Tag Archives: Apps

Literacy and Digital Story-telling

Weblog Module #1:

As Katie mentions in her post, I too am interested in digital story telling that is created by indigenous peoples to share with neighbouring communities. For now, I’m extremely intrigued with the N’we Jinan artists who record their own music to share with districts across BC. Hare discusses how connected Aboriginal people are to their land and surroundings when he says, “Indigenous knowledge is intimately connected to land, where meaning and identity are constructed through landscapes, territory, and relationships with the natural world” (Hare, 2011, p.92). For myself, I cannot help but notice how connected I am to my devices and cannot imagine going hours, days, or weeks without my phone. I often find myself so focused on the 6-inch screen in front of me; rather than what is around me. The resources below are a starting point for me to attempt to unearth the connection between literacy and digital media. This is where I will look at lyrics from the N’we Jinan YouTube channel and connect it to independent films created by Aboriginal Actors/producers. Again, this is only the first module, so my focus may change as we begin to explore other topics.

  1. Aboriginal Enhancement Agreement (SD41)

The Burnaby School District (SD41) Aboriginal Program provides relevant programming and services to students of Aboriginal ancestry. The program is in congruence with the Aboriginal Enhancement Agreement. The agreement is built on the foundation of mutual respect, understanding and ownership over the success of our students of Aboriginal ancestry. The Agreement has 3 main goals:

  • To increase Aboriginal learners’ connection to school and community that supports and reflects Aboriginal cultural values and perspectives
  • To increase the knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal history, traditions and cultures for all learners
  • To enhance academic achievement of all Aboriginal learners within the Burnaby School District

This pdf document outlines goals that enhances academic achievement of all Aboriginal learners within the Burnaby School District. The motto of this document is called “Strong Together,” and I believe that this agreement is a true reflection of how the community wishes education to progress in Burnaby, so that students of Aboriginal ancestry have the opportunity to maximize their full potential.

  1. Aboriginal Education in Burnaby Schools website

This is Burnaby District’s Aboriginal Education website for students, parents and educators in our district. The website provides updates, resources for new teachers and scholarship opportunities for our students. What I like most about this resource is the section on reconciliation and residential schools. Teachers are encouraged to use the PDF documents, video series, and an introduction to “100 Years of Loss App.” These resources have allowed me to bring up the topic of residential schools with my students, as we read through stories and begin to understand how difficult it was for families to recover from the trauma sustained while attending these schools.

  1. Chief Dr. Robert Joseph Ted Talk

Dr. Robert Joseph came and presented at our district Pro-D-Day last year and let me tell you, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Attached is a glimpse of how the Truth and Reconciliation was created to allow First Nations people to share their truths, as a mend to help heal from the racism and intolerance experienced by them. Dr. Joseph is the Hereditary Chief of the Gwawaenuk First Nation’s group, who has dedicated his life to bridging the differences brought about by intolerance, lack of understanding and racism in Canada. At the end of his speech to us, he said, “Let us find a way to belong to this time and place together. Our future, and well-being of all our children rests with the kind of relationships we build today. We are one.” To book Dr. Joseph for a professional development opportunity, click here: BOOK NOW

  1. We Are Medicine – N’we Jinan Artists

(I didn’t know that Danielle posted about this group too, so I’ll leave this up as a connection to hers)

As I was working through the readings in Module 1, one of the biggest topics that I came across is how stories are being told and how technology is being used to share these stories. I immediately thought of a family I met last year at the inner-city school I taught at. During breakfast club last year, there was one family that had just moved from Bella Coola, BC. The eldest girl in the family was in my Grade 6 class, and for her “get to know me” project, she introduced a video that her cousins and her made the past summer in Bella Coola. The music video “We are Medicine,” talks about the Nuxalk youth of Bella Coola, who have big dreams and hopes for their future. They are faced with many daily struggles, such as low income, addiction, and some learning difficulties. But, the best way to heal is through people. Their way of storytelling is through music. The song, “We are Medicine” shows their faith, their choices, their hearts and their character as the medicine that allows them to heal. This music video does an amazing job on addressing stereotypes and labels that have been attached to these youth, and how these youths are overcoming their challenging circumstances. Their voices are heard and their stories are now being shared across our district. For more videos on the N’we Jinan, please visit their Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3cGlc6u–We2a6TTi2gK5Q and their website: http://nwejinan.com/

