From October 19 to October 26, 2019, Pinnguaq’s Delivery Team was in Rankin Inlet, NU for a Digital Skills Camp week! Rankin Inlet, also known as Kaniqliniq (ᑲᖏᕿᓂᖅ) or Kangirliniq (ᑲᖏᖅᖠᓂᖅ) or Kangiriniq, is an Inuit Hamlet on the Ludluik Peninsula. Located on the northwestern Hudson Bay, it’s the transportation, health services, and business centre of the Kivalliq Region of Nunavut.
Mary and Jonathan had the distinct pleasure of working with 23 students from Rankin Inlet, helping them develop and build digital skills through various software programs. This included Scratch, GraphicsGale and Audacity. The students learned about navigating the digital grid through the X-Y Game and used code in Scratch to program and create digital stories.
Scratch is a block-based visual programming language and online community that was built primarily to assist children in learning code. The students were particularly interested in Scratch and explored how examples of stories and games were coded. This really helped give the students insight into the program and also gave them ideas for their own projects. The students shared their own techniques with each other which further improved the overall understanding of how Scratch can function. They set themselves a goal of animating their digital stories and coding them into Scratch before the Pinnguaq team was set to leave.
By the end of the week, both the teachers and parents were really pleased with the student’s response to the software and their enthusiasm for using it. They discussed creating a Scratch after-school club using the school computers. One teacher took a copy of Scratch so he could use it to develop further curriculum and work with students who attended the camp to train them to help tutor other students. The desire to maintain this enthusiasm was strong and the teachers requested further resources and support from us for digital skills training.
The Positive Feedback
An inspiring story from the camp week was the attendance of a student who had taken part in a camp that Pinnguaq had hosted last year in Rankin. Christine was very interested in the digital art side of Scratch and proved herself a natural. She created lovely animations in GraphicsGale and Scratch which showed how much her skills had improved over the past year, through the two camps. Christine will be a perfect volunteer and mentor for students in the future.
One mother described her son by saying “It was the most excited he’s been to wake up in the morning for years. He really enjoyed the program and couldn’t stop talking about it when he got home”. Another parent relayed that they haven’t seen their daughter as interested or excited about school in a very long time. Another student, who didn’t want the week to end was very sad that the camp was over, however, was thrilled when he heard that when he moved to Iqaluit the following week he would be able to join the Pinnguaq’s Iqaluit Makerspace there.
Each day the students came early and left late, asking to stay over the lunch period to continue working with the computers and games. They were really excited that after camp they would be able to bring their computers home with all of the software programs loaded onto them thanks to the Computer For Success Nunavut initiative.
At the end of the week there was a community feast which the team was excited to take part in. Many of the kids from the camp were performing in the feast choir. The kids were over the moon and the elders, Joe and Levi, were pleased to see Mary and Jonathan in attendance, welcoming them and sharing their dinner. The meal included bannock break, caribou stew, beluga broth, and cake.
Overall there was a general appreciation around the idea that students could both learn and create through computers. They don’t only need to rely on consuming digital media but they can create and produce with it, as well. We thank the staff and students for another warm welcome into their community. We are looking forward to visiting Rankin Inlet again soon and in the meantime, we will continue to support the delivery of digital skills training.