Posted to the Ethnos Project by on August 26th, 2013


This dissertation reports findings from a study documenting the use of multimedia technology among Indigenous language communities to assist language learners, speakers, instructors, and institutions learn about multimedia technologies that have contributed to Indigenous language revitalization, education, documentation, preservation, and maintenance. The overall study used an adapted technacy framework to investigate how Indigenous language advocates holistically understand, skillfully apply and communicate creative and balanced technological solutions that are based on understanding of contextual factors (Seemann & Talbot, 1995). The research presented is based on a survey of individuals who used technology for Indigenous language revitalization purposes, as well as on case studies of students of the American Indian Language Development Institute (AILDI) who enrolled in the technology course, Computer Applications for Indigenous Language Communities. The survey provided an overview of the types of technologies Indigenous communities are using for the revitalization of their language. In the study, case studies were also conducted to provide an in-depth understanding of where, when, why, and how users are implementing these technologies in their home, communities, and schools. Research questions, participants, and data collection were organized and analyzed according to three levels: multimedia technology use among Indigenous language communities, Indigenous language institutes and technology training, and AILDI student case studies.

Many Indigenous communities are facing language endangerment and extinction and are looking for ways to preserve, document, revitalize and maintain their languages. One way is the integration of technology. Findings from the study suggest that the language goals of the community need to be determined prior to the incorporation of technology in these efforts. The study also found that regardless of the size of the community, opportunities for using technology in Indigenous language revitalization efforts were shaped by literacy and oral proficiency of the community, as well as linguistic and cultural, social, economic, environmental, and technological factors as expressed in the adapted technacy model. Overall, the study underscored the importance of taking context into consideration in order to make grounded choices about technology as a component of contemporary language revitalization efforts.

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