Tag Archives: digital divide

Weblog of Websites 1 – Technology in BC

For this first Weblog Posting, I choose to try and focus on a few different areas.  This is an area of study that I am brand new to and feel as if my knowledge is currently quite limited.  I spread my focus onto first understanding the geographic location of the various Indigenous communities, then focusing on Indigenous organizations within British Columbia that have a technology component, and then adjusting my search to focus on looking at the impact of technology on language in Indigenous communities.  The following are some of the various resources or sites that I visited and explored.

  1. First Nations Profiles Interactive Map – http://fnpim-cippn.aandc-aadnc.gc.ca/index-eng.html

This first resource can be used to help identify the geographic location of the First Nations and Indigenous communities across Canada.  This is a very helpful tool for those who may not be overly familiar with the communities that are around them.  Within the interactive map, users can find information about the reserves in the area, links to the specific community’s website, and links to further information provided through the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada government site.

  1. First Nations Technology Council – http://www.technologycouncil.ca/

This link is for the First Nations Technology Council, which is an organization whose focus is on ensuring that the First Nations communities in British Columbia are able to have internet access and the ability to use digital technologies effectively.  Among many goals, one that the Council has is to provide training and education programs focused around developing digital skills.  The most interesting parts of the site are the Talent Development, Bridging to Technology and Knowledge Network tabs.  On those pages, visitors can find various ways to get involved in programs centered around technology or to connect with possible mentors.  The Knowledge Network tab allows you to connect to the First Nations in BC Knowledge Network (https://fnbc.info/), which is a site developed by the FTNC to share resources amongst the various Indigenous communities in BC.  Though to access the resources, you must sign up as a member.

  1. Denise Williams on Internet Technology and First Nations Education https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1RUesqalw4&t=6s 

Denise Williams is Executive Director of the First Nations Technology Council.  After identifying her role, I was able to discover this video of where she shares her views on Internet Technology and First Nations Education.  One of the main points that she makes in the video, is that through increased access to the internet, Indigenous communities can benefit from having better access to resources and experts.  She also goes on to discuss the digital divide that can occur for students depending on how effectively they can access necessary resources and utilize digital technologies.  In addition to her video, many other engaging and interesting videos of similar topics are available in the “Up Next” or “Suggested Videos” sections.

  1. First Voices – http://www.firstvoices.com/en/apps

This site is focused on providing a platform for Indigenous communities to archive and share their language.  Within the site, there are a wide variety of languages available to access, learn about and practice words and phrases.  Each language is offered its own platform, which contains audio files, games, and other useful links or tools.  Most interesting about this site, is the apps page.  Through here, you can find a link to the iOS and Android apps stores, where you can download the First Voices Keyboard app.  This app contains software that allows users to change their mobile devices keyboard to their mother language.  The keyboard software is currently available for over 100 languages of Indigenous communities across North America, Australia and New Zealand.

  1. Kwi Awt Stelmexw: A platform for Arts and Education – https://www.kwiawtstelmexw.com/

This website focuses on promoting the Squamish Peoples culture, language and heritage.  The staff and volunteers involved with the organization look to find ways to allow people to engage with Squamish heritage and to provide educational opportunities based around Squamish culture and language.  The education page on the site provides insight into the different educational programs and opportunities offered.  The main focus within that section is on teaching the Squamish Peoples language and helping those who want to learn and preserve their language.

Module 1 Post 3: Addressing the Digital Divide

Working in a rural high school that serves three remote First Nation communities, I am particularly interested in the digital divide that exists amongst BC’s First Nation peoples.  Last week’s debate regarding the cultural neutrality of technology further sparked my interest.  Koncan (2014) provides a thorough literature review of research pertaining to the global digital divide amongst indigenous people. While much of the research I have found so far focusses on limited technology and usage access in remote First Nations communities, Koncan acknowledges other forms of access that may be contributing to the digital divide: motivational access, material access, and skills access (van Dijk, 2005 as cited by Koncan, 2014). I have also come across the First Nations Technology Council, a not-for-profit/social enterprise that was created in 2002 to support the technology needs of BC First Nations. Their goals are to improve connectivity and capacity. They offer all sorts of programs and services to improve digital skills and continue to play a key role in the Pathways to Technology Project, working towards connectivity to all of BC’s 203 First Nation communities.

First Nations Technology Council. (2015). About the First Nations Technology Council. Retrieved from http://www.technologycouncil.ca/

Koncan, A. (2014). Literature survey of the global digital divide and Indigenous peoples. Retrieved from http://dtpr.lib.athabascau.ca/action/download.php?filename=scis-07/open/alfonzkoncanEssay.pdf

Pathways to Technology Project. (2015). Retrieved from http://www.pathwaystotechnology.ca/home

van Dijk, J.A. (2005). The deepening divide inequality in the information society. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.



Module 1 Post 2 – e-Learning

Despite our conversations in this course about the implications of how technology is culturally biased, I have been hearing about the benefits of e-learning programs for students in rural and remote first nation communities. As portrayed in the media, this seems to be the route that is favoured as it addresses two issues that are discussed in the media, digital divide and graduation/post-secondary education. I am interested in both of these areas so I was looking to see if any studies had been completed.

This one from Memorial University looked at high school aged students in Labrador.

This one from University of Victoria looked at post-secondary programs.

Both discussed the issues of access and logistics, and concluded that e-learning should be developed as one of many options for learners to choose from but should not be expected to be the “magic fix” that I think many politicians are hoping for.