Smart Cities Challenge Application

Question 6: Please describe your preliminary proposal and its activities or projects. This section should include:

  • Planned activities or projects to achieve the outcome (or outcomes) set out in the Challenge Statement.
  • Clear links from the identified projects to the attainment of the outcome (or outcomes).
  • Scope and size of each planned project in your preliminary proposal, describing how it is feasible and suitable for achieving the outcome (or outcomes) in a manner that is impactful for the community, ambitious, and transformative.
  • Measures put in place to 1) make the proposal open, interoperable, scalable, and replicable or a description of your plan to do so going forward for the benefit of your own community and other communities in Canada; and 2) enable other uses of the technology, innovation, and data in your proposal.

We aim to achieve our proposal’s outcomes by:

  1. “active participation”

    We mean active in contrast to passive, where active participation includes engaged eLearning approaches – approaches which take into account the recent discoveries on how humans beings more effectively learn knowledge in online environments; calls to real-world action on the eLearning, eAcquisition, online forums, and online community discussions; real-world, hands-on activities undertaken and completed in a group setting, our youth wrapped in the embrace of the community network; strong encouragement to attend community events, with those community events effectively and articulately made known to all community members via our online forums and discussions.

    This activity/project achieves:

    • youth who are “more holistically Nishnaabe.” Community-engagement is a foundational components of our Nishnaabe way of living. Actively participating, not just in social activities – which are, indeed, foundationally important to community vibrancy and individual flourishing – but also being actively engaged in our own learning – both formal and informal – is a key to success in whatever role a Nishnaabe individual plays in the community. Actively participating in the whole of the Nishnaabe community is an imperatively important requisite for one’s wellness as a Nishnaabe person.

    • youth who are “better-grounded” in their Nishnaabe identity. Our Nishnaabe people cannot be only knowledgeable of our social norms and ways of being. This knowledge must be implemented in one’s life in order for one to be a whole Nishnaabe person. Similarly, much knowledge can be obtained through the very act of active participation in one’s community. Knowledge and active participation are thus connected. Active participation leads to knowledge. Knowledge, in turn, leads to active participation. In order for a Nishnaabe person, then, to be more knowledgeable – better-grounded – in being Nishnaabe, active participation in the Nishnaabe community is required.

  2. “cross-generational participation”

    Cross-generational participation means not just youth/students, but community members from the entire span of ages, from all generations.

    This activity/project achieves:

    • youth who are “more holistically Nishnaabe.” Similar to the reasons given in the above section on the active participation requisite for one’s being holistically Nishnaabe, all sectors of our Nishnaabe community must have a space and a place to participate. Each age group brings a diverse set of experiences, gifts, and knowledge to our collective Nishnaabe community, and to the overall wholeness of each of the individuals within the community. The participation of everyone, from all generations, is required for each of us to be holistically Nishnaabe.

    • youth who are “better-grounded” in their Nishnaabe identity. We Nishnaabe people believe that everyone – no matter one’s age – is a teacher and a contributor to the collective’s knowledgebase. Encouraging and ensuring the participation of all generations provides a maximally diverse dataset of experience as knowledge, made available to and learnable by each and every Nishnaabe community member who participates in community events. This cross-generational participation leads thusly to better-grounded Nishnaabe community members.

  3. “technology-empowered participation”

    Technology-empowered participation refers to engagement with our eLearning and eAcquisition platforms; online meetup discussion forums for traditional Nishnaabe activities; online platform discoverability of friends’/relatives’ locations and currently-happening traditional activities in order to encourage students to, in like manner, take part in those made-discoverable activities.

    This activity/project achieves:

    • youth who are “better-educated.” Knowing not just about technology, but being – and being comfortable – in a technology-oriented mindset, versed in the social expectations and norms of the this modern way of interacting with our technological world is prerequisite knowledge and an imperatively important education to have. Just being able to navigate this brave new world of technology is a plus on one’s curriculum vitae, and our proposal’s implementation will yield for our Nishnaabe youth exactly that: a better education through the experience of successfully participating in this new technology as a means to better one’s self educationally.

    • youth who are “more employable.” The technology-empowered participatory tools – the rules of online community engagement – that will benefit our Nishnaabe youth are, in many cases, the precise job skills required to even be considered for a job interview. Online forum etiquette, respecting boundaries of online relationships, being responsive to and responsible for timely replies to online community engagement requests and relationships, and a host of other modern technological communication social norms – the very skills and education that our proposal will instill in our Nishnaabe youth – are what will help prepare our Nishnaabe youth to be effectively and productively employed in today’s – and the future’s – job market.

  4. “real-world participation”

    Smart technology is an enabling factor, a factor which enables real-world participation – not just online participation, but participation in the real, material world. The world of touchable human beings, hugs, babies, tears, family, and love. Our proposal intends to implement this technology to facilitate and encourage participation in real-world community events.

    This activity/project achieves:

    • youth who are “more holistically Nishnaabe.” Being Nishnaabe means being community-oriented. Participating and being an active, contributing part of the lives of those whom we are networked within our territory is a requirement of our communal approach to effective and productive existence on this earth. Participating in the real world, the material world, of our Nishnaabe community is thus a requirement of being a whole Nishnaabe.

    • youth who are “better-grounded” in their Nishnaabe identity. Being better grounded means being better educated. And being being better educated happens, in part, by being around the educated and knowledgeable ones. For Nishnaabe people, all activities are a teaching opportunity – and thus a learning opportunity. Being out and about in the community leads naturally to discussions with people more knowledgeable than us, which in turn leads to becoming more knowledgeable ourselves – more educated, and thus better grounded.

