Learning | mekwa kiskinohamâkosiwin

Tansi classmates,

This is my last post to summarize my Learning Project for ECI831.

As you know, I have been working on Learning Cree this semester. I wanted to learn more about the language that is unique to the land that we live on, and also develop an understanding of the resources available to learn Cree. In addition, I recognize the importance of preserving language, particularly, a language that is unique to Saskatchewan. Overall, one of my biggest takeaways from this learning experience was learning about learning online. I was able to connect with people on Twitter, use YouTube for learning, find appropriate online resources and Apps to augment my learning process. A detailed explanation can be found below.

To begin with, I downloaded some Apps to my phone. Apps helped me in my learning project because they were easily accessible from anywhere and I could practice vocabulary. If I had a few minutes I would just pop open the App and do some practice and/or reading.

Another helpful tool as I began this journey was TwitterDr. Couros connected me with Bill Cook and while Bill’s Twitter I also connected with other people who are learning Cree and/ or who speak Cree such as @SICC_sk_ca ‏, @MrEhRon ‏ @jlwarrenc ‏, ‏@lingualift@FHQTC,@PaulSeesequasis ‏ to name a few.

I learned about the regional Cree dialects and about the Cree syllabics. I did online research at www.creeculture.ca and found the Online Cree Dictionary to familiarize myself with sounds and syllabics. I also put my Screencast skills to the test in this post and shared what I had learned from the Cree Dictionary. In addition, I explored Bill Cook’sQuizlet. This was the first time that I had used Quizlet so I am happy to have had the chance to explore this tool. I think it is a great tool to use with language acquisition in particular. I used the Quizlet to learn Cree introductions.

I also relied on Youtube for my Cree learning. I used it a few times. To begin with, I used it to learn the subject pronouns. I also used the other videos posted on the Cree Phrases YouTube channel. In addition, I used YouTube to watch lessons on Cree teachings. I really enjoyed the chance to explore not only the language but the culture component.

Another cultural learning opportunity that I explored was the concept of Kinship or Wâhkôhtowin. One of the pages that I used for learning Kinship terms was a very out of date webpage but it still had a lot of great information on it. I hit the gold mine when I came across this blog by Chelsea Vowel. Her post talked about kinship terms and the grammatical structure of the language but also applied it to her own personal stories from growing up as a Cree woman. It really helped me to understand the terminology more but, most importantly, understand the cultural implications about Kinship. I also used this YouTube video to supplement my learning of family words.

As I moved into the more complex grammar I used the Online Cree Classroom which is also a tool provided to me by Bill Cook. I describe how I used the Online Cree Classroom in this post and in this post. I also describe more about Apps that I was using and wrote a bit of a review of which Apps were the most helpful and why I found them to be helpful.

As I worked on certain vocabulary, such as numbers, I used old fashioned pen and paper. As I mentioned in my post, sometimes I need to write numbers out repeatedly in order to practice and understand the structure of the numbers. More information about numbers here. 

After studying grammar with the Online Cree Classroom and using Bill Cook’s Quizlet, I finally felt confident enough to form some sentences and try recording my first YouTube video. I so glad that I took the leap and did it. I really like hearing myself speak Cree and now that it is out there on YouTube I hope it motivates others to do the same! In this post I really delve into the grammar of the Cree language (yes, I am a grammar nerd!) as well as some more vocabulary. Although it took me a significant amount of time to learn the grammar structures to be able to write a sentence I am so glad that I did. It was very satisfying to know that I took my learning to the point that I was able to form sentences.

As I was researching Cree learning resources the one that was a “hot topic” was the book 100 Days of Cree. As I explored the book further, I totally understood why. In this post, I write a more detailed explanation of why I really liked the book. I was able to download the online version from the U of R library page, but only for short-term use. The book, however, is very affordable and would be a great resource for any classroom. I also connected with teachers who are using it in their classroom now and it seems that their experiences have been very positive!

