• Liitukut Sugpiat'Stun (We Are Learning How To Be Real People): Exploring Kodiak Alutiiq Literature Through Core Values

      Drabek, Alisha Susana; Barnhardt, Ray (2012)
      The decline of Kodiak Alutiiq oral tradition practices and limited awareness or understanding of archived stories has kept them from being integrated into school curriculum. This study catalogs an anthology of archived Alutiiq literature documented since 1804, and provides an historical and values-based analysis of Alutiiq literature, focused on the educational significance of stories as tools for individual and community wellbeing. The study offers an exploration of values, worldview and knowledge embedded in Alutiiq stories. It also provides a history of colonial impacts on Alutiiq education and an in-depth study of the early colonial observers and ethnographers who collected Alutiiq oral literature, clarifying the context in which the stories have been retold or framed. Collections of traditional Indigenous literatures are valuable on many levels. This collection is of historical and personal significance for local Kodiak Alutiiq tribal members' identity as it makes these resources more accessible for community members and educators, and therefore accessible to younger and future generations. The conclusion also provides recommendations for next steps for developing curriculum and revitalizing Alutiiq oral traditions. The book is intended to contribute to an understanding of the evolution of cultural traditions in Alaska, and to serve as a model for similar cultural reclamation and education efforts.
    • Polishing The Mirror: A Multiple Methods Study Of The Relationship Between Teaching Style And The Application Of Technology In Alaska's Rural One To One Digital Classrooms

      Ledoux, Larry S.; Monahan, John; Covey, Jerry; Richey, Jean; Smiley, Scott (2012)
      This mixed method survey study examined the inter-relationships between teaching styles and the depth of classroom-based technology applications used by teachers participating in 1:1 digitally enhanced classrooms in thirteen of Alaska's rural school districts. The promise of technology to catalyze the transformation of schools into learner centric environments preparing students to be 21st century learners has not been realized. Significant first order barriers have limited the digital learning resources necessary to systemically affect pedagogical change. During the last six years, various entities have sponsored digitally enhanced learning environments to stimulate the process of education reform. These initiatives, labeled as one-to-one (1:1), brought teachers face-to-face with the challenges related to second order education reform while creating an opportunity to study changes in instructional philosophy and practice as a result of teaching in an environment rich in technology. This study explored three questions formulated to probe the relationship between pedagogical philosophy and the application of 1:1 technology to support learning: • "What is the relationship between instructional philosophy and the way teachers use technology to support learning in Alaskan high school 1:1 laptop programs?" • "How does access to a 1:1 classroom affect a teacher's instructional philosophy or practice?" • "Does access to a 1:1 digitally enhanced teaching environment facilitate the use of instructional practices consistent with Alaska Native and 21st century learner outcomes?" Ninety-four rural high school teachers responded to a survey that assessed teaching styles on a continuum from transmission to constructivist. The level of technology adoption was examined using three indices that respectively measure the professional, personal and classroom use of technology by teachers. Information derived from open ended questions was triangulated with quantitative data to develop a meaningful understanding of the study questions. Quantitative and qualitative data suggested that the majority of responding teachers identified with constructivist beliefs over traditional transmission. Teachers noted a strong positive relationship between teaching and the application of technology, yet analysis showed that constructivist beliefs were attenuated by several challenges related to management of technology. While teachers were generally aware of the potential for digital learning technologies to support Alaska Native and 21st century methods, they were outweighed by operational concerns related to the integration of technology. These study questions are significant. Digitally enhanced instructional practices help to equip students with the skills expected of 21st century learners. Perhaps even more significant is the congruence between the teaching styles traditionally used by Alaska Natives and the digitally enhanced constructivist practices made possible when using technology to augment processes for acquiring knowledge.
    • Preparing Culturally Responsive Teachers Of Science, Technology, Engineering, And Math Using The Geophysical Institute Framework For Professional Development In Alaska

