ETEC 521: Indigeneity, Technology, and Education


This course explores considerations related to Indigenous people, history, educational policy, and digital technology. Indigenous people have been uniquely positioned to both challenge technology and to utilize it for their own purposes of identity expression and political mobilization. This course raises questions about the dilemmas of cultural expression in a postmodern digital age while surveying themes of online learning technologies and media production to reinvigorate languages, oral traditions, and knowledge systems.

Both theoretical and practical issues will be discussed related to the protection of cultural property, Indigenous epistemology, and the dilemmas of “place based” education in a placeless online condition. Students will develop a critical vocabulary on cultural responsiveness related to Indigenous cosmology and ways of knowing.

This course focusses on how place and landscape provide the epistemological framework for pedagogy, curriculum, and the challenges of knowledge production and knowledge protection in the digital age. Extending out in a comparative fashion, the focus moves from the Coast Salish region to the Canadian North and, more broadly, the Circumpolar North.

This course is designed for learners who desire some understanding of how Indigenous communities have used media and digital technology to advance traditional knowledge and self-determination. This course familiarizes you with a basic critical vocabulary related to decolonizing education and Indigenous resurgence in educational spaces. Discussions regarding respectful research protocols will be an underlying theme of ETEC 521.

Learning Objectives

In ETEC 521 you will:

  • Demonstrate the ability to include relevant literature on Indigenous knowledge and values in graduate-level writing assignments related to technology and media.
  • Advance their ability to participate in discussions related to the development of technology-based learning that incorporates appropriate Indigenous values and goals.
  • Develop an understanding of the ways that oral tradition and Indigenous knowledges are interconnected while critically evaluating the nature of internet technology as a contemporary expression of visual literacy and orality. Students will assess the prospects of technological transmission of Indigenous mythic sensibilities through the internet.
  • Develop the ability to recognize stereotypes of Indigenous people and advance a critical understanding of how decolonization is being enacted by self- determining Indigenous communities.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the literature on technology, culture, and intellectual property rights by incorporating their own research questions into a broader exploratory paper.

Readings & Resources

The content of ETEC 521 features a number of video interviews with Indigenous scholars, community members, and educational leaders in addition to articles and book chapters by recognized scholars in Indigenous education and media.

Example course resources

Assignments & Assessment

  • Strong Introductory Video about yourself & networking (10%)

You will create and share a brief (2 – 3 minute) introduction video about yourself. Your post may also be a short podcast (2 – 3 minutes). You may also use another medium for example a PIKTOCHART, thinglink, digital art / visual storytelling, VideoScribe etc.

  • Research statement (10%)

You will identify and describe a research interest related to course themes.

  • Research Weblog (25%)

You are invited to compile brief descriptive notes of web sites visited during the course of the term. This will take the form of an annotated blog or journal and should include at least 20 sites and 1,000 words of description. In your postings, you are asked to describe resources available, links to other sites, and usefulness for research on Indigenous knowledge, media, and community reality. Five postings will be required for each of the four modules.

  • Final Project/Paper (35%)

Your final paper or a project will be a scholarly production such as a multimedia slide show, film, or other form of presentation. If the paper option is chosen, the paper should be 2,000 words and include references. Students who wish to work in collaboration (2 or 3 persons) to satisfy the final assignment may do so and should submit an abstract illustrating how you will work together as well as the research interests of each individual.

  • Participation/Discussion (20%)

Participation in discussions and other aspects of the course is worth 30 percent of your final grade. Timely submission of discussion postings and assignments will be an important factor in the participation component of your grade.