To conclude, I am satisfied with my learning journey. I discovered new online tools such as Quizlet and I used some familiar tools such as YouTube to support my learning. I connected with others on Twitter, and through these connections, I discovered great resources such as the Online Cree Classroom. I also discovered blogs and cultural resources that were extremely valuable to my learning. Thanks for following along, friends!

Posted in Learning Project, Weekly Reflections | 2 Comments

Summary of Learning #eci831

Tansi classmates,

Check out my Summary of Learning. It has been a pleasure walking this journey alongside brilliant educators like yourselves. Thank you!

Posted in Reflections, Weekly Reflections | 8 Comments

Google Classroom

Tansi classmates,

I decided to delve into the Google Classroom this week. As mentioned in my first post, I had thought about implementing a Google Classroom earlier in the semester. Since I did not do that for a Major Digital Project, I thought that it would be good to do some more research into it in case it is something I decide to pursue in the future.

I am interested in learning more about Learning Management Systems in general. From what I gather, Google Classroom is best suited for academic purposes and not so much for corporate training. Has anyone used a corporate training LMS? If so, which one? What were your experiences?

As I poked around in the Google Classroom I noticed a few features that I really liked. The first was that you can plan ahead. When you click on the + button to create a new assignment you have the option to create assignments to use right away, or you can create future assignments that you will use in the future. I can see this being extremely useful if you have some time before a class to have all the assignments ready so that you can just activate them on the day that you need them. Do any of you use this feature?

I also liked that you can customize pretty much all of the settings in order to manage what your students can see, post, comment, and edit. I can see how this would help with classroom management in the online environment. Since I am used to working with adults, it is also nice to have a little more liberty for them to manage the environment.

I used the + button to create announcements, assignments, and questions. I found the interface extremely easy to use and I had no problems interacting with it.


Without having a class, it would be difficult for me to comment on all of the limitations of the Google Classroom environment. For those of you who use Google Classroom, could you share what you consider to be some of the limitations? Chris, I remember you said in class that it appears as though your students have missed an assignment if they choose to hand in a paper copy and you don’t have the option to change that. Are there any other challenges that you have with it? Anyone else?

I did do some more research about the advantages and disadvantages of the Google Classroom. I read this review which seems to touch on many of the advantages that I mentioned. These include: easy to use, effective for sharing, speeds up assignment process, easy feedback, paperless, and interface friendly.

Some of the disadvantages included the following: it does not allow for multiple domains and that may make it difficult to switch between different Google accounts, limited integration options (ex. Google Calendar), there are many commands that one would only be familiar with if one is accustomed to using Google products, the inability for learners to share work with their peers, and no automated quizzes or tests. Finally, another limitation is that the classroom has not integrated other tools such as Google Hangouts which limits the interaction. A chat component would make the Google Classroom a lot better.

I found this review to be helpful. I do agree that having the ability for learners to share their work with their peers would be great, particularly for adult learners. Furthermore, I agree that integrating other Google tools, such as hangouts, would be great additions. I do like that you can use the Google Drive to upload all of assignments and documents. This would be so convenient and allow the teacher to have access from anywhere that they are.

Finally, I watched this video that reviewed all of the features of the Google Classroom. It was very informative! I would love to hear from those of you who use it. In particular from anyone who has used it outside the K-12 environment!

Posted in Reflections, Weekly Reflections | 2 Comments

100 days of Cree

Tansi classmates,

As discussed in my last post, I have taken a look at the resource 100 Days of Cree. The book is written by Neal McLeod who is from the James Smith Cree Nation in Saskatchewan.

In the introduction, the author describes how the inspiration for the book began when he opened a Facebook account and started to share Cree words. The author describes the experience of sharing on Facebook. He says “I found Facebook to be a very powerful way to connect with other Cree-speaking people and people interested in speaking the Cree language.” I found this to be an important statement as we have discussed the power of connecting on social media and how much social media can inspire and motivate learning. From there, the author decided to learn ten words a day on a concentrated theme and then continue for one hundred days.

