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Ancestral Technology 10 Redesign for the Twenty-First Century

Jane K. Downing
University of Athabasca

MDDE 610
Dr. C. Montgomerie
October 12, 2014


Ancestral Technology 10 Redesign for the Twenty-First Century

Defining the Initiative: Framework for Transformation
New technologies [are understood] not only as a way to optimize the existing
educational system, but as a transformative force that can generate radically new ways of
knowing and learning (Transformative Learning Technologies Lab, 2013, About, para. 2). This
insight guided the selection of Ancestral Technology 10 as the focus of this work; a course that
would benefit significantly from a shift to a blended delivery model with the addition of
thoughtfully selected and pedagogically aligned contemporary technologies. The rationale
underpinning blended learning in the Yukon is twofold: to provide an opportunity for students to
complete their secondary education in their home communities where they have the support of
family and friends and to create more equitable learning environments by expanding the palette
of courses that are available to students in isolated communities. The promise of a blended
approach is self-paced, self-directed learning, the medium enabling students to make the learning
experience uniquely their own with a range of diverse, culturally relevant courses available to all
Yukon students. Bates and Pooles (2003) Sections Model, a framework for selecting and using
technology will inform the initial and subsequent steps in the identification of appropriate
technologies that are designed to enhance course delivery while aligning pedagogically with the
objectives and values of this intensely experiential course. Ancestral Technology 10 was
designed to support and encourage students to deeply understand the knowledge, skills and
artistic abilities required to build various Yukon Ancestral Technologies while upholding
traditional values regarding respect, sharing and community (Ancestral Technology 10, 2013, p.
2). The course, which was developed in 2013, and the redesign initiative align exceptionally well
with the strategic goals of Yukon Education.
The Organization: Where Does Ancestral Technology 10 Fit?
Yukon Education, the equivalent of a Board of Education in provincial jurisdictions,
strives to make the education system more responsive to and reflective of the diverse needs of
learners, with special attention to language and cultural history (Yukon Education Strategic
Plan, 2014, p. 1). A cornerstone of this vision is prioritizing First Nation student engagement,
achievement and future opportunity by creating new curriculum frameworks for
Yukon First Nations languages and cultures and supporting experiential programs that integrate


local First Nation traditional knowledge (Yukon Education Strategic Plan, 2014, p. 8).
Curriculum development and delivery focus on a holistic approach to supporting the intellectual,
social, emotional, and cognitive development of individual learners and reflects the overarching
objective of inclusive education. This strategic goal runs in tandem with that of ensuring that
students acquire the digital literacy competencies integral to becoming effective consumers of
information and contributors to global knowledge in a networked landscape where knowledge
creation and acquisition is exceptionally collaborative. Central to the redesign initiative for
Ancestral Technology 10 is the belief, supported by Varela and Westman (2014) that the active
nature of online learning leads to a mastery of concepts at a level of sophistication that exceeds
that of Face-to-Face counterparts. Students do better [learning online], in part, because their
learning is more active: they are required to regularly summarize and analyze what they are
studying (p. 43). The success of a shift to a blended approach is dependent on how the goals and
aspirations of the organization and the learning objectives of the course integrate seamlessly with
the technologies selected to create an engaging, relevant and meaningful learning experience.
The Foundation: The Existing Ancestral Technology 10 Course
Decision making about technology ... is a complex process, requiring consideration of a great
number of factors. An intuitive decision has to be made, but based on a careful analysis of the
situation (Bates and Poole, 2003, p. 73).
Juxtaposed with the fundamental commitment to integrate technology judiciously is the
intent to remain true to the philosophy of the existing Ancestral Technology 10 course: acquiring
knowledge and skills while upholding traditional values regarding respect, sharing and
community. Acknowledging the profound connection between the people, the land and the spirit
that has defined First Nation culture for centuries provides the foundation. Cultural preservation
is not merely about documenting existing modes of expression. It involves finding ways for
Indigenous forms to play a role in emerging technology and contemporary modes of cultural
expression (Robbins, 2010, p. 118). The challenge of shifting Ancestral Technology 10 to a
blended format will be delineating a path that seamlessly integrates the additional contemporary
technologies essential to a blended delivery while ensuring that Yukon First Nation traditions
live on in an uncertain future. In listening to the wisdom of traditional voices, perspectives and
ways of knowing we ensure that the vital link between the past and the future remains intact. A
comprehensive knowledge of the existing Ancestral Technology 10 course framework will be


