Native Studies 10 Course Module Walkthrough

Hey everyone!

I guess it’s that time… the end of another semester. I am looking forward to seeing everyone’s course modules and reading/hearing the feedback on mine!

Quick course overview refresher:

Course: Native Studies 10 - Unit3: Governance & Indigenous Leadership

Model: Blended Learning mixed with Thinking Classroom Flipped Model

Audience: 15-16-year-olds, primarily minority groups, high absence rate

LMS: Canvas Instructure

Accessibility: enlarge font, buttons and videos, videos to read lessons aloud, alternative text, open form assignment submissions, assessment and needs form.

Tech integrations: Padlet, Flipgrid, PollEverywhere, Screencastify (videos and interactive videos), Lumi (videos, drag and drop, fill in the blanks), Google Docs/Slides/Forms

Community: face-to-face/groups work, group forum discussions, live Canvas Chat group assignments

Here is the course module walkthrough:

Click to see the 10 minute course walkthrough

Online “Community”

How do you create an authentic online “community”? Is it possible? In relation to my previous post, “Defining Course Accessibility & Equity”, how do we balance the diverse needs, requests, and capabilities of our students and families to create equitable and ethical accessibility for everyone? Can we please everyone or do we just ensure we include the basics needed for starting and building an online community and add alternatives for those who choose to want different?

What is an Online Community?

When I think of an online community I think of a group or page on Facebook, that is directly where my brain turns. However, if we think of what the term “community” means in generalized terms we can understand that it is and can be the coming together of any people for the purpose of commonality, whatever that may be: religion, culture, family, school, interests.

When I think of the online community I’m wanting to create for my online class I consider what it is that we have in common other than they need to participate to pass my class. Our overall commonality is Native Studies 10 - the learning and application of Indigenous ways of life. As I mentioned in a previous post, I struggled to choose to make this course incorporate technology as many believe that these courses should decolonize and revert back to authentic and traditional teachings, but I also feel that there is room to do both in order to be able to reach all my students to the best of my abilities, especially with a course with such high absence.

Indigenous Communities

Community is vital to the Indigenous ways of life and this should be no different for my course. When considering how to incorporate forms of communication to develop an online community I knew I wanted to have variety to keep them learning new tools, I wanted to keep them interested, and I knew I needed to be able to monitor that involved and guide them to focused forms of communication.

Community is a pillar of identity for Indigenous Peoples — it is coming together for ceremony, for mourning, for celebration, for gratitude, for harvest, for support, for everything.

In my course I have included multiple forms of communication:

  • Flipgrid videos

  • Padlet collaboration activities

  • Polleverywhere surveys

  • Group work (blended classroom)

  • Teacher and Informational Videos (interactive and non)

  • Tutorial videos

  • Blogging

  • Google Form Submissions

  • Discussion Forums

  • Canvas Chat discussions

After I read the 6 Strategies for Building Community in an Online Course I reviewed my module and felt that it needed a few edits to make some instructions more focused and some additional links to create ease of useability and access. I also found that the multitude of communication tool and their groupings for those tools and activities, for the most part, fulfilled Bates’ suggestions for various communicative designs. I found the points under Meaningful Online Discussion particularly helpful to better focus my chat and discussion prompts.

Types of Communication

Flipgrid, Padlet & PollEv

Example of using Flipgrid in one of my lessons

I chose to include these forms of response or collaborative communication as either entry or exit slips. I placed them at the beginning or end of lessons to either break the ice or prompt reflective thought and discussions. Some include videos, and images while others are immediate compared responses (Padlet falling into both categories).

These communicative tools will initiate and develop critical thought more than carry a conversation. I hope that these forms of communication would inspire students to open up a bit, become comfortable with communicating with one another anonymously or asynchronously, and help build the community to become more comfortable and open during synchronous interactions.

Teacher-Created Tutorials & Videos

example of a tutorial video I made and included in my lesson.

These are for the purpose of support. I want students to know that I care and have taken the time to personally develop customized resources for them to use and learn from. This way they can see my face (especially important for those who are absent a lot), hear my voice, and know the type of teacher I am and the types of learning I hope to promote. By the time students hit upper elementary/middle year and high school they’ve learned that finding the type of work teachers like is beneficial. Though we should be open to all work we cannot help but have unconscious biases and also look for specific results depending on our subject area.

Blogging & Discussion Forums

Multiple communication options to build connection.

In relation to the previous section, I’ve included these forms of communication for a better understanding of my students. Yes, having online submissions makes student work more easily accessible to me and for me to keep track of their participation but it also allows me to see how they approach, reflect, and respond to prompts I’ve given and to those other than my own.

