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Indigenous Learners Online: The future isn’t what it used to be! Jessica Ball, M.P.H., Ph.D. University of Victoria School of Child and Youth Care 4 th.

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Presentation on theme: "Indigenous Learners Online: The future isn’t what it used to be! Jessica Ball, M.P.H., Ph.D. University of Victoria School of Child and Youth Care 4 th."— Presentation transcript:

1 Indigenous Learners Online: The future isn’t what it used to be! Jessica Ball, M.P.H., Ph.D. University of Victoria School of Child and Youth Care 4 th International Conference on Indigenous Education: Asia/Pacific

2 Visioning the Future Indigenous student recruitment, retention, success Elevation of Indigenous knowledges alongside Euro-western ‘canons’

3 Participation is key Elders Community Students Faculty Relationships All-ways respectful knowledge sharing Transformation

4 Dreaming the best possible approach Ray Ahenahew, Meadow Lake Tribal Council First Nations Partnerships Program Community-based Student cohort moving together through 20 courses Classroom-based involving locally recruited instructors Elders co-constructing & co-teaching curricula  Highest rate of student retention & credential completion in Canada! / Ball & Pence, UBC Press 2006

5 Supporting Indigenous Children’s Programs: Community-University Partnerships, UBC Press

6 Key ingredients  Indigenous knowledge  Euro-western knowledge  Learning through relationships  Community relevance  Learning by doing (observation, hands-on, service learning)  Social support  Celebrations of success as well as credentials

7 A new dream Access to post-sec through online learning! Why online???  High demand among ‘mature’ learners  Community ties (family & work demands)  Geographic barriers to on-campus environments: avoid re- location/travel  Social barriers: racism, isolation  Maintain social support  Save money

8 To dream the impossible dream… If some people have sex, find marriage partners, or get counseling on line, isn’t it child’s play to take a university course online?? Online learning is under-explored for Indigenous learners. What do we know? Are there promising practices?

9 From dreams to reality Connectivity: access to reliable high speed Internet is variable: nearly 100% in Canada by 2012 (…really??) Hard-ware: low ownership of personal computers, higher access through centres & jobs Soft-ware: low familiarity – need orientation/preparatory training Alternative communication devices, modalities, & resources: cell-phones, e- mail, v-mail, wikepedia, msn, You-Tube… Can educators keep up with learners??

10 Motivation & social support 34 Indigenous Education Coordinators in B.C. raised serious doubts about potential of on-line learning. Lack of take-up & success in on-line courses often attributed to lack of: ‘self-discipline’ social support familiarity with instructor  Learning through relationships Peer-interaction Instructor-student rapport Bios, check-ins, telephone/msn buddies, pair-work, cooperative learning tasks

11 Instructional design Research is conclusive: Learners’ time & effort applied to purposeful learning activities are the best predictor of academic success. Course developers & instructors must ensure cultural & local relevance & structure community-learner engagement.

12 Learning from place Contributing to place How do we incorporate the participation and transformative aspects desirable in Indigenous education? How do we involve Elders and Indigenous Knowledges in students’ learning journeys? Identification of Elders as mentors Visiting Elders Community-focused assignments Community-placements

13 The future is not what it used to be… … when we lived & learned in our cultural communities & knowledge was transmitted across generations among members with the same knowledge heritage.  Retain the old by involving IK & community  Move forward by harnessing potential of online learning technologies  Anticipate the future by staying flexible, avoiding monolithic ‘best practice’ models (model-itis)  Hybrid models can combine the ‘best of all worlds’ offering a scaffolded introduction to online learning

14 Many paths up the mountain… Learners are all over the map in terms of receptivity, familarity/comfort prior learning history, circumstances, goals & access to technology Access & choice of learning environments are key for learners: One size will not fit all! The future is already changing…flexibility & responsiveness to changing technologies, needs, & goals are key for us as educators.


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