom.org; Internet; Accessed 21 Sept 2017.

Entry #5 – CBC News – Indigenous

(http://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous)

The CBC has an online category on its news website dedicated to news stories that are relevant to Indigenous audience members. This area of the site includes new articles, blog links, videos, radio links, and opinion pieces. This resource is particularly useful for examining contemporary issues involving and affecting Indigenous peoples and communities in various areas of Canada. The same and similar resources are also available in French through the Radio-Canada branch of CBC. Of note is that the news stories are not simply about Indigenous peoples, but rather for Indigenous cultural perspectives, such as a section on hunting and gathering issues that contains an article about pickerel. This website is valuable for examining currently relevant issues and topics, as well as for recognizing how the media can be connected to and support Indigenous worldview.

Entry #4 – Gabriel Dumont Institute Virtual Museum of Métis History and Culture

(http://www.metismuseum.ca/)

This online museum is full of digitized collections of artifacts, videos, audio recordings, photographs, and other resources pertaining to the historical and present day culture and experiences of the Métis peoples. They also provide learning resources for educators, both print and online, linguistic tools for Michif (the Métis language), and ongoing and temporary exhibits. They list links to the Virtual Museum of Canada online resource about Batoche, as well as copious links to external websites under the categories of Aboriginal, Archive and Museum, Canadian History and Archaeology, Genealogy, Government and Youth Empowerment, Métis History/Culture/Politics, and Michif. The thousands of components of the online museum combined with the multitude of external links make this resource a valuable research tool for both primary and secondary sources.

Entry #3 – University of Saskatchewan Indigenous Studies Portal Research Tool

(http://iportal.usask.ca/)

The iPortal is a database that contains both freely accessible and licensed resources (text and visual) connected primarily to the Canadian context of Aboriginal peoples, but also expanding to include a broader North American context as well. The range of resource types is broad, including but not limited to archival documents, photographs, e-books, websites, field notes, and artwork. The database is fully searchable or can be browsed through categories such as Spirituality or Economic Development. A project created in cooperation with many individuals and organizations, this database is a valuable resource for finding various resource types relevant to the Canadian Aboriginal context.

Entry #2 – Office of the Treaty Commissioner

(http://www.otc.ca/)

The Office of the Treaty Commissioner focuses on building and maintaining bilateral relationships between the Canadian Government and the Federation of Sovereign Indian Nations, as well as between First Nations and non-First Nations peoples in Saskatchewan. Their site offers information and media releases on relevant current events and issues, resources pertaining to the history of treaties in the province, and opportunities to connect with speakers and attend workshops facilitated by the OTC. As the voice of treaty relationships in the province, the OTC provides both up-to-date and historical information about the applications and implementation of the Treaty principles in Saskatchewan.

Entry #1 – Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre

(http://www.sicc.sk.ca/index.html)

The stated goal of the SICC’s online presence is to enable access to information about Saskatchewan First Nations. Their website offers cultural and linguistic information and multimedia pertaining to the eight main First Nations groups in Saskatchewan, as well as information about upcoming events and programs, and a catalogue of hard copy resources that are available to order. Subdivided under each cultural group, they also offer many links to further sources of information. The SICC is affiliated with the Federation of Sovereign Indian Nations, and as such, the information and resources contained within the site have been shared from an authentic First Nations perspective of representative value. This site is a useful place to gain an understanding of provincially-relevant cultures and to expand upon such research through their further connections.

Module 1 – Post 3 – One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) in Peru by Kevin Andrews

Few would argue against the notion that the One Laptop Per Child project (OLPC, originally referred to by many as the ‘$100 laptop project’) has been the most high-profile educational technology initiative for developing countries and Indigenous cultures over the past half-decade or so. It has garnered more media attention, and incited more passions (pro and con), than any other program of its kind. What was ‘new’ when OLPC was announced back in 2005 has become part of mainstream discussions in many places today (although it is perhaps interesting to note that, to some extent, the media attention around the Khan Academy is crowding into the space in the popular consciousness that OLPC used to occupy), and debates around its model have animated policymakers, educators, academics, and the general public in way that perhaps no other educational technology initiative has ever done.

The largest OLPC program to date, however, has not been in Uruguay, but rather in Peru, and many OLPC supporters have argued that the true test of the OLPC approach is perhaps best studied there, given its greater fealty to the underlying pedagogical philosophies at the heart of OLPC and its focus on rural, less advantaged communities. Close to a million laptops are meant to have been distributed there to students to date (902,000 is the commonly reported figure, although I am not sure if this includes the tens of thousands of laptops that were destroyed in the fire at a Ministry of Education warehouse).