  1. 100 years of Loss App

Since this is a technology class, I thought it would be fitting to explore the free app created by Tristan Interactive. The developer “Acoustiguide Interactive” takes a personalized approach to immerse and redefine the way people visit museums, art galleries, parks and cities. This app explores the lives of Aboriginal families starting from the mid 1800s and continuing until the mid 1990s. As a non-Indigenous person educating in BC’s school system, I must feel comfortable to incorporate Aboriginal studies into my curriculum. Since I’m quite nervous to teach about this material, I must get the facts straight, so what better way than to utilize our iPads and this wonderful resource. The app shows a timeline of major events throughout Canada. My students like that the content is simplified and presented in a different way than a textbook.

6. AbEd Opportunities in September/October

Our AbEd teacher at our school sent teachers the memo below to address Orange Shirt Day which is coming up on September 30th.

“September 30th has been declared Orange Shirt Day annually, in recognition of the harm the residential school system did to children’s sense of self-esteem and wellbeing, and as an affirmation of our commitment to ensure that everyone around us matters. As September 30 falls on a weekend this year, we hope you can choose a day near the 30th to honour this within your school community.”

Here is the official link for this event: CLICK ME

Additionally, UBC has some amazing workshops that are being offered on October 17th and October 21st. See below:

The PDCE office at the UBC Faculty of Education is proud to be offering two online MOOCs this fall:

A MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course. Our MOOCs are modular, self-paced and non-credit online courses offered by the University of British Columbia, and delivered on the edX platform.

Please share the information about these MOOCs (below) with your colleagues at  Burnaby Youth HUB and Take a Hike Secondary Program, or with anyone else whom you feel would benefit and may find them of interest. We are excited to be offering these courses, and to be sharing them with you!

For more information, please visit pdce.educ.ubc.ca/MOOC.




Hare, J. (2011) Learning from Indigenous knowledge in education. In D. Long and O. P. Dickenson (Eds.), Visions of the heart, 3rd Edition (pp. 91-112). Toronto, ON; Oxford University Press.


Module 1 Weblog Entry – Anne Coustalin

BCTF Aboriginal Education Teaching Resources


This site is an excellent resource for British Columbia educators wanting to integrate Aboriginal Ways of Knowing into their practice. It provides a comprehensive (but not exhaustive) list of links connecting teachers to relevant resources that provide essential background and perspective on: the treaty process; the historical timeline of European contact and colonization (pre-contact to 2015); Indian Residential Schools and their legacy; and creating an inclusive, racism free classroom community. Of particular note is the BCTF-created document Beyond Words: Creating Racism-Free Schools for Aboriginal Learners. This resource offers practical information that speaks directly to issues teachers may confront in the classroom, with a focus on racism, understanding the rules of culture and how they may present in the classroom, and creating an inclusive community.


Two-Eyed Seeing

Two-Eyed Seeing (Etuaptmumk in Mi’kmaw) is a concept introduced by Mi’kmaw Elder Albert Marshall in 2004. It is described as the guiding principles of how one should live on this Earth and is discussed by Elder Albert Marshall and Cheryl Bartlett. The concept was developed in response to the lack of representation of Indigenous students in the sciences and mathematics, particularly at the university level. It recognizes that there are different ways of looking at the world. The two ways that are particularly relevant in Canada are through the lens of Western science and through an Indigenous lens.  Two-eyed seeing refers to finding the strengths in both paradigms and mindfully bringing them together – drawing upon the deep understandings that each represents. When we employ two-eyed seeing, we very quickly realize that science alone is not going to save the natural world. Instead, a change of mindset must occur and the Indigenous way of seeing must simultaneously be employed so that people have a path to move forward on the planet together. The video describes the concept and provides the context of its introduction.


