Touch screen technology for health behaviour change

weblog 4.4

Travers et al (2007) describe the use of touch screen kiosks (with audio feedback) delivering health promotion information to Aboriginal communities. Two modules were developed, one on alcohol use Grog Story and one on sexual health Put it On.

Clarification of the health messages was identified with experts in the field. Community elders were then involved to provide an understanding of social and cultural constraints including language use, explicitness etc. They then worked with youth representatives in the local communities to contextualise the messages. The community and youth representatives were involved in the workshops that developed the narratives. Finally the filming used Indigenous actors to ‘mentor’ local Indigenous people recruited locally. There was a formal community launch of the kiosk.

Evaluation of the  project identified positive impacts on self esteem for individuals who had been ‘engaged in creating their own representations’. There was high level of community engagement in development and then use of the kiosk content. It was not possible however, to identify quantitative evidence of changes to health outcomes (health literacy or behaviour change).

They concluded that this technology was ideal for addressing the ‘triple divide’’ of inequality in health, education and digital engagement.

Travers H, Hunter E, Gibson J, Campion J. (2007) Pride and performance: Innovative multimedia in the service of behavioural health change in remote Indigenous settings.  Proc 13th Intl Conference on Virtual Systems and Multimedia. VSMM 2007, Brisbane, Australia

November 23, 2012   No Comments

Indigenous health education – music and technology

Weblog 3.5

In another weblog I looked at children’s health education, music and technology. In this weblog I feature a website developed by a remote community controlled health service – Nganampa Health Council.

UPK (Uwankara Palyanku Kanyintjaku) means everybody creating holding and caring for the future. It is a health promotion strategy for the Anangu (people) of the Anangu Pitantjatjajara Yankunytjatjara Lands in north-west South Australia.

The Nganampa Health Council saw the power of music to bring awareness to health issues affecting the people who live in the remote communities.

The UPK5 website is well presented, clearly demonstrates relationship with the land, and highlights the musicians and music from their fifth album released in 2011.

The uniqueness of the health education music/technology interface:

  • the songs relate to health issues and “reflect that caring for ones children, commitment to family and vigilance (are) the best weapons”
  • all musicians are Aboriginal
  • both established and up and coming musicians are involved
  • songs are sung in the Anangu language
  • each album has been recorded at different remote sites on the Anangu land with a mobile state of the art production and recording studio
  • the music is the commonest music heard through the APY Lands.

More recently UPK5 tracks are also featured on a national radio station TripleJ.

November 3, 2012   No Comments

Health education for children – music and technology delivery

Weblog 3.4

Exploring the use of technology to deliver Indigenous health education there are two resources I wanted to focus on in this weblog. Both combined music and technology and one also included animation.
Each resource highlights different accessibility issues. One had national coverage through its use on radio and TV, and international access through YouTube (however it has had only just over 2,100 views). The other is a DVD resource costing $30 which requires schools or medical practices and services to purchase it.
Both songs were written by Indigenous Aboriginals.

1.  Eyes – YouTube video
Sight For All launched the music video Eyes in September 2011 which highlights the problem of eye disease – trachoma and diabetes – among Australian Aboriginal people.  Written and performed by Indigenous hip-hop artist Colin Darcy (a.k.a. Caper), the video features Aboriginal Australian Football League players from the Adelaide Crows and Port Power.

2. The Snot song
This is a DVD resource that has a song and animation to encourage BBC (Breathe, Blow, Cough) to prevent otitis media (ear infection). It is designed for children aged 0-8 years.
A ‘teaser’ of the animated song –  taken from

November 3, 2012   No Comments

Weblog #2: Post #2

Four Directions Teaching

Indigenous language and culture is at risk of being lost, and non-aboriginal society “generally fails to see why aboriginal cultural revitalization matters, at best supporting aboriginal approaches superficially, and valuing success only as defined from non-aboriginal views.”

Four Directions brings together elders and traditional teachers representing the Blackfoot, Cree, Ojibwe, Mohawk, and Mi’kmaq.  Together, they share teachings about their history and culture. The site uses animated graphics to visualize each of the oral teachings. The site provides biographies, transcripts, and learning resources.

