Canku Ota

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


June 16, 2001 - Issue 38



Eel Ground Students Take Award for Web Site Design


 by Derwin Gowan The Telegraph Journal

EEL GROUND, NB - A lot of New Brunswickers could not find Eel Ground First Nation without asking directions.

But, 16 students put this Mi'kmaq community on the Northwest Miramichi River on the map in cyberspace when they placed third in the world in a Web site design contest.

The grades 5 and 6 students at Eel Ground Arrowhead School won the silver award in the International Schools Cyberfair 2001 competition sponsored by, The Global School House of San Diego, Ca. A high school in Taiwan won the platinum first prize, and a school in Australia the gold
second prize.

A total of 500,000 students from 70 countries entered the competition. There were 24 entries in the "leaders" category in which the Eel Ground youngsters competed.

Principal Peter MacDonald and teacher Craig Duplessie could not be prouder.

With some help from parents and teachers, the students chose 13 community leaders, then divided into groups of two to interview them. Community leaders chosen for the project include Cindy Ginnish, George Ginnish, Wilfred Ward, Jay Augustine, Byron Bushey, Duane Augustine, Joyce Paul, Roger Augustine, Steve Ginnish, Jim Ward, Eugene Patles, Mary Ginnish and Leona Francis.

The students wrote up their interviews in question-and-answer format to create a dsiplay on "Our Leaders," then added sections on "Our Community," "Micmac History," a main page and links to related Internet sites. They packaged it as "Eel Ground - a Positive Community," and sent it off through
cyberspace to the contest.

The students learned more than they realized.

"The kids picked up a lot of skills just on technology, let alone interviews. . . it was quite an experience for the kids," says Mr. MacDonald.

The evaluation process included peer review, so the Eel Ground students had to assess six other entries. This helped narrow the entries down to eight finalists per category.

The Eel Ground students fared well among the peer reviewers. For example, reviewer Mark Lasserre of Marrero, La., noted, "This Web project was one of our favourites. The focus on first-hand information through interviews was impressive. The Web site was easy on the eyes and simple to navigate. We look forward to more work from you."

Suggestions from other peer reviewers included using a sub-menu in the "Our Community" section to avoid having to scroll through a long page with lots of information.

Another reviewer suggested using colours and background more efficiently, also using video and sound and correcting a few spelling errors.

Yet another urged the Eel Ground students "to involve your community more in your project."

Mr. Duplessie said, however, one of the problems the students ran into was getting the community leaders to find time to book interviews.

So, they learned organizational skills and how to go out and interview people along with the knowledge they gained on building Web pages.

Mr. MacDonald said the Eel Ground Arrowhead School has about 45 computers for 83 students from kindergarten to grade 8, including 20 new IMacs set up in the foyer.

The teachers can keep an eye from their classrooms on the students working on these computers, and Mr. MacDonald's door also looks directly into the foyer.

This school aims to make their students computer literate by the time they start grade 9 at Miramichi Valley High School.

Mr. MacDonald said the Eel Ground School Board and the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, between them, spent $64,000 on computers for this school. Kids in grades 7 and 8 design personal Web pages.

The computers are one of several priorities at this school. The kindergarten classes are Mi'kmaq total immersion, for example, and the school program includes education on drugs and alcohol.

But, they start learning keyboarding skills in English in grade 1.

Students get to use the computers before school, during breaks and after school, so the machines rarely sit idle.

Mr. MacDonald sees it as part of a larger scheme.

"As long as you tell them it's a computer, they'll do research, they'll do work."

Here are two maps to help you locate Eel Ground, New Brunswick, Canada.
(hint - right in the middle of each map!)

 Maps by Travel


Eel Ground's Leaders




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