What do we know about the impact of this ambitious program?The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) released a long-awaited working paper detailing findings from its evaluation of the OLPC program in Peru. While OLPC has been the subject of much research interest (some of decent quality, some decidedly less so; the OLPC wiki maintains a very useful list of this research), Technology and Child Development: Evidence from One Laptop per Child Program in Peru is meant to be the first large-scale evaluation of the program’s impact using randomized control trials (considered by many in the evaluation community as the ‘gold standard’ for this sort of thing).

With reference to all the problems related to the Peruvian OLP project I feel it was two folded. On one hand, there was no previous training for teachers to develop methodological capacities to exploit the potential of those computers. Teachers basically taught the children how to operate the device, and that was it. On the other hand, it was one of many other big projects that had the aim to create noise in favor of President Garcia.

 

Module 1 – Post 2 – The One Laptop Per Child Program (OLPC) by Kevin Andrews

As part of my interest and research focus on the influence of technology on Indigenous culture and the issues that surround it and online sources that criticize the program from an Indigenous culture standpoint, I thought I would take this post to provide further information on OLPC. Founded in 2010, OLPC Canada (One Laptop Per Child Program) is a non-profit organization that works with corporate sponsors, service groups, individuals donors and Indigenous leadership to enhance education for Indigenous students by providing access to technology that is rich in educational and cultural content.

The official OLPC website can be found here: http://one.laptop.org/ and you can find the founder of the program, Nicholas Negroponte talk about the program when it first began back in 2006 here on Ted Talks OLPC

Additionally, there are a few Youtube links that describe the OLPC initiative, they can be found here:

Youtube OLPC Video 1

And

Youtube OLPC Video 2

As the videos describe, the idea behind the OLPC program is both ambitious and noble: to educate the world. But, can such a program be successful? Is the program just another way that Western ideals are being imposed on Indigenous cultures? Throughout the course of this semester, I hope to answer these questions.

Module 1 Weblog: Josh Campbell

Technology is NOT Culturally Neutral

I came across this page, perhaps obviously, in the exploration of our first discussion question.  While its conclusion is made clear in its title, and I didn’t whole-heartedly agree with the author’s thesis, the inclusion of Neil Postman’s thoughts, (““we rarely talk about television, only about what is on television—that is, about its content.”) caught my attention, and gave cause for thought.  

I find myself doing just as Postman suggests, in that I often look at the content of digital media and the internet, as opposed to the existence of it, when analyzing its use and effects on culture and education.

 

Oral to Digital Storytelling in the Haida-Gwaii

This page (and video) outlines one of the initiatives in School District #50, Haida Gwaii.  For this project, the teacher identified the following goals:

  • to explore the possibilities of the iPad as a tool for language development.
  • To become more comfortable with using various apps for story creation.
  • For students to understand that technology is a tool for learning and not just a device for entertainment.
  • To support Haida language development, cultural learning and social emotional learning.
    To Increase their engagement and connections to the Haida culture in an engaging and meaningful way.
  • To collaborate with the Elders to preserve and revitalize their language using 21st century learning tools.

To this end, SET-BC was able to support the classroom team with various technologies and training.

Disclosure:  While I work for SET-BC, this wasn’t my initiative, rather was headed by a colleague who put this resource together.

 

Place-Based Learning in Aboriginal Communities

This 10-minute YouTube video has Suzanne Stewart, a member of the Yellowknife Dene First Nation, and Associate Professor of Indigenous Healing in Counselling Psychology, OISE, discussing the concept, philosophy and practice of Place-Based Learning, specifically in Aboriginal Communities.

In her interview, Suzanne outlines that Place-Based Learning is not only about the geographical context of learning, but also the “socio, political, and cultural position of the student and their family.”

 

First Nations Technology Council

The First Nations Technology Council is a BC-Based, unfunded organization that seems to bridge government, industry, academia and First Nations communities.  It does to across four distinct areas: Digital Skills Development, Connectivity, Information Management, and Technical Support & Services.

Bringing connectivity to remote communities is a major issue in British Columbia, but failure to do so creates an chasm of economic potential.  Part of this council’s

This Technology Council, based out of British Columbia plans to educate community members about the importance of digital and connected technologies in hopes to ensure Indigenous collaboration and involvement in the growing technological sector. Their goals are structures around 4 themes: digital skills development, connectivity, information management, and technical services and support.

 

BC Ministry of Education: Aboriginal Education Teaching Tools and Resources

This website includes a number of valuable resources when it comes to bringing context and meaning to Aboriginal Education in BC.  

Of particular interest:

In the larger context, these resources are a part of the Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements put in place through the acknowledgement that, “Historically, British Columbia schools have not been successful in ensuring that Aboriginal students receive a quality education, one that allows these students to succeed in the larger provincial economy while maintaining ties to their culture.”