Digital Songlines Game

Weblog 4.3

The Digital Songlines (DSL) project was a digital storytelling project, using a 3D gaming engine. The project  funded by the Australasian Cooperative Research centre for Interaction Design. Unfortunately funding ceased some time after 2007 and it was difficult to find other projects.

Leavy et al (2007) in their article Evaluating the Digital Songlines Game Engine for Australian Indigenous storytelling outline the project. The aim was to use quality gaming to allow users to experience Indigenous virtual heritage in high fidelity simulation with culturally appropriate tools. They describe the importance of Aboriginal collaboration through each project and outline a protocol to address IP and copyright issues that is entirely community focused and driven. The depiction of ‘country’ in each project was not just a backdrop for the game but was the largest ‘artefact’. ‘Country’ is both a receptacle and it actively participates in the telling of the story. (p.164)

The feedback about the game varied with age of participants. The younger participants used to commercial games were either disappointed that it wasn’t the same, or delighted because it was! Older participants appreciated the language, tradition and stories being ‘brought to life’.

Users and developers saw it as a way technology can assist in the empowering of cultural identity.

YouTube example of a Digital songline project

November 23, 2012   No Comments

Weblog #3 – Post #4 – Our Voices, Our Stories

Library and Archives Canada provides the Our Voices, Our Stories site which celebrates Inuit, Metis, and First nations oral stories, which document history, language, traditions, and beliefs.    The site provides stories from the past and present of the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit, as well as educational resources and additional media.  Most significantly, in my opinion is the in-depth educational resources – storytelling background, hints, lessons, activities, and assessments.  Social Studies connections are provided for all provinces/territories and grades 4-8.

November 15, 2012   No Comments

Weblog #3 – Post #3 – Virtual Museum of Metis History and Culture

Storytelling is important in Metis culture as a means to pass information from the Elders to the youth of society.  This Virtual Museum provides archived collections of Metis history, interviews, conferences, transcripts, learning resources, artistic expressions, and multimedia files honouring Metis music, dance, and storytelling.

November 15, 2012   No Comments

Weblog #3 – Post #2 – Aboriginal Storytelling

This Aboriginal Storytelling site provides detail about the importance of storytelling – as something more than entertainment.  Storytelling is a means to communicate culture, ceremonies, and spirituality.  Storytelling acts as a bridge to teach an audience a way of life – the history and culture of indigenous peoples.  Specifically, this site focuses on the Aboriginal people of Saskatchewan and provides useful information and links to other relevant sites.



November 15, 2012   No Comments

Weblog #3 – Post 1 – Storytelling

When I first began contemplating a final topic, I was torn between pursuing my interests in the environmental and indigenous issues surfacing in Alberta and the way in which we are finding balance between the Language Arts curriculum and meeting the cultural needs of indigenous peoples.  I have been equally balancing my pursuit of resources up to this point.  I am officially making the choice today to take a look at the relationship and interaction between indigenous storytelling and the Language Arts curriculum.  Oral storytelling plays a fundamental role in culture, and I want to look into how we can address that within the confines of the Language Arts curriculum and how technology can help us tell stories.

Here is a Learn Alberta resource, Walking Together – First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Perspectives in Curriculum.

Of particular importance to my topic is the information presented on oral traditions – the background information behind oral storytelling, and a few case studies as to how teachers can incorporate technology in the classroom to facilitate storytelling tradition.


November 15, 2012   No Comments

Power of Stories

The most memorable lessons I had the pleasure of being a part of were linked to powerful stories. As an immigrant from an Eastern country, stories my Western friends, mentors and teachers shared with me helped me understand life in Canada in a very personalized way. These experiences inspired me to weave stories into my own practices. As an instructor, I often receive feedbacks on how stories helped my students gain understanding of a theory in a practical way.

Far beyond my personal experience, stories have been used as a vehicle of learning for thousands of years. In indigenous culture, stories are often used to communicate values, ideas and knowledge. They are an important and inseparable part of indigenous education. As stories tend to promote active discussion and individual reflections, they tend to be etched deeply into the minds of learners. After all, many indigenous stories have survived centuries without prints (Mace, 1998). Hence I will focus my exploration on the power of stories in indigenous culture would help us gain a worldly educational view through countless generations of wisdom and create classrooms that respectfully accommodate individual differences.

Mace, F. (1998). Human rhythm and divine rhythm in Ainu epics. Diogenes46(1), 31.


September 23, 2012   No Comments

Tipatshimuna – Innu Stories from the land

The Innu Virtual Museum provides an excellent example of the use of technology to create a record of the elders’ (Tipatshimuna’s) stories.  The Innu people have created a digital website to share their traditional lives with other Innu and people across Canada.  The perspectives provided offer an understanding of what life was like for Innu youth and families.  Exhibit galleries, videos, audio clips, Innu youth stories and elder autobiographies help create this digital cultural story.

I believe this website would be an excellent resource for teaching about Canada’s Indigenous, particularly northern Quebec and Labrador.  As well, the collection is an excellent example of empowering Indigenous youth to learn about their culture through the use of technology.


September 20, 2012   No Comments

Empowering Indigenous Students Through Culture and Technology

Resistance through Re-presenting Culture

“If not us, then who?”  The Traditional Pathways to Health Project encouraged students to use video to record their culture’s perspective on healthy living.  This paper reviews the journey students and teachers undertook to educate themselves and their community on health related issues, while preserving their culture via video.  Students were required to plan, research and develop their video to be shared with their community.

Students believed this activity provided them with an opportunity to resist the Eurocentric education system and connect with their traditional culture.  The project empowered students to learn about their community and to share their experiences in order to promote awareness and understanding.


September 20, 2012   No Comments

Aboriginal Perspectives

Aboriginal Perspectives is a site dedicated to providing teachers with lessons, videos, games and workshops that include Aboriginal content and focus.  Each of the videos is of a First Nations person or persons, from different age groups, and is accompanied by lesson plan suggestions.  This site is a joint venture between the University of Regina and the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program.

September 17, 2012   No Comments

Math Catcher

Math Catcher:Mathematics Through Aboriginal Storytelling is a site dedicated to introducing math topics via Aboriginal storytelling methods.  There are stories, video clips, background, rationale and links to conferences.  The project this site stemmed from was initiated at a First Nations Math Education Workshop held at the Banff International Research Station (BIRS) for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery.

One of the goals of this project is to promote mathematics for all peoples, but particularly in a way that will allow Aboriginal children to see themselves and their culture connected to mathematics, and to promote Aboriginal traditions amongst non-Aboriginal students.  The stories on the site are available in both English and various Aboriginal languages.


September 17, 2012   No Comments