Category — Module 4

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

International Development Research Centre

“Empowerment through knowledge” is the IDRC’s mission. It’s importance to educators and researchers is its funding and support.

November 29, 2010   No Comments

Aboriginal Justice

I understand that some of Judge John Reilly’s comments and ways have irked a few people along the way, however, I happen to agree with his idea that Aboriginal Justice should be applied across the greater society. What does this have to do with education? Well, I think Aboriginal Education would do well being applied across the greater society as well.—pt-1-judge-reilly/

November 29, 2010   No Comments

Nation Talk

Touted as “Canada’s Premier National Aboriginal Newswire and Employment Service” this is a great resource for both the classroom and post graduation! The Nation Talk interviews were particularly interesting to me; Susan Aglukark’s work with the ACYF, and Ashley Iserhoff’s description of the fibre-optic infrastructure for Cree communities in Northern Ontario & Quebec – improved Internet by 2011 – yeah!

November 29, 2010   No Comments

Digital Drum

I think Digital Drum, produced by the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), is a fitting post to end my contribution to this blog on for many reasons. First, the idea of user generated content is very forward thinking and appeals to multi-media artists, particularly youth, in many ways as it a) requires no real experience to speak of b) no need to have a diverse portfolio or series of high-profile references c) requires only a little bit of ingenuity and minor technical skills to operate.  The best part of this type of content is that it allows people who have something to say to be heard without having to jump through the hoops of the massive corporate world of mainstream media. What this means in a First Nations context is that it is possible to maintain creative control of the elements of storytelling and say what you want to say how you want to say it.

Second, Digital Drum offers educational resources and encourages content that relates to First Nations values, including respect for elders and reverence for the natural world, which has the potential to have a very positive influence on aboriginal youth culture. The site describes its purpose as “a place for Aboriginal Cultural expression — for example: storytelling, media literacy, community traditions, activism and music.” The About section goes further to describe the site’s main focuses as being to “…engage youth and increase their awareness of each other. Making us all feel youth have a sense of citizenship and pride in their Aboriginal heritage – both online and in the real-world. “ All very wonderful ideas that really allow the mixing of traditional values with modern realities.

Unfortunately, Digital Drum, which in theory could be a great resource and space for research and learning related to First Nations culture, is in a state of disrepair. It has seemingly been abandoned and left un-moderated, prone to the inappropriate ramblings of zealots and sales folks mingling with (and unfortunately discrediting) content that shows great skill and insight related to First Nation issues. Perhaps this is because most people tend to post their content in mainstream sites such as YouTube and the like?  

Somehow Digital Drum reminds me of that house on the rez that has such a great view, but has been left to crumble and fade: The potential is there, but for some reason it’s been left unattended. Without the commitment to care for and nurture such spaces, they will be overrun and become irrelevant; great ideas smothered before they grow to their full potential. A little bit of paint and elbow grease, and what you have is a very powerful tool for engaging and educating. But that takes extraordinary commitment, encouragement and hard work in order to have those voices heard through the din of cyberspace. And I guess that is what our jobs are moving forward; working hard at finding a way to help aboriginal voices, filled with the pure and valuable knowledge of ancient ways, to ring loud and clear for the entire world to hear.

November 29, 2010   No Comments

Indigenous Education Coalition

” What we do and our Services Provided:
The member communities of the IEC determine the types of services that will be delivered, based on availability of funds and identified needs. These services may include the following:

  • Special Education Support
  • Institutional Relations
  • Information Sharing
  • Professional Development
  • Special Projects

Members of IEC include 12 First Nations Communities in Ontario (mostly SW Ontario). Descriptions of projects are available online as well as links to teaching resource websites.

November 29, 2010   No Comments

Native Language Preservation: A Reference Guide for Establishing Archives and Repositories

During the MET 521 course there has been much discussion around the importance of preserving Native Languages, however very little specific information about how this is done on a practical level has been shared. This PDF guide is a practical reference guide that describes the specific steps and processes to preserve a language. Chapters include:

Chapter 1: Why Preserve Native Heritage Language Materials?

Chapter 2: What to Preserve: A Practical Approach to Preservation

 Chapter 3: What Is a Language Repository?

Chapter 4: How to build infrastructure to Preserve Native Language Materials

Chapter 5: Where to Locate Resources in Selected Native Repositories and How to Find Selected Native Language Materials

Chapter 6: Where to Locate Resources in Selected Educational, Federal, and Other Repositories

Note: There are also 11 assorted appendices included.

November 29, 2010   No Comments

UN Report: Indigenous Rights Ignored In Global IP Policy

This 2010 web site provides a summary of, and link to, reportedly the first UN publication that attempts to provide an overview of the health, education, income, and access to employment status of the estimated 370 million Indigenous individuals living worldwide. The site also describes Western legal views versus Indigenous views of IP ownership. Of particular relevance to MET 521 is the section describing the discussions around perceived IP ownership being undertaken at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on traditional knowledge.

November 29, 2010   No Comments