Posted to the Ethnos Project by on September 12th, 2014

This is the second edition of our TELR training manual. The changes are primarily seen in the updating of specific technology and the addition of a tutorial on Publisher. These materials are designed for the true computer beginner who is also an indigenous language practitioner, teacher, student or advocate. In recent years, the plight of languages indigenous to the Americas has been repeatedly brought to light (Krauss, 1992, Hinton and Hale 2001). The startling facts, which all point to language loss on a grand scale, call for urgent efforts to document, preserve, teach and generally revitalize these languages. Broad based and local efforts are needed for this task. These include community commitments to expand indigenous language education, increased advocacy for community languages, integrating the work of dedicated elders, teachers, and students of these languages and a careful examination of how technology can assist in these efforts.

Digital technologies are quickly becoming an integral part of our every day world. Harnessing this technology can make it a viable tool for language learning. This training guide offers to help beginners create technology-enhanced language learning materials in support of indigenous language revitalization. It aims to acquaint them with basic computer technologies, which can be used towards language teaching and language documentation. Because this project has been supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and its “Native American Access to Technology” program, these materials are designed to be consistent with the computers and most of the software currently used in the tribal libraries throughout the Southwest.

Part I of this guide presents a brief history on the relationship between indigenous languages and technology. Insights are provided as to how to acquire and use native language data as source material for instructional media. Part II reviews the basic parts of a computer and their functions. Part III is focused on those computer programs, which will allow for the creation of the most basic types of interactive language lessons. The users of these materials will need access to the Internet, Microsoft WORD 2003, MaxAuthor, Power Point 2003, Microsoft Publisher 2003, and Adobe Photoshop 7 to correctly apply the activities included here. Each discussion of a new program includes an explanation of what the program capabilities are in terms of indigenous language support, a graphic description of how to proceed with language-specific components offered within the program and exercises throughout to assist in training. Part IV discusses new directions in technology and additional resources.

Advocacy is a beginning point for all who venture into the world of endangered languages. To that end, these materials also contain stories and quotations aimed at supporting and enlightening those who function as language advocates for their own or another’s endangered language.

These materials are very focused and were tested in a one-month long course at the American Indian Language Development Institute in Tucson, Arizona, summers of 2003-2005. We hope these materials are helpful and encouraging to beginning students. Our goal is to assist in the maintenance, documentation and revitalization of Indigenous languages. We see technology as a promising way to bring historically rich heritage languages into present, practical use.

Susan D. Penfield, Ph.D.
Phillip Cash Cash, A.B.D.
Candace Kaleimamoowahinekapu Galla, M.A. Yetsast^slahawi Kah^tokt / Tracy Williams, M.A. Depree ShadowWalker, M.Ed., A.B.D.

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