This week I had to find an app or tool that I am unfamiliar with and test it out. I decided to find an app that was focused around Indigenous content. As a future educator, I have the professional responsibility to teach Indigenous content in every subject area, as mandated by the curriculum and the Treaty Education Outcomes. That being said, if educators only teach informatively about Indigenous content and Treaty Education topics, they will pass down the inability to truly comprehend modern Indigenous issues. Therefore, I wanted to find a tool or app that would support my students in exploring Indigenous content beyond just the surface level.
To begin my search I typed in “apps for Indigenous education Canada” into the Google search bar. I came across a news article by CBC called “New Indigenous language app targets ’21st century’ learners”. The article discusses an app called KOBE Learn. Three different subcategories exist under the KOBE Learn apps, and they are Ojibway, Cree, and Oji-Cree. The goal of creating an app centered around Indigenous language is to preserve traditional languages and encourage Indigenous students to learn their first language.
I decided to try out the KOBE Learn Cree version. Here is a screen recording video that shows you what is included in the app:
As you can see from the video, the app has four main categories on the home screen: Language, Culture Notes, Search, and Credits. The Language section allows you to learn words from 31 different categories. Within each category you can either learn the words by listening to an elder speak the specific word, record yourself saying that word, or read the words in Cree instead of English. Each category also has a section for a game where you match the audio with the corresponding picture. You can choose between an easy, medium, or hard level of difficulty. The last option in the language categories is quizzes. You are able to quiz yourself by listening, speaking/recording yourself, and reading.
The Culture Notes section allows you listen and read nursery songs in Cree, watch videos in Cree, and look through different historical and modern images. The Search section allows you to easily find a specific word that you may be looking for. Finally, the Credits section lists everyone that contributed to the creation of this app.
Now that we have looked at all the individual components of this app, let’s discuss its strengths, weaknesses, and potential uses in the classroom.
- This app is extremely easy to use. I had no issues navigating through the different categories and sections.
- The games and quizzes would be very motivating and interesting for students. This is an interactive and fun way to practice learning the language.
- Being able to hear the words being spoken aloud allows students to hear the actual voice of a Cree individual.
- There are so many categories and words to learn.
- The videos demonstrate passing down the oral history and teachings from the Elders onto their children and shows examples of living off of the land.
- The app remains somewhat on the surface level information. If you were going to incorporate Cree words and phrases into your classroom, you should emphasize why it is important to incorporate Indigenous languages into the classroom.
- The video section only has three videos.
- I would argue that the usage of this app falls under the augmentation category on the SAMR model.
Since this app allows students to listen, learn, play games, and quiz themselves on their knowledge of different Cree words and phrases, I think that the app falls under the augmentation section of the SAMR model. The interactive components of this app adds functional improvement compared to simply looking up Cree words and learning them as a class. Additionally, I think that being able to hear a Cree Elder pronounce the phrases is a special component of this resource that also adds functional improvement. Indigenous youth are becoming more and more distant to their traditional languages, and this app allows students to explore the traditional Cree language while also retaining and preserving the language at the same time.
Based on the numerous categories, I think there are various ways that you can implement this app into the classroom. Here are a few ideas on how teachers could potentially use this app in the classroom:
- use the numbers category in relation to a math lesson
- hang up Cree words around the classroom so that students can associate the Cree words with English words
- plan a nature walk and discuss the weather using the Cree weather category
- plan a history lesson that discusses the loss of Indigenous languages, why language is so important, and ways to help protect and preserve Indigenous languages
Overall, I could see this app being a helpful resource for teachers and students. Although this app does not directly lead to deeper discussions of Treaty Education topics, I think that teachers can use this app to support or spark discussions around the importance of Indigenous languages, modern issues of Indigenous language loss, and connecting modern language loss back to residential schools and colonialism.
Would you consider using this app in your classroom? If so, how would you implement it in your class?