Image from: Bill Cook photoshop fun
the world considered as a single community linked by telecommunications.
noun, plural Crees (especially collectively) Cree.
a member of a North American Indian people of Ontario, Manitoba,Saskatchewan, and Montana.
an Algonquian language, the language of the Cree Indians.
- a person who teaches, especially in a school.
Why the freakish title and deadly picture? You might ask. Well I like Leonidas in 300, he is fearless and the more I get into this technology the more I feel like a beast that’s ready for anything. Now bring it on technology! Oh yah and my dear brother and colleague Cree Language teacher Darren O. and myself would call ourselves ‘Creechers’ for many years and still do. It is a name where you combine ‘Cree’ and ‘Teacher’ together.
This past week I have been tweaking my Cree online classroom and really having a great time exploring the different tech tools I am able to incorporate within the website. This is not only a prototype for me but it will eventually become my online location for learning and experimentation of the Cree language, it is going to be my ship and I am going to be the captain. And together we are going to explore many different places. I will start off by explaining again why I chose a Wix website to source my Cree online course, it is user friendly and it uses HTML5 but ultimately it is visually appealing. The website includes a Members only section which will give specific access to the learners to the learning material required within a course. It is going to be post-secondary level as this is my forte, I can link anything within the site. I can even link my current Moodle course for more option or to separate courses this way. What am I going to do with this site? Well I am going to be offering courses from beginner Cree to advanced Cree. And I want to open it up to anyone that is interested in learning. And there is a possibility of offering different dialects of the Cree language as well. For now it will solely be Woods/Rock Cree ‘th’ dialect which is what I speak. There are 5 major dialects in the Cree Language:
- /th/ dialect also referred to as Woods/Rock Cree spoken in Northern regions of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
- /y/ dialect also referred to as Plains Cree spoken in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Northern British Columbia, Northern United States, and isolated areas in Yukon and Northwest territories.
- /n/ dialect also referred to as Swampy Cree spoken in Northern regions of Ontario, Manitoba and east central Saskatchewan.
- /L/ dialect also referred to as Moose Cree spoken in Hudson Bay region and isolated area in Saskatchewan.
- /R/ dialect also referred to as Atihkamêk Cree spoken in the Quebec
I will be using login or sign up access for people that can join using their facebook and/or google accounts. People will get a trial version and then they will have to pay eventually just like a normal university course. Currently most of the students that take the Cree 100, 101 and 150 level courses through the First Nations University are non-first nations and first nations teachers, lawyers, doctors, police, government employees and other professionals that plan to move to a community where the Cree language is spoken as the majority language. And of course there are also a number of students that are interested in a variety of things like: reclaiming their heritage, know a bit but want to know more, fluent speakers that want to get a better understanding in the linguistics of the language and I can’t forget the ones that just need the required language course in their programs.
Image from: ClipartFest
There are some that have never used technology before and need more assistance in navigating through the technical stuff. This is where my course will have easy to use navigation buttons like: ‘Let’s Get Started’ and ‘What tech tools do I need?” “How do I use these tech tools?” and many other simply explained common questions when people enter the virtual classroom. And of course some friendliness, maybe a video and/or link to a “Meet Your Instructor” page. it’s always good to let them know that you are not a robot and that they are not entering a cyber maze where they will be lost and feel like they don’t belong. Step by step is always good. I have to keep it a simple and also keep in mind that people are not all tech savvy.
Tech tools I will be incorporating:
- Wix | Home sweet home and where the magic happens
- Quizlet | Practice and testing. Good for audio practice independently
- ClassMarker | LMS
- Music and Video | Youtube.com
- Google Classroom | LMS
- Google Docs | Shared docs
- Google Slides | visual presentations and notes for online class sessions
- Google Forms | Important topics from instructor
- Google Hangouts | A private place to interact with classmates
- Skype | Another place to interact with classmates
- Flipgrid | Introduction and video Q & A’s
- Audacity Recording Software | recording audio for submission
- Audio Online Converter | converting files for submission
- Mentimeter | Polls about class and current news topics
- Screencast-O-Matic | Instructional videos and visual projects
- Muut Discussion Forum App | Discussion forum
- Kahoot! | Practice and review
- Aurasma App | Creating Cree terminology independently of your surroundings
- Zoom Room | Real-Time Cree conversation dialogues and breakout group speaking circles
- Twitter |Cultural Events Social Media
- Facebook | Cultural Events and Kinship Terminology Social Media
- Cree Dictionary Online | Web Resource
- Cree Dictionary App | Web Resource
- The Gift of Language and Culture Website – courtesy of Lac La Ronge Indian Band | Web Resource
It seems like a lot of tools but all for different purposes and they will all be blended into the course. I am sure I will be adding more tech tools as I go along. I will have the students create accounts in a variety of locations that will be suitable for the course for communication throughout the course. I would like the students to blog, tweet, share cultural events via facebook, audio and video record themselves using Cree terminology for evaluation.
Image from: Crenshaw Communications
I have taught online Cree courses before and some items I found that were important were specifics throughout the course, it is vital. The students need to understand what is expected and to clarify the objectives of the course. Participation is very important and I recommend including participation as part of the overall mark. They need to participate and give feedback to peers and questions posted by the instructor. Being honest is a big one, letting students know that you will respond to them via email, forums…etc. within 24 hours and that responses are not immediate is always good. Having office hours or online hours, contact information and a location where they can submit their completed materials is a must. Sometimes letting them know that you have the capabilities in monitoring their activity is also good where it lets them know you’re watching (not like a creeper, but an administrator). Making copies of instructions in an audio/video (screen capture) form and also a written form (PDF) of the same instructions is good, there are students that prefer one over the other. Make sure you have step by step instructions (click here, right click and scroll down and choose…etc.) Try having fun assignments and tasks for the students to do. Where they can explore on their own and do independent searches (offer tags to narrow down their searches). As an instructor, search on your own too of where and what is happening around the city. Possibly recommending a concert, a movie, a library, or an event they might be able to attend that suits your lesson topic at hand. And finally, Have FUN!
Image from: Bill Cook photoshop fun
“I think if Snoop Dogg spoke Cree, he would say something like this,” Bill.
Technology has changed so much since when I was teaching online years ago. The tech tools we are learning now are so much easier to play around with. My hopes for my website that I am creating is that it serves as a resource to enhance to Cree language in the EDtech world. I know I am in the right place at the right time because I feel excited to be part of this journey. I am having fun with all these tech tools, having fun learning from Alec, Katia and of course my fellow classmates. I am like a kid at Toys R Us, but with the freedom to play with whatever I want. Looking forward to seeing your prototypes and learn from that experience as well. I hope you guys will enjoy mine.