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UAF to integrate technology in Native language education

Posted: December 27, 2012 - 1:02am  |  Updated: December 30, 2012 - 1:01am

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded $1.9 million to the University of Alaska Fairbanks linguistics program. The award funds a three-year project to improve K-12 educational outcomes for Alaska Native students via computer-assisted language learning programs and graduate education for teachers.

UAF associate professor Sabine Siekmann will lead the project, which will allow faculty members, students and community members to work collaboratively to integrate technology in Alaska Native language education.

The new project — dubbed CALL for short – builds on previous efforts that worked to improve second-language teaching and acquisition, and increase the number of Alaska Natives earning doctoral and master’s degrees.The goal is to support Alaska Native language programs in rural Alaska communities by graduating more Alaska Natives with doctoral and master’s degrees.

Students funded through the grant will work in collaborative groups that will include a faculty member, an Alaska Native doctoral student, and about five master’s students. Each of the groups will have a specific focus: improving the teaching of Yup’ik or other Native languages, and improving the teaching of students for whom English is a second language.

Master’s degree students will ideally be certified teachers working in Alaska Native language contexts, such as immersion schools, dual language programs and bilingual programs. They will prepare CALL materials for their classroom as part of their master’s projects. Each participating classroom will receive a SmartBoard and a set of iPads to be used by the students.

The program is currently accepting applicants for doctoral fellowships and master’s degree scholarships. Interested individuals can contact Sabine Siekmann at ssiekmann@alaska.edu for application requirements and materials. Project partners include the Association of Village Council Presidents and the Lower Kuskokwim School District.

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