  5. “intergenerational transfer of traditional Nishnaabe knowledge through the medium of our language”

    Our proposal aims to produce 2,000 hours of Nishnaabe-language immersion video, the content of which will be our core aadsookaanan (our sacred stories, our philosophical foundations). Our aadsookaanan are, in part, the imperatively important intergenerational knowledge which has been passed on – in story form – for countless generations. The acquisition – language acquisition (subconscious) in contrast to language learning (cognitive) – of 2,000 hours of a target language yields an individual who can nearly-completely comprehend that target language. The target language in this case is our Nishnaabe language, and it is with this 2,000 hours of immersion video of our aadsookaanan that we intend to create understanders of our Nishnaabe language – understanders who can then go on to successfully complete STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subject non-immersion videos courses, the audio of which is delivered in our Nishnaabe language.

    This activity/project achieves:

    • youth who are “more holistically Nishnaabe.” Being a whole Nishnaabe requires that one be a speaker of one’s Nishnaabe language. While this proposal is not big enough to facilitate that particular outcome, becoming an understander of our Nishnaabe language is, indeed, attainable. And, since we are aiming for “more” holistically Nishnaabe, becoming an understander of our Nishnaabe language fits the bill quite nicely. Two points here: (1) being able to understand one’s indigenous/heritage language, for a member of any culture, seems obviously contributory to one’s being more holistically of that culture and identity; and (2) walking around in the world with a headful of knowledge that got into one’s head via a foreign language does not make for a very “holistically Nishnaabe” person. While knowledge and education are important in their own right, it is more holistic for that knowledge and education to have entered one’s head in the medium of one’s own indigenous/heritage language. So, our youth being able to understand our Nishnaabe language which in turn makes possible their learning of the content of a modern K-12 STEM curriculum delivered in the medium of our Nishnaabe languge is a powerful contributor to their becoming more holistically Nishnaabe.

    • youth who are “better-grounded” in their Nishnaabe identity. Knowing about one’s cultural identity is self-evidently important to one’s wholeness. But, knowing the main tenets of the core philosophies of one’s culture is absolutely key to one’s being well versed in the oral/written stories/literature of one’s culture – especially when one considers the importance of learning this information through the medium of one’s language. Learning the main ideas expressed in our Nishnaabe aadsookaanan, through the medium of our Nishnaabe language, produces Nishnaabe youth who are more knowledgeable of, thus better-grounded in, their Nishnaabe identity.

  6. “bilingual delivery of modern K-12 STEM knowledge”

    Production of 1,000 hours of bilingual, modern K-12 STEM course videos.

    This activity/project achieves:

    • youth who are “better-educated.” The need of this generation of K-12 students for a solid STEM subject area education is undeniable. One need only browse the course descriptions or syllabi of almost any college/university curriculum to find the very long list of requisite technology, math, science, programming knowledge for those majors and academic program paths. Providing our youth with thirteen years of a modern, K-12 STEM curriculum will provide them with the tools, knowledge, and mindset to succeed in the increasingly demanding curriculum of this modern technologically-driven world.

    • youth who are “more employable.” For reasons similar to the ones given in the above paragraph, our youth who have successfully completed our bilingual, modern K-12 STEM curriculum will not only be better prepared for college and university. The college and university curriculums are being designed, in part, to produce graduates are are more employable in this technologically-driven world and job market. Our youth, having completed such solid preparation as provided for them by our K-12 STEM curriculum, will thus be more employable. And, not only after college/university; but, also in the high-school graduate job market, as well.

    • youth who are “more holistically Nishnaabe.” One’s having been educated in a particular subject area is an accomplishment on its own. Having been educated in a particular subject area in the medium of one’s indigenous/heritage language is an even greater accomplishment; and, an accomplishment contributing greatly to one’s wholeness as a member of that language community.

  7. The achievement of the above outcomes are enabled by the creation of the following three interrelated online, mobile-enabled platforms, all three of which are open source, interoperable, and replicable, and all three of which will facilitate the production of materials to be made available under a Creative Commons license.

    1. eLearning platform. Our mobile-enabled eLearning platform will be built with open source technologies and languages, enabling interoperable, scalable, and replicable results by any other community or organization choosing to implement a similar platform. Our eLearning platform will facilitate the collection of real-time data on all aspects of community-based, online, collaborative learning, and the storage of that data in an open source database backend enabling other departments and organizations within our community to seamlessy access and utilize this data.

    2. eAcquisition platform. Our mobile-enabled eAcquisition platform will be nearly identical to our eLearning platform, but will have the added responsibility of enabling the effective acquisition of language. As our community makes a strong distinction between language learning (a conscious, cognitive process) and language acquisition (which occurs subconsciously), we need to keep these two platforms independent of each other so that each one’s unique pedagogical approach can be implemented effectively.

    3. meetup platform. Our mobile-enabled meetup platform will serve as the central ‘online gathering’ place which will facilitate the bridging and interfacing of the digital world with the material, real world. All community members will have access to each other via this online gathering place. This platform is where our youth who are hoping to attend a particular traditional Nishnaabe activity can express their interest to do so. Other community members then have the ability to invite our youth along to that event. Likewise, community members who are planning an activity can now express their intentions on our meetup platform thereby providing additional options for our youth to take part in while remaining in the embrace of the real-world community network.