Image from: Megan Hayes-Golding
I have always been fascinated by technology, I know I’ve said it before, but it’s true. All the amazing technological software and tools available still blows my mind. I think to myself, somebody created those tools and they got paid to do it. I’d assume most times they got paid to create the tools, and certainly somebody paid for that as well. I want to be one of those people someday; creating tools to help preserve, promote, and maintain the Cree language, it seems that it would be a fun job.
I do not have an education degree. My degree is Cree Language Studies. When I left my home community to seek opportunity in the world that was not available to me there, I believed going to school would provide that for me. I went to university without a career plan, however, I always felt that I belong somewhere but where I belonged I had no idea.
My interest, when I was in high school, was marketing. I really enjoyed the advertising aspect of the world and I felt I had some great ideas for everything I was watching on TV and always thought of how I could make the commercials better than what they were. I knew in order to be making those commercials I had to take the next step and it was university. I actually had no idea they taught the Cree language at the university but when I found out I was very interested and quickly got involved. I became a teaching assistant in my second year, while taking classes. This is how I got involved with Cree language teaching. Since then I have taught the Cree language from kindergarten children to university students, and every grade in between. My experience with such a diverse set of age categories has taught me that everyone is different and they all learn differently. I have to approach every class with an open mind. I have come to realize that my students, of all ages, are teachers in their own way and that we are all learners. My students adjust to change and follow what is trending at the time. They have taught me that they get tired of trends quickly and I have to change it up according to what is trending.
This semester, learning about educational technology tools has made me realize things that are lacking in the area of Cree language learning. There needs to be a Cree language teaching tool to enhance resources that are not yet available. There are opportunities in education technology development for Indigenous languages, not only within the Cree language but also the other 60+ Indigenous languages in Canada. Throughout this course, my eyes have been opened to the possibilities that technology has to offer for sharing language. I see technology being part of my future as a Cree language instructor.
The Cree language Standard Roman Orthography writing system long vowel characters are not recognized in some of the education tech tools that currently exist. I am finding when using some of the software, I have to open a word document and insert the symbols, then copy and paste to the software in order to input long vowel characters. Improvements can be made to fit the needs of Indigenous language writing systems within technology that exist right now, as there are limits to some of these programs.
Some Educational Tools I have been introduced to:
Image from: Blog — WordPress
I really enjoy working with WordPress because it has introduced me to blogging. In blogging, I get to express my thoughts, share my experiences, and take a deeper look at myself. It reminds me of journaling, but on a weekly basis and with specific topics each week. I like the guidance from the course instructor and feedback from other participants on the week’s blogs because it provides an opportunity to learn off everyone involved.
Image from: http://www.TES.com
Kahoot! is a tool I have tried with my students and I find it to be a good tool for reviewing lessons that have already been covered. I have started developing some of my own categories in Cree so that my students can be engaged in an interactive and social learning environment. I have made this material public for other Cree language instructors to access.
Image from: Xavier University
A few years back, I had offered a Free Cree Online class via Facebook. This was a place for people that were interested in learning the Cree language. I used Adobe Connect at the time and I found that it’s conferencing features were limited for what I wanted to do with my class activities. Zoom has all the features I am looking for. I find Zoom to be an interactive tool that I will be using with my students.
Image from: Twitter
Twitter is something I’m still getting used to. I think I am using Twitter right. I am looking forward to learning more about Twitter.
Teaching with technology is a new journey in my career. I am looking forward to using these amazing tools, to find and develop new ways to promote, maintain and recruit language keepers to join the journey with me in technology and teaching with media. I feel that my journey with technology has just begun with so much exciting tools to learn and explore.