A couple of days ago the Information and Communications Technology Council released a report that is quite relevant to readers of our annual project.
A Scan of Programs in Canada
By Faun Rice , Noah Lubendo , Trevor Quan , Mansharn Toor December 18, 2023
Education of all forms has long been offered at a distance via technology. However, it has never seemed so important to develop the infrastructure and capacity to offer online, distance, and electronic learning as it did during the last four years. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) was working on two studies in which interviewees highlighted the extreme barriers to e-learning access faced by students living in Indigenous communities: one focused on e-learning across the country and the other on Indigenous Leadership in Technology in British Columbia. Both of these reports told a story of inequities caused by gaps in affordable broadband internet in the home, as well as lack of access to hardware.
Nevertheless, there are many Indigenous learning professionals in both secondary and post-secondary education who are pursuing innovative projects to improve digital equity and Indigenize learning with technology. Many of these initiatives have been in existence since long before the COVID-19 pandemic, created to generate access to secondary education and other training programs not available in many communities or to preserve language and culture. This article highlights Indigenous-led e-learning programs, outlining the need for and the significance of Indigenous-led digital learning. It provides examples of programs that managed to navigate through the pandemic and continue to offer muchneeded distance education to Indigenous learners.