essential to using Bates and Pooles (2003) Sections Model as a framework to guide the redesign
and to realizing an exceptional opportunity to document, preserve and perpetuate centuries-old
The Framework: The Existing Ancestral Technology 10 Course
Course Synopsis
Ancestral Technology 10 is a Yukon Education credit course developed by the First
Nations Programs and Partnerships Unit in conjunction with First Nation and consulting partners,
experts in relevant fields (archaeology, history, art) elders, teachers, and community members
who support the experiential component, which premiers at a weeklong camp in the traditional
territory of the host First Nation. The course is an experiential exploration of the rich and diverse
technological and artistic traditions of Yukon First Nations through research, sharing with
talented elder-artists and experts in related fields, participation in authentic tool construction and
documentation of the learning experience. The learning journey encompasses acquiring firsthand knowledge and an appreciation of the skills, stories and artistic talents that underpin the
construction of a number of traditional First Nation technologies. Students use a specially
designed, non-linear Learning Journey Application in combination with a digital camera,
computer and software to document their leaning journey and an iPad to edit and create a
personal multi-media (presentation, video, blog). The contemporary technologies that are an
active component of the existing course promise to integrate exceedingly well with the
technologies being introduced in the redesign, facilitating a seamless shift to a blended format.
Students acquire researching and referencing skills, create an authentic artifact and establish
relationships with First Nation elders in an intergenerational collaboration. The inclusion of
Elders in the [educational] process can be described as the 'heart' of First Nations Pedagogy
(First Nations Pedagogy Online, 2009, Elders, para. 1). That this type of collaborative approach
to learning is of inestimable value is echoed in Freiberg and Driscolls (2005) When we view
our learners as collaborative partners, we are communicating our respect and our belief that they
have the ability to learn" (p. 225).
Course Rationale
First Nation culture is steeped in tradition and symbolism and is an expression of the
profound connection between the people, the land and the spirit. Inuit elders shared their
perspectives in The Canadian Council on Learning 2007 Report: Redefining how Success is


Measured in First Nations, Inuit and Mtis Learning, and suggested there is great continuity
between the past and the present, tradition and modernity and expressed the wish to integrate
the good and useful traditions from the past into modern institutions (p. 7). The promise of the
redesign initiative is an authentic educational experience that connects traditional ways of
knowing with contemporary technological innovation and active participation in cultural
preservation and revitalization. In connecting learners with their cultural heritage relevance and
meaning permeate the learning experience. A synergy exists between students revisiting their
cultural heritage and those who accompany them on the journey and come to appreciate the
cultural heritage of their peers. They are empowered by membership in a community and in their
collective search for knowledge and truth. And that that membership be extended to all Yukon
communities, isolated and central in an inclusive Web is the raison d'tre for the initiative.
Organizational Structure
Considerable latitude exists in the organizational structure of Ancestral Technology 10,
which makes the course a logical selection for Blended Delivery in a variety of First Nation
communities whose perspectives are diverse and traditional technology practices varied.
Individual modules are flexible and adaptable with credit values aligning with the total number
of instructional hours and depth of study. The foundational module will be completed at a
weeklong experiential camp, while subsequent study continues in students home communities,
focusing on additional course modules and the acquisition of knowledge and skills in a variety of
ancestral technologies to gain additional credits. Students conduct independent in depth research,
engage in collaborative projects, discuss concepts and perspectives with peers and mentors,
create multimedia presentations and direct the pace and the focus of their unique learning
journey. Selection of a semester module will reflect the expertise that exists in a participating
community in conjunction with a set of conditions that will support module delivery including
the availability of elder-mentors, access to supplies and materials, student interest, teacher
comfort and community support.
Learning Objectives (Prescribed Learning Outcomes)
The Ancestral Technology 10 course, whether delivered Face-to-Face or in a blended
format incorporates prescribed learning outcomes, academic and practical, which students
demonstrate individually and collaboratively in a variety of ways. Learning objectives clearly


