Posts Tagged ‘Indigenous education in Canada’

Indigenous education in Canada (part 5)

Friday, August 5th, 2016

So what to do? Establish a strategy within the government and, in particular, Carolyn Bennett’s office, which acknowledges and exploits this invaluable asset. Then, find a community wherein a pilot project could be developed.

West Québec’s Pontiac riding is comprised of urban/suburban, immigrant, agricultural, indigenous, and remote communities, operating in both official languages, all within a vast and varied geography; in other words, the perfect representation of Canada. Additionally, Pontiac’s southern zone is in the National Capital region and within reach of federal and corporate technology partners.

These attributes make Pontiac the perfect test bed for a pilot project (leading to national deployment) that applies established Canadian research, expertise, knowledge, and the Liberal innovation legacy of broadband communications and distance education to the development of a virtual classroom strategy benefiting indigenous education.

In brief, the project would develop a white paper and a series of demonstration events in virtual classroom education techniques, and a documentary final report. It would pave the way for national deployment of similar events, and would ultimately contribute to the achievement of the policies outlined in the ministerial mandate letters.

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Indigenous education in Canada (part 4)

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

In 2002, Canadian Heritage and Industry Canada began supporting advanced research in interactive media on the CANARIE network. Performance Space Meets Cyberspace (PSMC) was a two-year investigation into new online channels for a virtual classroom of Canadian culture that connected producers, stages, museums, classrooms and audiences across the country.   This project has been cited internationally as a groundbreaking prototype in online performance and story telling.

While PSMC proposed a new pan-Canadian virtual arts and culture space, it also gave insights into communications in other fields, including contributing a paper on e-democracy and a virtual Parliament to the Liberal Party’s Canada 150 conference.  PSMC discovered new methods of participant engagement and consensus building among groups over networks, essential elements to improving education. Many of the events included First Nations story telling, and sharing of indigenous knowledge.  Communications of this sort, by its very definition, is inclusive and two-way, an essential value in the Liberal policy book.

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Indigenous education in Canada (part 3)

Friday, July 29th, 2016

In 2001, the Liberal government began supporting research conducted on Industry Canada’s CANARIE ultra-high-speed network to develop methods to improve the quality of education in remote and indigenous communities. The Rural Advanced Community of Learners (RACOL) project was one such landmark in distance education, cultural exchange, and community enrichment.

RACOL overcame limited local resources and vast distances to bring together students and teachers in the Fort Vermilion school district – an area about twice the size of Denmark – using broadband technology. It enabled the math teacher in High Level, the physics teacher in La Crete, the trades instructor in Rainbow Lake to teach all the students of this vast region in synchronous learning. It also set the stage for a sharing of storytelling and indigenous knowledge (e.g. environmental issues) not just within the district, but also with the rest of Canada. Revitalization of this approach can bring immediate results to the Liberal’s mandate to ensure quality of education for First Nations students.

Deputy PM Anne Mclellan launches final RACOL report

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Indigenous education in Canada (part 2)

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

“Make significant new investments in First Nations education to ensure that First Nations children on reserve receive a quality education while respecting the principle of First Nations control of First Nations education.”
Excerpt from mandate letter to the Hon. Carolyn Bennett

New initiatives aimed at improving education for remote and indigenous communities must include best practices in virtual classrooms as part of the mix, and Canadian research in this field is the best in the world. The economics surrounding this are both political and practical. Value and results must be seen in government investment. Virtual classroom practices provide supportive options for increasing quality of education, and economic value where student numbers are low and communities are remote. At the same time, virtual classrooms blended with on-site personnel and resources can support learning within a local experience and within the local cultural milieu.

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Indigenous education in Canada (part 1)

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016

A research community centered on virtual classrooms began to coalesce in 2001 thanks to funding provided by the previous Liberal government. The funding, provided by Industry Canada and Canadian Heritage, led to innovative and successful methods of improving education and cultural dialogue across Canada, including remote and indigenous community partners. Two multi-year, multi-partner projects particularly informative to current Liberal government priorities.

The deployment of the research languished for years, but revitalization of this invaluable educational/cultural asset should be an essential component under the new Liberal government’s strategy on Indigenous Education. We learned the lessons on how to provide quality education to remote communities more than a decade ago. With advancements in technology, quality education using virtual classrooms is now even more readily and affordably enabled through commercial Internet providers. Revitalization begins with a ‘flip of the switch’.

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