Blogging opens each student’s mind to be individually reflective and vulnerable. This way I am not viewing the altered thoughts influenced by a group discussion, which is not a bad thing, but it allows for a form of formative assessment and lets me know where this student’s personal knowledge level is. Once a discussion happens I can also read their post to know where that discussion has taken them and how they’ve received the information, processed it, and what they’re wondering after reflecting upon it.

Group Discussion forums promote critical thought. This is where discussion can become deepened and turn from automated responses to meaningful ones. I want my students to learn not just from me but from one another. Our students hold a language that we don’t have and sometimes that is exactly what they need to put together the final pieces of a puzzle we’ve been trying to help them form. This leads me to the final form.

Reliable Communication Forms - CHAT

One example of using the Chat feature in Canvas. 

One of the reasons I chose to use Canvas for my LMS was its built-in chat option for each course. I have learned from Katia’s courses that this open form of communication can offer a lot of insight, varied opinions, and helpful interactions. I find that this form of community building or communication supplies all the assets: meaningful connection and communication, engaging conversation, supportive content, and relevant discussion or questions and answers. I have added a few chat prompts to my module to encourage the use of the chat option and hope that it guides my students to feel comfortable and confident in using it knowing I am also a part of that chat.


When it comes to assessment the majority of these communicative platforms are monitored formatively. My reasoning behind this is that they predominantly show independent thought (Flipgrid, Padlet, PollEverywhere, discussion forum posts), meaningful interactions promoting new perspectives (discussion responses, chat, group work, info/tutorial videos), and then the formation of new knowledge or point of view (blogging and Google Form submissions).

Padlet example and how I’ve included video walkthroughs for absent students

The latter, blogs and form/quiz submissions, can serve as summative, collectively, to make up a portion of their final grade but this can be changed or removed depending on the course and the students. The overall goal is to offer multiple forms of communication to appeal to all areas of intellect, thought, ability, and perspective in order to build and sustain an ongoing and meaningful community around the commonality of Native Studies teaching and learning.


What are forms of communication or connection you are passionate about including in your courses?

Defining Course Accessibility & Equity

What does accessible means? Does it mean audio features and larger icons? Perhaps accessible means having a cellphone or computer? Maybe it just means having power and spotty internet. Accessible might mean having a printed package of worksheets designed and provided to you by a teacher who cares that also came with a few cool pencils and erasers. Access to education varies with every child and it is our job to adapt.

When discussing accessibility and equity with my peers it was clear that we all come from different areas and we all experience different obstacles when it comes to accessibility and equity. What I hope we have in common is that no matter how hard times get with budget cuts, higher demands, and fewer resources, we all understand and are motivated to be there to provide a safe, welcoming environment that offers an opportunity for growth.

Image from Vecteezy

Growth also has various meanings and should be applied with context. I have a strong belief that life needs are a priority to academic needs (not that academics are not significant). If a child is hungry or hasn’t slept all night due to feeling unsafe at home we need to work to do what we can for that life need to be met prior to asking that child to participate in reading 3 chapters of a novel to catch up. Perhaps offering a snack while reading them the first chapter and having a discussion about it is a way to fulfill both of those needs simultaneously. What about pausing the class to have a group meditation session for 20 minutes so we can focus on our mental health (and that student can get a few minutes of undisturbed sleep)?

Teaching has changed and I feel it is our duty to change with it. We promise to continue learning so we can be the best we can be for our students but maybe all they need is a snack and someone to read to them, even if they’re 15. We don’t have a job to do, we have a role to fill, and our role is to provide a safe environment for growth. At least that’s my belief. I know that is what I would want for my child.

Accessibility in Blended Learning

Accessibility is something I attempted to consider when building my module but, looking back, I can see where I need to add some notes and accessibility features. I need to add notes to my drag’n’drop activities that can also be utilized as click-and-click activities. I also want to add some audio buttons to my Lumi videos which I learned about from Anna in her Lumi blog post. Thanks, Anna.

Image from Vecteezy

I also spoke with my dad’s best friend, who runs a successful company with the use of technology and is a quadriplegic. He uses a chair he steers with his chin and operates his computer using glasses that “click” when he double blinks both eyes. He runs a large furniture and appliance store and says that large buttons are his favourite accessibility feature because like some people have “fat fingers” he seems to have “fat eyes” and sometimes orders too many stoves if the buttons are too small. He’s spoken with some of the supply companies and their tech departments and they’d made accessibility changes to their site thanks to him bringing awareness to accessibility needs.

I attempted to activate subtitles for my Lumi videos but was saddened to see that this option is not compatible with YouTube on Lumi. The option is available through YouTube itself though.