      Berry Bertram, Kathryn; Barnhardt, Raymond; McMillan, Claude III; Kramm, Gerhard; Smith, Roger (2011)
      The Geophysical Institute (GI) Framework for Professional Development was designed to prepare culturally responsive teachers of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Professional development programs based on the framework are created for rural Alaskan teachers who instruct diverse classrooms that include indigenous students. This dissertation was written in response to the question, "Under what circumstances is the GI Framework for Professional Development effective in preparing culturally responsive teachers of science, technology, engineering, and math?" Research was conducted on two professional development programs based on the GI Framework: the Arctic Climate Modeling Program (ACMP) and the Science Teacher Education Program (STEP). Both programs were created by backward design to student learning goals aligned with Alaska standards and rooted in principles of indigenous ideology. Both were created with input from Alaska Native cultural knowledge bearers, Arctic scientists, education researchers, school administrators, and master teachers with extensive instructional experience. Both provide integrated instruction reflective of authentic Arctic research practices, and training in diverse methods shown to increase indigenous student STEM engagement. While based on the same framework, these programs were chosen for research because they offer distinctly different training venues for K-12 teachers. STEP offered two-week summer institutes on the UAF campus for more than 175 teachers from 33 Alaska school districts. By contrast, ACMP served 165 teachers from one rural Alaska school district along the Bering Strait. Due to challenges in making professional development opportunities accessible to all teachers in this geographically isolated district, ACMP offered a year-round mix of in-person, long-distance, online, and local training. Discussion centers on a comparison of the strategies used by each program to address GI Framework cornerstones, on methodologies used to conduct program research, and on findings obtained. Research indicates that in both situations the GI Framework for Professional Development was effective in preparing culturally responsive STEM teachers. Implications of these findings and recommendations for future research are discussed in the conclusion.
    • "That's A Hard Question": Undergraduate Students Talk About Culture

      Montague-Winebarger, Caitlin N.; Leonard, Beth (2012)
      In this project I examine the ability of undergraduate students to articulate a working definition of culture and cross-culture. The students were predominately elementary education majors, enrolled in one of two culture-based elective courses at the University of Alaska Fairbanks during the 2010-2011 school year. Through the use of semi-structured interviewing and participatory/observational autoethnographic fieldwork, I provide several viewpoints from which to look at this complex issue. Through the examination of historical and institutional documents, I show that the School of Education within the University has had a long-standing commitment to teacher education in the Alaskan context, including creating teachers who understand the importance of cultural relevance. As this project shows, how students are taking up this aspect of theft teacher-training program is varied, and few students were able to provide a concise and applicable definition or framework for thinking about culture and cultural difference. In order to create culturally relevant teachers, the School must undertake more and better activities to provide students carefully structured experiences with cultural diversity, and culturally diverse learners, as well as ways to talk about those experiences. Like many other universities, students at the University of Alaska Fairbanks come to classes with many stereotypes about cultural groups and the importance, or lack thereof, of multicultural education. In my project, this came forth as resistance to talking about cultural diversity, and resistance to multicultural coursework. The students actively worked minimize cultural difference in favor of thinking in terms of individual, personality, and place-based difference.
    • Using Multicultural Literature To Promote Cultural Awareness And Deepen Understanding Of Your Own: A Yup'ik Teacher-Researcher's Journey

      Sundown, Nuraraq Joanne T.; Parker-Webster, Joan; Siekmann, Sabine (2010)
      The purpose of this research is to see if using multicultural literature potentially enhances a student's own respect of his/her culture and language. Through the use of a multicultural thematic unit and multicultural literature, students potentially gain awareness and respect for diverse populations. This research hopes to see this diverse awareness and respect reflected on the students' own culture and language. The research conducted was a qualitative research using participants enrolled in the Scammon Bay School for the school year 2008-2009. The participants were nine second grade students. The research methods outlined several techniques such as interviews, observations, and student artifacts, namely the Make Connections Organizer. Data collection began December 2008 and ended May 2009. The goal is to find out how students responded and/or connected to the multicultural literature as it may relate to their own culture and language.