Four Directions – English Version

Four Directions and the Full Circle Project of Toronto works to address how indigenous knowledge can be shared with urban youth in a respectful manner.

The Full Circle Project PDF Includes:

1. Vision (Roots)
2. Elements (Sap)
3.  Foundations (Tree Core)
4.  Secondary Structure (Outer Bark)
5.  Natural Development (Branches)
6. Human Gifts (Leaves)
7.  Measurement (Seeds)


“It is not important to preserve our traditions, it is important to allow our traditions
to preserve us.”
~ Gael High Pine, “The Great Spirit in the Modern World,” Akwesasne Notes, 1973

October 21, 2012   No Comments

Statement Connecting Weblog to Research Interests

Environmental Progress for Indigenous Groups

I would like to investigate what positive impacts technology can have on Indigenous culture, particularly in an ecological sense. Can the internet be used effectively to spread information about specific ecological concerns that Indigenous groups have? Will it help give a voice to groups that have often been marginalized or silenced? Often there are environmental issues that arise within the traditional territories of Indigenous groups. These issues often have a direct and lasting impact on the health of the land and the people that live on it. Indigenous groups may be able to use the internet to voice their opinion in meaningful ways, but there needs to be more than that. Real change needs to be affected and this can be hard to attain, even with the best online presence. Internet and other new media might be the way to create this change, but how effective are they really? To distill it down to one main question, I would like to know: In relation to making a positive ecological change, including revitalization, what is the most effective way for an Indigenous group to use technology to make improvements within either their territory, or an area that has specific traditional importance?

September 23, 2012   No Comments

Alberta’s Environmental Issues

I am toying with two potential areas of research, one of which is the complexities presented when trying to find balance between modern environmental issues and indigenous traditions.  After reading about the struggles that surface during traditional whale hunting practices, I began to wonder what issues are present in good old, land locked, Alberta.

The issues surfacing are a bit different.  Instead of traditional practices conflicting with modern animal rights issues, Albertans are facing conflict related to the oil industry – Northern Alberta is “ground zero” for the Tar Sands Gigaproject, in which more than 20 companies are currently operating.  The Mikisew Cree First National, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Fort McKay Cree Nation, Beaker Lake Cree First Nation Chipewyan Prairie First Nation, and the Metis are facing destruction of land, ecosystems, cultural heritage and community health.

Canadian Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign

When I was feeling overwhelmed by the negative impact of the Tar Sands, I checked out the other side of the issue, visiting the Alberta Government’s web site.  Alberta’s First Nations Consultation Policy on Land Management and Resource Development is working to balance resource development and Treaty rights, using feedback from First Nations, “providing a voice for Aboriginal people in the province’s regional land use planning”.

Alberta’s Oil Sands (Government Web Site)

Other Sites I found:

Turtle Island Native Network

Rights of Mother Earth: Restoring Indigenous Life Ways of Responsibility and Respect

Tar Sands Action

September 22, 2012   No Comments

Google Earth Preserving Indigenous Culture

I never realized the potential of Google Earth to preserve cultures.  Chief Almir Surui of the Brazilian Indigenous Surui recognized that Google Earth would enable his people to create and preserve a cultural map of their ancestral lands.  The article on Mashable provides an overview of the Surui project in text and video format.

Chief Almir Surui was concerned with two issues: loss of culture and unsustainable illegal logging of the Amazon. “These days you can’t separate talking about culture from talking about technology, there’s no separation between these things,” Chief Almir Surui told Mashable.  Chief Almir embraced technology and partnered with Google: training Elders and a group of young students on how to use laptops and cellphones to take pictures, videos, map locations and record stories.  The result is a technological record of Surui historical sites, land, animals and traditions.

I was struck by this story because I believe Chief Almir Surui recognized that his tribe was fighting a losing battle, and therefore needed to combine traditional methods with western technological approaches.  Combined, the elders and students have brought awareness to Amazon deforestation and the challenges affecting Indigenous people.


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