describe the competencies that students are expected to develop throughout the course. Natasha
Kenny (2010) argued, The process of constructive alignment emphasizes that students are
central to the creation of meaning, and must be provided with opportunities to actively select,
and cumulatively construct their own knowledge (p. 1). Kenny elaborates with a set of
guidelines to maximize the quality of learning outcomes: tasks and experiences are authentic,
real world and relevant, are constructive and interlinked, require students to use and engage with
progressively higher order cognitive processes, are aligned with each other and provide
challenge, interest and motivation to learn. The learning objectives for the Ancestral Technology
10 course exemplify the constructive alignment approach to course delivery. See Appendix A for
the Prescribed Learning Outcomes of Ancestral Technology 10.
Course Module Descriptions
Ancestral Technology 10 encompasses six diverse adaptive modules that exemplify the
range and diversity of traditional technical skills that were fundamental to the survival of First
Nation people and their communities for thousands of years. Module 1: Introduction to
Technology, the foundational module for Ancestral Technology 10, takes its inspiration from the
doctoral dissertation of Ukjese van Kampens (2012), History of Yukon First Nations Art. The
series of tasks prepare students for future modules and inaugurates their technology-enhanced
learning journeys. Concepts examined and knowledge acquired will provide the foundation for the
Ancestral Technology 10 odyssey. See Appendix B for additional course module descriptions.
Course Assessment Components
Authentic assessment is integral to holistic learning. The First Nations learner dwells in
a world of continual re-formation, where interactive cycles, rather than disconnected events,
occur. In this world, nothing is simply a cause or an effect, but the expression of the
interconnectedness of life (Canadian Council on Learning, 2007, Holistic Lifelong Learning
Model, para. 1). Authentic assessment measures accomplishments that are relevant and
meaningful. Assessment that reflects authenticity and continuity is intrinsic to the Ancestral
Technology 10 learning experience. See Appendix D for the components of assessment.
Student Demographics: Diversity; A Challenge or an Asset?
Students enrolling in Ancestral Technology 10 will potentially represent diverse Yukon


communities and consequently bring with them a range of knowledge, skills, experiences and
perspectives. While challenges accompany diversity, it is the unique perspectives of individual
members that bring richness to the learning experience and encourage group members with
varied levels of proficiency and expertise to collaborate with one another. Vicky Mather (2003),
Alberta Education, sees diversity as an asset in the classroom and views diverse perspectives as
thinking out of the box (Alberta Teachers Association, 2003, Summer Series 2003, para. 3).
The majority of students who enroll in Ancestral Technology 10 will be of First Nations heritage.
Michael Donovan (2007) argued Indigenous learners have distinct ways of learning and
knowing, Indigenous 1 epistemology. Indigenous Epistemology characterizes ideal pathways for
First Nation learners as those that support holistic and spatial approaches, self-pacing,
simultaneous processing, collaboration and global, or big picture learning approaches that are
particularly well suited to online learning environments that integrate technological resources.
Blended Learning in Yukon: Organizational Support
Just as online courses are disrupting our assumptions about higher education, our K-12
education system is brimming with enthusiasm about blending the best of online learning
with the best of traditional schools. If we can get this right, blended learning has
tremendous potential to dramatically improve education for students and teachers.
(Greenburg, 2014, para. 1)
Educational experiences are unique entities that are defined by geographical,
demographic, pedagogical, cultural and technological realities that coexist at a point in time.
Designing and successfully delivering a blended learning experience will depend on
comprehensive, informed, and thoughtful decision making about all the factors that will
influence the outcome. As Cindy Underhill argued in Assessing Technology: Using the Sections
Model, Implementing a new approach or technology for the first time is an experiment
(Underhill, 2013, p. 7). The Yukon has been fortunate to have successfully implemented four
Blended Learning pilots in the past two years. Getting it right will rely on the lessons learned
from these experiences and the willingness to take calculated risks. The support systems for

The terms Aboriginal, Indigenous and First Nations are used interchangeably in

contemporary forms of expression, reflecting the diversity of regional vernacular. Aboriginal or

Indigenous people in Canada are referred to as First Nations.


