Monday, May 9, 2011

Work in Progress

It has taken a couple years, but I think one of my ideas is going to take off in our district. When talking with Aboriginal Ed teachers and youth workers over the last couple years, they have pointed out to me that the Aboriginal / First Nations populations in schools tend to have a higher-than-average incidence of problems with literacy and a higher-than-average incidence of Learning Disablities in our schools.

I also was really quite taken with the culture of oral history in the first nations peoples of BC. I thought that if we could remove the demand for so much written text, I think a lot of our first nations students would have some great stories to share. Also, our aboriginal ed teachers told me of the importance of art in the first nations communities. I think I have found a way to tell stories orally with art in our schools using technology.

Two Aboriginal Education teachers are signing up at for an account. They are going to then post some of their artwork, and tell the story behind it using microphones. For those of you who don't know, voicethread is kind of like a slideshow online, but one that you can narrate with a microphone, and invite other people to participate in with you by adding their narration to your story.

My goal would be to have students create a story with their artwork online, and then narrate it. This reduces the demand for written work, allows the student to tell their story in a detailed fashion, and to display their artwork to the world. They could then invite others to comment on their artwork and stories. My thought would be to have an elder or knowledgeable member of their Nation login from wherever they are in the world (Queen Charlotte Islands, Northern BC, Manitoba perhaps) and then add what they know to the story, provide missing details, or offer encouragement to these students. I will keep you posted how things progress.