Blog // Connect Alaska

Alaska Heritage Meets e-Commerce

By CAK Staff

Contributor: Katie Paglini

Connect Alaska has an exciting new partnership with the Association of Alaska School Boards (AASB) which is already producing some wonderful results! The goal of the project is to do research in rural Alaska surrounding broadband, and to improve digital literacy for residents lacking basic computer skills.

At the end of March, Dr. Bob Whicker and Steve Nelson representing AASB’s Consortium for Digital Learning, and Frank Odasz, President of Lone Eagle Consulting, were in Chevak and Metlakatla, Alaska for the "Digitizing Alaska; Broadband Strategies" project. This effort is championed by the AASB’s Consortium for Digital Learning, AASB/CDL, and partially funded through a State Broadband Initiative grant awarded to Connect Alaska and the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. As part of the project, a group seminar called a “web-raising” was held in the Kashunamiut School. Much of what was accomplished can be viewed right now online! Below, Frank Odasz describes some of the success stories in more detail.

Everyone who attended created a free e-commerce website at weebly.com. Elder Maggie Atcherian was one of the participants. She created a crafts slideshow viewable at art-ecommerce.weebly.com and at chevak.weebly.com

Her grandson, Matt, is featured as the expert photographer! We used the free iPhone app, You Spin to create 3D rotating images seen here. Participants also used the $2.99 app ExplainEverything to allow seniors to narrate their historical photos. See a short sample slideshow here

The process has been so easy that we’re planning to match elementary youth with seniors in mid-April at community events, as an intergenerational innovation to preserve elders' stories and wisdom for all future generations. And we're creating community websites as the hub to show off new websites and innovations. We're also teaching everyone new e-publishing tools for social entrepreneurship opportunities, cultural celebration, and economic sustainability.

Frank Odasz is more than excited about the work being done in rural Alaska. According to him, these events could be replicated in any community that has people creating arts and crafts, allowing residents to have a web presence in the global internet economy.

You can learn more about the Association of Alaska School Boards’ Consortium for Digital Learning at cdl.aasb.org. And be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest technology news from across Alaska.

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