Two-Eyed Seeing – A Different Vision for Teaching Aboriginal Learners Science and Mathematics

This lecture, delivered by Dr. Michelle Hogue as part of the 2015 PUBlic Professor Series at the University of Lethbridge Alberta, further expands on the concept of two-eyed seeing and describes specific ways that it has been successfully applied to teach math and science to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal learners at the secondary and post-secondary level. Dr. Hogue describes her own teaching and research as being “focused on the space between Aboriginal ways of knowing and learning and the white western education system . . . the space I call the liminal space” (3:52). She describes this space as a space of possibility rather than a gap. The concept of learning through performing is discussed at length, as are a variety of other multi-layered education opportunities that move through different performance, experiential and theoretical stages.


First Peoples’ Cultural Council


This site provides a wealth of resources to assist in the revitalizations of First Peoples’ heritage, language and culture. For each of those areas, the website lists a number of valuable resources including maps, toolkits, events, programs. Of particular note is the FirstVoices Indigenous language archiving and teaching resource “that allows Indigenous communities to document their language for future generations”. Part of this program is the FirstVoices language tutor (an online interactive First voices language learning program). There are also links to specific language tutor mobile apps in a number of Indigenous languages as well as Aboriginal fonts that may be downloaded to your computer.  While much of the content is geared towards Indigenous communities, there are also resources and information useful to classroom teachers.


Authentic First Peoples Resources (FNESC, FNSA. 2016)


This document provides background into the way resources dealing with Aboriginal content have, in the past, contained false information and inaccurate representations of the unique experiences and world views of Aboriginal peoples. It provides teachers with the rationale for using only authentic Aboriginal resources, as well as guidelines for recognizing for how to recognize those resources. As outlined on the site, authentic First Peoples texts are historical or contemporary texts that

  • Present authentic First Peoples voices (i.e., are created by First Peoples or through the substantial contributions of First Peoples)
  • Depict themes and issues that are important within First Peoples cultures (e.g., loss of identity and affirmation of identity, tradition, healing, role of family, importance of Elders, connection to the land, the nature and place of spirituality as an aspect of wisdom, the relationships between individual and community, the importance of oral tradition, the experience of colonization and decolonization)
  • Incorporate First Peoples story-telling techniques and features as applicable (e.g., circular structure, repetition, weaving in of spirituality, humour).

Module 3 / Post 1: Indigenous Language Apps

I’ve been thinking about my research topic and I think I’m far more intrigued by First Nations language revitalization. I think this is a natural outgrowth of my previous research interest in Indigenous ways of knowing. I’m interested in how technology is being used to revitalize First Nations languages. Language and culture are intertwined and the way that we come to know the world is through language. Therefore language plays a big role in the development of a culture’s epistemology. Language helps define a culture’s way of knowing.

To that end, I’ve discovered some fascinating iOS apps to support First Nations language revitalization. Most of the apps take the form of dictionaries with words and phrases from an Indigenous language accompanied by audio recordings, images and sometimes video. Most of the apps use the English alphabet instead of that language’s orthography. Here are links to many of the apps I discovered:

CreeDictionary app
A Cree dictionary that features the ability to translate between the English alphabet and the Cree syllabary.

Nisga’a app
Another dictionary app that features audio recordings and images.

FirstVoices Chat app
I thought this app was awesome. It features keyboards for over 100 Indigenous languages! It is a texting app designed to make it easier for Indigenous peoples to use custom keyboards for their language on Facebook and Google chats. You don’t need to login or create an account to use this app. You can skip past the login screen and play with all the various keyboards.

I found many of these apps a little confusing. There was little to no introduction with these apps. I would have liked a pronunciation guide and a little guidance in speaking the language. For example, in the Nisga’a app, there are three words for ‘uncle’ with two of them being identical. It would have been nice to understand the difference between them.

While these apps are all very well done for a first attempt, I fear that many of them are no longer in development as many were released in 2012 and no updates have come out since. Many were programmed by the same developer and a list of 13 First Nations language apps can be found here.

Module 3.5

New interaction Tools for Preserving an Old Language

new interactions tools for preserving an old language

The Penan in the village of Long Lamai have been settled since the 1950’s. It is one of the most successful tribal communities who have been able integrate with the demands of globalization while retaining their own cultural traditions. The article explores how the community wes involved in Participatory Action Research in order to help to transfer the jungle sign language Oroo’ in to an app that could be utilized for teaching and sharing of information between elders and youth. The article does in to an in-depth description of how the tangibles (manipulation of digital objects) was developed by the community in order to be used for software applications.