Alaskan K-12 Innovations WebTour                       

Click on each of the following links to explore informally a wide range of K-12 innovations and resources, many by Alaskan Natives. Return to your favorite sites at your convenience for more in-depth exploration. The most interesting part of many web sites is often their listings of other web sites, where one generally makes the greatest discoveries of new resources.

The following cultural web sites are from the  "Favorite Native American Resources" listing at 

Alaskan Educational Institution Resources

Yukon-Koyukuk Regional Consortium Web pages

Alaskan K12 Web Innovations WebTour

Review the following innovations of teachers and students with the understanding that learning the "how-to's" is not nearly as important as understanding what computers and Internet make possible. Once you know what you want to learn, there are many learning options available and its never as hard as you'd thought it would be. The secrets here are that  1. It's more fun to learn with others, and   2. Students often can learn many of these skills and teach them to their classmates!

Other Native Cultural Projects of Interest

This year, two high schools will graduate their first classes of students who have attended schools where the Hawaiian language was the dominant language for all 12 years. Twelve language immersion schools are in operation currently. An entire K12 printed curriculum has been translated into Hawaiian. Academic scores were 30% higher than English-based comparable schools. Six hundred Native speakers use electronic communications to exchange information in their Native language on the project’s First Class BBS. This BBS is also used by elementary students. The software for this bulletin board system (BBS) has menus in Hawaiian. The Netscape web browser will be modified so all its menus are also in Hawaiian.

Seven hundred hours of oral histories of Native elders will soon be posted on the Internet as a means of sharing their cultural history. Keola Donaghy, at the University of Hawaii, Hilo Campus, is the lead teacher ( and has written the following summaries of this work:  and   Many components of Keola’s work are absolutely the first such innovations for Native languages and intense interest has been show by many other Native groups.


K12 Cultural Curriculum Models and Resources


A wonderful model for developing your own project-based learning activities:
Start here and read a bit about why teachers love WebQuests! Select the Slide Show!

In a typical webquest activity, students would use the Internet to access specific information on a defined topic, researching first as an individual, and then engaging with others in a defined small group activity to share their research results and integrate it with those of others. The activity ends with a group presentation and often creation of a web page with the research findings. Linking such activities to real world problems and issues makes this model extremely important and relevant as a necessary trend in education.

The Official Webquest homepage,, offers teachers a highly customizable format for creation of their own online projects. Online recertification courses for teachers are available during which they will create their own webquests and then post them all on the Internet.. Rich collections of teacher-created webquests are available via web pages created as a result of these previous classes, giving teachers a model for sharing their creative lessonplans with other teachers.

Teachers can start by using webquest activities created by other teachers:

Teachers can use template web pages
           to easily design their own projects. See the WebQuest Tutorial on
           designing WebQuests


Cyberfair is a project-based competition where students create web pages showcasing various school/community synergies. Here is a link to the Choctaw Tribal School's winning Cyberfair entry; And here’s their main school homepage;   The Choctaw Tribal Schools are also involved with the I*EARN First Peoples Art Project. The lead teacher is Bob Smith ( The significance of participating in a global competition, and winning recognition for their work, is a key replicable feature of Internet competitions and activities. The students literally feel they are championing the cause of their culture and develop great pride in their multimedia depictions of their culture.

Cyberfair is a competition for students of all ages sponsored by MCI and Cisco Systems and offers a structured opportunity for students to create web pages showcasing school and community synergies among the eight categories listed below. Many Elementary School entries of extraordinary quality make the point that even very young students can participate, as shown by the three Alaskan winning entries below! Cyberfair is expanding with a Community Share project to encourage students to share information and online projects with other communities.

  1. Local Leaders
  2. Community Groups and Special Populations
  3. Business and Community Organizations
  4. Local Specialties
  5. Local Attractions (Natural and Man-Made)
  6. Historical Landmarks
  7. Environmental Awareness
  8. Local Music and Art Forms

Here's three Alaskan Elementary School Winners:

Hunter Hornet's Cyberquilting Bee

The Magnificent Moose Project

Alaska Native Art Virtual Museum
Complete with Athabaskan curators. Check it out!

The Cradleboard project

This fascinating project has developed a program for linking Native American students via Internet with traditional non-Native classrooms for the specific purpose of having Native American students teach about the history of their tribes; adding a level of authenticity previously missing regarding the teaching of Native American History. This project, and model, has dramatic implications for worldwide replication. The entrepreneurial potential of offering structured project-based learning activities via Internet, with cultural authenticity, cannot be over emphasized.

