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ERIC Number: EJ839444
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov-27
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1557-5411
Adapting to the Era of Information
Stuart, Reginald
Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, v25 n21 p13-15 Nov 2008
Despite having wireless connectivity to the Internet on campus, the students at Northwest Indian College could not afford a laptop computer of their own to access the Internet. Using the school's three computer labs was also problematic, as many students were working parents who traveled long distances and had little time to stay on campus after classes to use school computers to go online. Rather than write the students off or risk seeing them lose interest in a college education for lack of the modern tools, the college came up with a simple solution: use funds from a small federal grant to purchase 15 laptop computers and have a laptop loan program for students, one that runs much like borrowing a book from a library. As illustrated by Northwest's experience, bringing the Internet to tribal college students is no easy task, tribal college officials have learned. In an era where some colleges across the nation have poured millions of dollars into cutting edge computer and Internet technology as a drawing card for teachers, staff and students, tribal colleges are challenged by financial, technological, geographical and cultural hurdles in their quests to become technologically relevant and appealing to increasingly tech-smart students. "Overall, there is still a wide divide," says Dr. Loriene Roy, a professor of library science and information at the University of Texas at Austin and immediate past president of the American Library Association. "It exists in several ways--basic utilities, rural settings, outdated equipment, accessibility, affordability," says Roy, an Anishinaabe Ojibew member of the Chippewa Tribe, White Earth Reservation in Minnesota. Roy, who has visited several tribal colleges over the years and communicates with librarians all over the country, says affordability is inhibiting the ability of most tribal colleges to flex and grow. Even with computers in hand and unlimited Internet access, there are other limits on what college students can learn, even about other tribes. Some tribes place limits on or totally bar archiving their tribal images, language, heritage, ceremonies and other customs. While the Internet encourages the proliferation of information, some Native cultural traditions are deemed too sacred to put on the Web. For that reason, Sarah Kostelecky, Zuni Pueblo library director at the Institute of American Indian Arts, cautions that teachers and students "can't drop the books yet. A lot of collections that deal with Native history are only in books. There's a disconnect with some of our students. They (students) don't realize that's the case. They're Google kids, and it's not all online."
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Minnesota