Blended Learning in the Yukon are multifaceted and comprehensive. With a student/computer
ratio of 2.9:1, Yukon is among the most connected educational jurisdictions in Canada, with
high-speed Internet access at all Yukon schools, a diverse range of current software applications
and Video conferencing facilities in all Yukon community schools. Yukon Education provides
participating students with the necessary tools for active and meaningful participation, including
a MacBook Air, access to the Learning Management System (LMS), the Yukon Education
Moodle, Yukon-developed courses to serve as templates with a uniquely Yukon perspective and
technical support and training provided by the Technology Assisted Learning Unit (TAL) and
the Information Technology Service and Support Unit (ITSS) during implementation, delivery
and future expansion.
Inclusion: Organization and Community Supports
Creating inclusive educational environments is a keystone of curriculum development
and delivery in the Yukon. Culturally inclusive learning environments embrace and celebrate
diversity and are open and responsive to multiple voices and perspectives. Educators are
responsible for creating a safe and supportive learning environment that strengthens cultural and
intellectual well-being among students in their community (Handbook of Yukon First Nation
Resources, 2013, p. 9) To this end a variety of beneficial programs and supports have been put in
place to enhance cultural awareness and inclusion. See Appendix C for a description of
community and cultural supports.
The Redesign Initiative: Designing for a Networked Future
Innovation resides at the heart of designing relevant and meaningful learning experiences,
however innovation alone is not sufficient to guarantee success. In truth there are no guarantees;
in relying on a recognized framework to evaluate and inform our choices we ensure that as many
contributing factors as possible are considered in designing a legitimate pathway to achieving
learning objectives. The contemporary technological landscape provides almost limitless
opportunity for creating engaging and meaningful learning environments but the extent to which
this immense potential is realized will depend on how judiciously we make our choices. Thomas
Friedman (2005), in his internationally best-selling book The World is Flat, suggested that
when the world is flat, and you can plug and play, collaborate and connect, your life chances
and opportunities hold more potential than ever before (p. 92). The promise of scholarship in a


networked world is discovering singular nodes in a global network, a niche for every learner.
The challenge of the redesign initiative is discovering the Ancestral Technology 10 node, that
singular location where traditional cultural values fuse with contemporary technological
innovation in the creation of a truly meaningful and transformative learning experience. The
fusion of ancient and contemporary technologies at this point in time seems like destiny.



Bates, A., & Poole, G. (2003). A framework for selecting and using technology. In Effective
teaching with technology in higher education. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
Canadian Council on Learning. (2007). First Nations holistic lifelong learning model. Retrieved
Canadian Council on Learning. (2007). Redefining how success is measured in First Nations,
Inuit and Mtis learning. Ottawa, Ontario. Retrieved from:
Donovan, M. (2007). Can information communication technological tools be used to suit
Aboriginal learning pedagogies? Information Technology and Indigenous People. IGL
Global Publishers. U.S.A. Retrieved from:
First Nations Pedagogy Online. (2009). Elders. Retrieved from:
First Nations Programs and Partnerships Unit, Department of Education. (2013). A handbook of
Yukon First Nations education resources for public schools 2013/2014. Retrieved from:
Friedman, T. (2005). The world is flat: a brief history of the Twenty-first Century. Farrar, Straus
& Giroux. U.S.A.
Freilberg, H., Driscoll, A. (2009). Learner-centered teaching: listen, engage, inspire.
Information Literacy Instruction: Theory and Practice. Chapter 12. Neal-Schuman
Publishers, Inc.; Second Edition. U.S.A.
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Government of Yukon. (2014). Yukon education strategic plan: 2014-2019. Retrieved from:
Greenberg, B. (2013). New models of education for teachers: blended classrooms. Coursera Blog.
September 13, 2013. Retrieved from:
Hobbis, C., McDonald, J., Ceretzke, K. (2013). Ancestral technology 10 course framework.
Retrieved from:
Kenny, N. (2012). Course design through constructive alignment. University of Guelph Course
Handout. Centre for Open Learning and Educational Support. Retrieved from:
Kirkwood, A., Price, L. (2014) Technology-enhanced learning and teaching in higher education:
what is enhanced and how do we know? A critical literature review. Learning, Media
and Technology, 39(1).
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Summer Series 2003. Retrieved from:
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intangible cultural heritage. International Journal of Education and Development using
Information and Communication Technology. 6(2). Retrieved from:
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Underhill, C. (2010). Assessing technology using the sections model. University of British
Columbia, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. Retrieved from:


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Retrieved from:
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Appendix A
Ancestral Technology 10 Prescribed Learning Outcomes
Technical Competence

Develop techniques specific to a Yukon First Nation


Planning & Problem Solving

Acquire background knowledge and creative/critical thinking

skills needed to design, build & repair a Yukon First Nation


Relate understanding of the Yukon First Nation technology to

personal, family and community traditional Yukon First Nation

Presentation Application

Research, document and share the knowledge, skills and attitude

for information sharing and archiving.