Buffy St. Marie, a well-known Native Activist, Graphics Artist and Singer, created the Cradleboard project, which she describes below;

About twelve years ago I began to develop a program to provide accurate curriculum about Native American cultures to non-Indian teachers. Six years ago I extended the idea to include live and interactive curriculum-based exchanges between cross cultural classes of school children in Hawaii and Canada, and I saw the whole curriculum come to life. The Cradleboard Teaching Project developed out of those twelve years of informal experience, which I funded with my own monies through my Nihewan Foundation. Two years ago we received a major grant from the Kellogg Foundation. We are presently operating cross cultural pilot sites at 33 classes in 11 states.

Briefly, Cradleboard is a nationwide, cross-cultural initiative to help children of all races to build self-identity and self esteem through excellent Native American curriculum and personal cultural exchange using communications technology. The Project uses all available technologies to empower Indian children with a richer, more profound understanding of their own cultures by helping them share it, live and interactive, with the rest of America's children, who deserve to know the positive reality of Native American culture. Our curricula in Geography, Science, Music, Social Studies, and History all match National Standards, and we would like to add the Arts to this list.

We are in the middle of creating three (very) interactive CD Rom for Science, which will be offered in the fall to our participants in Elementary, Middle and High School grades ( that's why there are three). In all, we plan to create 15 CDs 5 subjects listed above X 3 grade levels.

The project combines curriculum with genuine interactivity. The interactivity part includes live chat and live video conferencing between Native and Mainstream classes; personal visits, phone calls, letters, curriculum exchange, and website stuff. The CD is being designed to be easy and make sense to teachers and kids in real schools, not just to impress those of us with T1 lines and fast machines. So many of our grantees (schools) have a jumble of lowest common denominator, 'whatever' computer situation - slow, limited access etc - that we are holding back on true CD-website interactivity and concentrating on the content.

We brought 200 people to Kauai in March. Scholarshipped students, teachers and administrators to learn Cradleboard methods. Four foreign countries - NZ, Australia, Norway, Canada - came, as they want to unleash us for upgrading race relations in their indigenous-mainstream countries.

Two Perks 1. Several schools have lobbied their schoolboards to upgrade Cradleboard to full curriculum status, so that time and connectivity is scheduled on the same basis as social studies and science. 2. NAES College in Wisconsin gave graduation credits to their teachers in training for attending one of our regional conferences to learn Cradleboard methods.

The White House links to the Cradleboard Teaching Project website as an example of Promising Practices for the President's Initiative on Race. We were recently featured at 's website; and Yahoo is doing a print story that includes us for the fall; and plans to do a feature later.

Buffy St. Marie
C/O Business Support Services
1191 Kuhio Hwy.
Kapaa, HI 96746

The 4Directions Project
"Internet Strategies for Empowering Indigenous Communities in Teaching and Learning" is funded by the Technology Literacy Challenge grant program from the U.S. Dept. of Education.
One very interesting component is their work on "Developing Virtual Museums in Native American Schools" The 4Directions multicultural curriculum for K12 at "The Explorer Trail;"

The Cultural Survival Quarterly

This unique journal has recently published a special issue on"The Internet and Indigenous Groups" which is of exceptional quality and presents many significant case studies worldwide.  See also "Reclaiming Native Education: Activism, Teaching and Leadership"  Select "Publications, CS Quarterly, Back Issues"

Wireless Solutions for Home Internet in Villages

Cultural Entrepreneurship

Never before in human history have individuals had the power to self-publish globally on equal par with the world's greatest governments, corporations and universities. Many Native American artists and crafts persons have their own web pages allowing global marketing direct from their reservation. Digital cameras and new types of software programs allow economical creation of 3-D object images which allow anyone on the Internet to rotate an image of an object, such as a Native craft, and view it from all angles. This capability has enormous significance for global marketing of locally produced crafts and products.

Similar software allows the creation of 360 degree panoramic images. To produce an image that would allow anyone on the Internet to literally use their mouse to turn left or right in a full circle, one would simply take pictures in a circle and easily run a program to "stitch" them into one seamless image. These images also allow the viewer to zoom in and to look upward and downward.

Historical sites, local cultural museums, eco-tourism locations, tours of the school and community, and even the interior of classrooms could all be viewable worldwide with minimal effort and expense. Since an increasing number of travelers use the web to gain information prior to traveling, eco-tourism and cultural-tourism opportunities, as well as Bed and Breakfast accommodations have proven the web exceptionally effective as a means of promotion.

Recent advances in software have made these multimedia-publishing capabilities easy enough for primary students to use. With the current emphasis on School-to-Work programs, many Native students have created exciting entrepreneurship models. Here are a few example sites: