Video-conferencing for indigenous schools

One more example of technology helping students learn exists in New Zealand.  Children can now choose whether to go to an English speaking school or an indigenous language school.  For those indigenous schools where they do not have, say, a science teacher, they will use video-conferencing to connect to another school who does.  That way, they can hear the lessons in their own language.  I do wonder how reliable the video-conferencing is, and how engaged the students are at the other end of the camera.  But, it is an interesting way to preserve/rejuvenate a language and also connect with other communities where it would have been impossible to do so otherwise.

December 1, 2010   No Comments

Living Cultural Storybases

I found this site to share an interesting use of technology.  This organization tries to ‘enable’ indigenous communities to share their stories, traditions, songs and poems with community members who are geographically dispersed.  Community members are taught how to use digital recording devices and then they record their stories to share. It’s not very high tech, but that might bring part of its success.  Projects include communities in Canada, Timbuktu, Peru and Ethiopia.  I am interested in hearing some of the stories, once they are posted.

December 1, 2010   No Comments

Learn Cherokee on an iPod, and other language sites

I think it is incredibly forward thinking to create an app to learn Cherokee, available in the Apple store for only $9.99.  Kids (and adults) are connected to their cell phones, so why not give them an app that allows them to learn on the go.   Soon to be available for the Nintendo DSi.  I would love to know how many people have purchased it to date.  It is rated 4+ on iTunes.

On the technology and language thread, Language Geek is in business to promote tools for the promotion of indigenous languages.  They have over 170 keyboards for Mac and Windows that cover many language families.  An interesting note is that a large barrier to writing authentic works in Native languages is the lack of an easy way to type it. Language Geek has solved this issue with their custom products.

Tech Soup is another site that I had not heard of until I started research on my paper.  This organization connects non-profits, charities and libraries with hardware and software donations, subject to an admin fee.  Microsoft, Cisco, Intuit, Flickr and others are offering their products for next to nothing.

November 29, 2010   No Comments

Nintendo DSi for language learning

One of the topics that I am curious about is whether technology can help save many Indigenous languages that are being lost. This company has developed language tools to do just that.  Grandmother and grandson worked together to build the Cherokee language module.  I would be interested to see how effective this tool is in teaching language and what people think of it (elders, youth, educators, etc.).  It looks like this product is purchased in bundles and includes Nintendo DSi cartridges, the software and training.   The product seems very pricey but I really have little to compare it to.

November 8, 2010   2 Comments

Canadian Roots/Shielded Minds

I found this link to be an interesting project by non-Indigenous youth to build relationships with Indigenous peoples.   These youth are fed up with the stereotypes and the lack of effort by the government to build the bridges between the cultures, so they have taken matters into their own hands.  They set out on a road trip to learn, understand, share and build relationships, and they created a documentary about the trip.  The trailer describes their purpose but I don’t see any screening information on the full documentary.    It appears that the road trip was very successful, so they have started a program to continue these trips.  The trailer offers hope that students will not accept the status quo and have decided to start effecting change themselves.

November 8, 2010   No Comments

National Aboriginal Day: Our Voice, Our Culture, Our Community, Aboriginal Youth Video Project

Twelve young people from Richmond, BC were taught how to create a video story.  They created  this video of their experiences as young Aboriginal people living in Richmond.  They were encouraged to include footage and reflections on National Aboriginal Day in Richmond, as well as reflect on their history and current issues.   The theme follows the two videos we viewed in module 3.

November 8, 2010   No Comments

Ramona Bighead’s You Tube video

Our very own guest speaker has posted a You Tube video.  It is very short but describes how she is helping bridge the gap between the Alberta curriculum and the Blackfoot culture.  Check out the other episodes while you are there.

November 6, 2010   No Comments

Elders’ Voices

After responding to week 8’s question about technology and the role of the elder, I went online to search for links in this area, and came across this website.  My thinking has certainly changed, as the first thought to cross my mind was “who authored this site”, then “what was their motive” and “what biases might they have carried if they were not representing themselves on this site”.  The site deals with projects that explore the tradition of storytelling and how technology might help preserve what has been eroded away.  It appears that this project team has been dismantled but there are still many audio and video links of elders sharing stories and experiences in many areas.

“As one explores these video and audio segments, one will see the faces, the gestures, and the expressions that will enrich the meanings of the words one hears.”  (quote from the website)

November 2, 2010   No Comments

MAEI and Club Amick

In my travels as an educational consultant, I have come across two non-profit organizations that focus on Aboriginal initiatives and helping kids.

The Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative was started by Paul Martin, former prime minister of Canada.  The goal of the organization is to support initiatives that improve elementary and secondary education for Aboriginal people.  They have a literacy project in effect at Kettle and Stony Point Hillside School and a math initiative at Walpole Island Elementary, both in Southwestern Ontario.  A Promising Practices website, along with an accounting and a youth leadership project round out their current project portfolio.

The second initiative concerns putting books into the hands of young Aboriginal students and allowing them to build a home library with the hopes of developing a love for literacy.  The students also receive newsletters addressed to them at their home address with activities and information.  The initiative was started by James Bartleman (former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario) and Michaelle Jean (former Governor General of Canada).

Club Amick Logo

October 18, 2010   No Comments

More on Dr. Lee Brown

I enjoyed the video of Lee Brown and decided to understand a little more about what he does.  I didn’t realize that UBC had the Institute for Aboriginal Health with all of its programs.  It may be because I am not from BC, so sorry if almost everyone else was aware of it.

Ditto for the First Nations House of Learning at UBC.

October 18, 2010   No Comments