Note: From Government of Yukon, 2013, Ancestral Technology 10 Course Framework.



Appendix B
Ancestral Technology 10 Module Descriptions
Module Name

(5 hours)

Module Description

Module 2: Birch
Bark Basket

1 Credit (20-25

This module is an exploration of the historical and present

day use of containers based on material, size, shape and
utility and involves gathering and preparing natural
materials, selection of a design and construction of a birch
bark basket.

Module 3: Fire
Starter Kit

1 Credit (20 25

Exploring the historical and present day use of fire starter

kits is the focus of this unit leading up to a capstone
experience of using the fire starter kit on the land.

Module 4: Sewing

2 or 3 Credits (option
(45 50 hours or 70
75 hours)

The sewing module is an exploration of the historical and

present day use of sewing to produce clothing, containers,
shelters and a diverse range of essential articles and sewing
as an authentic First Nation art form.

Module 5: Atlatl

2 Credits (45 50

This module explores the historical use of the atlatl, an

ancient tool used to hunt and fish. The module will focus
on acquiring the knowledge, skills and values that
culminate in constructing and using an atlatl

Module 6: Knife &


3 Credits (70 75

The focus of this module is an exploration of the historical

and present day use of cutting and storing technologies that
lead to the capstone experience of constructing and using a
knife and sheath.

Module 1:
Introduction to

The foundational module for Ancestral Technology 10

takes its inspiration from the doctoral dissertation of Ukjese
van Kampens (2012), History of Yukon first nations art.
The series of tasks prepare students for future modules and
inaugurates their technology learning journeys. Concepts
examined and knowledge acquired will provide the
foundation that will guide students throughout the AT 10

Note: From Government of Yukon, 2013, Ancestral Technology 10 Course Framework.



Appendix C
Community Support and Cultural Inclusion Programs
Community Support Program

Program Description

Elders in the Schools

Elder mentorship is a fundamental component of the AT 10

course philosophy, which makes the availability of First Nation
community elders critical. The Elders in the School Program
provides elders with the opportunity to share their cultural
experiences, knowledge skills, and perspectives with school
staffs and student populations. These valued mentor-experts can
take on a mentorship role in AT 10 in their area of expertise are
essential to the delivering an authentic AT 10 experience in
isolated Yukon communities.

Cultural Inclusion Program

Funding is available to Yukon schools to develop and

implement cultural activities, projects and programs. The
primary focus has been First Nations activities such as carving,
beading, drum making and culture camps. The school, school
council, and First Nation work, together on these initiatives.

Community Education

Community Education Liaison Coordinators (CELC), Education

Support Workers (ES) and Education Outreach Coordinators
(EOC), as employees of their respective First Nations, are an
integral part of the school community and provide a link
between the school and the community. They provide invaluable
support with securing resource people within the community for
lesson and unit plans, providing guidance pertaining to First
Nations curriculum content, planning and providing workshops
and training related to cultural relevancy and act as a liaison
between the school and the community. They are the essence of
inclusion, without which the delivery of AT 10 in isolated
Yukon communities would not be possible.

Note: From Government of Yukon, 2013, Ancestral Technology 10 Course Framework.



Appendix D
Ancestral Technology 10: Components of Assessment
Formative Assessments

Summative Assessment

Observations, feedback and advice

(Elders, resource people, traditional teachers,
language, etc.)
Group and one-to-one discussions
One-minute checks
Checking components of Learning Journey
Self-check to an exemplar eBook
Self-check to the Student Created Criteria
Self and peer assessments
Various graphic organizers and topic worksheets
Ancestral Technology Rubric
Learning Journey eBook Rubric Class Generated

Note: From Government of Yukon, 2013, Ancestral Technology 10 Course Framework.