When it comes to the basics of accessibility, internet, power, and attendance to access education, I have experienced these situations frequently and have plans to print my LMS lesson screens, the text versions of the videos (thank you YouTube Transcripts), and activities. I watched this YouTube video to learn how to find the transcripts (and use videos with transcripts) for the videos I want to use in my courses. This way I can print them, but also, screen and text readers can better access them. Unfortunately, Lumi doesn’t appear to have a transcript option (that I could find - please let me know if you find one) so getting the original video’s transcript and sending home the interactive questions for them to answer via pencil and paper would be an accessibility option.

Equity in Blended Learning

Image of a woman doing sign language via video chat. Photo from Vecteezy

This topic is slightly more controversial and difficult to address in a face-to-face setting. How do we address the issue of students not being able to use technology in a blended-learning classroom? Luckily I have friends who have encountered just this. The simplest (in theory) solution is to use an LMS that offers the option to print your modules/pages/lessons and activities so that they can be assigned physically instead of digitally. Additionally, I include a needs assessment and request form (which can be completed digitally or physically) for all courses and students (and families) can complete it to notify me of any other adaptations that may be required or requested.

Your Ideas

I’m curious to hear what others are doing for accessibility and equity in their blended learning modules and I welcome all suggestions!

Il-LUMI-nation on NS10

What. The. Heck. Is. LUMI?

How on EARTH do I use this?

Am I stupid?

All thoughts I had during my endeavour to use Lumi for my course module. Then I felt like a moron when I watched the tutorial video and saw how easy it was to use. cue face-palm

When I completed turning my video into an interactive one, I sat there and was sad that my learning of Lumi was over. So I made another one. Same result. Sadness. So I made my own video and then uploaded THAT ONE to Lumi and made it interactive. Same result. So I decided to play around with the interactive tools that other sites had but none were as great, though I did link the interactive video I made with Screencastify. I ended up back on Lumi and decided to explore what other things I could create. But let’s look at what I created for the assigned task in my course module.

Interacting in Native Studies 10

The blended Learning module I created on Canvas is focused on Native Studies 10 (NS10) and inspired by the unit the curriculum website offers. The unit has not been updated since 2001 and still uses foundational (FO) and learning objectives (LO), as well as Common Essential Learnings (CELs). I chose the Initial FO & LO in unit 3 and created a course module based on those.

I struggled with the decision to add technology to a traditional topic of learning but hoped I could balance the approach by making this module engaging through technology, focused on updated factual information, and other lessons/units that focus more on land-based education taking place in the warmer months to better utilize our land-based resources in my school (natural discovery/play area down the block, school atrium and native plant garden, school atrium teepee, Indigenous belonging room, etc).

LUMI and NS10

Once I got the hang of using Lumi I loved the creative options and made quite a few interactive videos for my module but the one I immediately knew I wanted to make falls in Lesson 5 of my course module prototype. Here is a breakdown of my lessons to help you understand how lesson 5 comes into play:

Lesson 1: What Makes a Leader

This lesson introduces the topic of leadership in American Indigenous cultures, what qualities and skills students believe leaders should have, and a discussion and journal reflection on their thoughts on this subject to later reflect back on.

*Integrations: an introductory video, Padlet, Google Docs, Canvas Discussion forum, and Screencastify videos.

lesson 1 a.png
lesson 2 b.png
lesson 1 c.png
lesson 1 discussion.png

Lesson 2: Indigenous Leadership

This lesson dives deeper into how Indigenous leaders were historically selected and the different types of leaders Indigenous cultures have.

*Integrations: Padlet, Google Docs, Canvas Discussion forum, website links, and Screencastify videos.

lesson 2 discussion.png
lesson 2.png

Lesson 3: Laws of the Land

Lesson 3 focuses on how different Indigenous tribes have similarities and differences in their views of leadership and how those beliefs affect how the community operates.

*Integrations: multiple Google Docs.

Lesson 4: Indigenous Leadership Research Report

This lesson is an assignment for students to complete a short research project on an Indigenous leader of their choosing and apply the information they have learned in the first few lessons. See gallery photos for a better idea.

Integrations: Google Docs, Screencastify video, Rubric links, Links to citation examples, links to Indigenous research examples, screencastify of citation and referencing examples.

ns report 1.png
ns report 2.png
ns report 3.png
ns report 4.png
ns report 5.png

Lesson 5: Separate Worlds

Here we are at lesson 5, finally. This lesson is the first of a series investigating the ways of life of Indigenous peoples prior to colonialism and shortly after. It is called Stage One - Separate Worlds. I have attempted to make each step different so as to keep engagement high. This lesson begins with a 1 page Google Doc reading about pre-colonial Indigenous life which contains some information that students may need to know for the upcoming video. This reading is directly followed by the Lumi interactive video (which can be seen below as well).

Hello, World!