Author Archives: Jason McAllister

About Jason McAllister

My name is Jason McAllister and I’m a teacher currently living in the interior of British Columbia. I am currently working on my Master’s of Educational Technology. I’m married and have a 4 month old son. I’m a huge sports fan and have coached middle/high school sports for the last 4 years. This blog was originally created as part of my work in the MET program but I hope to continue updating it throughout my work in this program.

Evaluating Aboriginal Websites

The document “Techniques for Evaluating American Indian Websites” was discussed in the Smith and Ward reading for this week and I decided to take a closer look at this article.  This is a valuable article that definitely covers some aspects of website analysis I would not have considered.  This is quite a long list and includes simple tips such as checking to see if the author of the website is identified as a member of a nation or are they more specific with a specific tribe (more specific would indicate more authentic).  Some of the more interesting aspects of analysis refer to the use of stories and whether they are appropriate and whether the website is trying to sell you something.  This is quite an old document (last updated in 2000) but despite the broken links still contains some valuable aspects of media literacy.

First Nations Literacy

Although this site is dedicated to literacy as opposed to media literacy I still felt this was a valuable site. First Nations Literacy is a publishing company and educational resource.  This site offers downloads for teachers, promotes reading skills and lesson plans.  One of the most interesting aspects of this site was the write-up on why, despite Aboriginal oral traditions, literacy is important to Aboriginals.  Also this site contains a vast list of links to other sites (both Aboriginal and literacy themed).

Aboriginal Multi-Media Society

The Aborignial Multimedia Society is a resource for all Aboriginal people in Canada.  Their resources include career links, community events and links to scholarships (among other community resources).  The main purpose of this website it a collection from Aboriginal publications across Canada.  This provides an Aboriginal perspective to current news events and developments related to Aboriginal stories that might be missed by mainstream media.  Within this there is also access to archives from previous news stories which makes this a valuable resource for educators.

Digital Drum

Digital Drum is a website designed for media productions that represent Aboriginal culture and history or Aboriginal art.  This is a website where the vast majority of content comes from the users themselves; however, some content is provided by the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.  This website also redirects visitors to educational resources and establishes digital literacy.  Associated with this website is a community portion where members can create blogs and interact with one another.  This website also redirects to Digital Drum Pro which is similar to Digital Drum but restricts itself to films.

The Challenge to Improve First Nations’ Education

I found this article April 15th from the Vancouver Sun regarding economic development as key to retaining culture and heritage.  I lived and taught in Osoyoos for a year so Chief Clarence Louie has interested me for several years.  I especially found his quote “You’re going to lose your language and culture faster in poverty than you will in economic development,” especially interesting.  On their lands they have built 2 golf courses, a winery (with a great Riesling), a resort, and a beautiful cultural centre (well worth the visit).  The most amazing story of this band is the fact that the majority of their members graduate from high school.  Overall an interesting read and take on improving grad rates in aboriginal students.

Okanagan First Peoples

Okanagan First Peoples is a site that discusses various aspects of present and historical life of the Syilx (Okanagan) Nation.  This nation ranges from the Nicola Valley in the west to the Okanagan Valley in the east and Washington State in the south.  This is an interesting cultural resource as it does include present artists and culture in this website.   It also serves as a resource for finding nation contacts and schools. There are also traditional stories, histories and interpretations of environment included in this site.  The site also includes ongoing projects and planning for the future.  This site is a useful local resource for those inside and outside of the Aboriginal community.

Aboriginal Canada Portal – Education

Aboriginal Canada Portal is a Government of Canada website focussing on all aspects of Aboriginal life in Canada.  The education section includes various resources.  Students are able to find information on financial assistance, teachers can access Aboriginal education resources, and parents can find Aboriginal schools from all across Canada.

Connecting Weblog to Research Interests

In my current position as the District Technology Coordinator in SD 58 (Nicola Similkameen) part of my job is to implement and maintain the Aboriginal education section of our website.  Our district student composition is over 40% Aboriginal (60% in Merritt and much lower in Princeton).  As a person with no Aboriginal heritage I believe it necessary to develop my understanding of Aboriginal culture and views on education if I am to properly implement an Aboriginal learning website.  The vision for the SD 58 Aboriginal website is to create a place for documenting ongoing projects and events as well as a resource for teachers integrating Aboriginal curriculum and a database for local Aboriginal history, language and culture.

With this in mind my weblog will focus on analyzing Aboriginal education sites targeting youth.  The visited sites will include everything from international to local sites.  My focus will be on the educational and cultural aspects of each of these sites.  Specifically I want to explore how to create a valuable localized resources for an Aboriginal group.  In doing this I hope to develop a culturally and educationally important resource for the students I work with as well as the community as a whole.

FNESC is the website for the First Nations Educational Steering Committee.  This committee is an independent society created with the goal of improving First Nations education in British Columbia (learners in the public system and in First Nation schools).  This site looks to address all aspects of education relating to First Nation learners (i.e. post-secondary, Special Education, community programs, work experience, scholarships and bursaries, etc.).  From this site links are provided to other Aboriginal based education sites as well as non-Aboriginal education sites.  This site provides a rich resource to First Nations students and schools alike.

First Voices – nłeʔkepmxcin

I realize First Voices has already been introduced but this section of the site is specific to my region.  The nłeʔkepmxcin Community Portal deals with the language of the people of the Nicola Valley in British Columbia.  This section (similar to other language an people group sections in First Voices) serves as a language, historical and cultural archive for this region.  To help students learn basic terms and phrases there are games and vocabulary lists available.  These vocabulary lists include audio archives to help with how to pronounce the word.  This archive is driven by Aboriginal contributors in an effort of cultural preservation.