The book is structured by theme and there are ten words per theme. The author said that the idea behind this is that if you learn a few words on different subjects that by the end you will have acquired a good base of vocabulary. The author’s motivation for the book was to make an attempt to make a contribution to the vitality of the Cree language and to help people who are interested in the Cree language to have words to describe the world around them.

These are the themes that can be found in the book:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As you can see, there are traditional themes such as Treaty, Kinship, Dances, and Medicine but there are also non-traditional themes such as Johnny Cash Songs, Tim Hortons, and Facebook /Internet slang. The author describes his decision to include contemporary words in the book. He says: “With respect to the revitalization of the Cree language above, there was much discussion throughout this project about the use of Cree to describe the world in which we live today. Terms were developed for things such as the internet and computers, demonstrating the great flexibility and adaptability of the language.” Furthermore, it was with the desire to help Cree remain relevant to Cree speakers in the new generation.


In my opinion, the combination of traditional words with contemporary words is one of the most powerful components of the book. It is a fantastic resource that could easily be used in a classroom. In fact, I have connected on Twitter with some local teachers who are using this book in their classroom (Thanks to those of you who pointed me in this direction!) In fact, the CBC news wrote an article about it.

Apart from the learning, I have also been thinking about the role that social media and sharing played in the formation of this book. The idea for the book came out of sharing on Facebook, collaborating with others who spoke Cree or those who were interested in learning Cree and evolved into a fantastic and relevant resource that is inclusive and interesting for the younger generation. I am sure that it will contribute a lot to the preservation of language as it meets the meaningful vocabulary for the younger generation.

Finally, I will give you a glimpse of some of the words from both a traditional category (dances) and from a contemporary category (facebook and internet). I hope you enjoy both the learning but also the background about the book and that you consider if it is something that you may be able to use in your classroom.


I have linked the book on Amazon above, however, there is also a downloadable version if you have access to the Universtiy of Regina Library. I hope you have a chance to take a look and start your own Cree learning journey!

Posted in Learning Project | 5 Comments

Connect don’t Protect

Tansi classmates,

The above line “connect don’t protect” stood out for me as I perused the content for this week. As I listened to the video by Steven Johnson, I spent a lot of time thinking about connecting ideas to create a new an innovative process, tool, space or resource.

When discussing the concept of protecting ideas, Johnson says: “we should spend at least as much time, or even more, valuing the premise of connecting ideas and not just protecting them.”


From this, my thoughts went to the importance of creating a workspace that fosters creativity, innovation and learning. In my EAHR 811 class (Foundations of Training and Development) we are talking about different organizational development practices including organizational learning and the change process. One key idea that has stuck with me is that the organization’s culture is driven by the organizational values. To me, this means that if an organization does not value learning and innovation then the culture will not be a workplace culture of learning and innovation. If a culture is not one of learning and innovation, I could see it being a culture of protecting ideas and not sharing resources.

My classmate, Ashley, made a great point in her blog this week about how staff meetings typically do not offer the opportunity to share resources or ideas. Not to say that her organization does not value sharing but sometimes (even unintentionally) the focus on learning and innovation gets lost in the logistical factors of everyday work. To me, this is the risk of focusing too much on performance and productivity and not enough on learning. If organizations focus more on learning then performance and innovation come as a result of that learning.


I believe that in order for organizations to remain relevant and competitive they must engage in sharing, innovation and resource sharing. I agree with the points that Steven Johnson made in his video and I argue that organizations must create a space that fosters creativity, sharing and growth that will help move their organizations to growth and allow their employees to reach their maximum potential.

As many of you work in K-12, do you feel that you have time to connect and collaborate with your coworkers? Do you feel that there is an environment that fosters collaboration?

For those of you who do not work in K-12, do you feel that your organizational values focus on learning and development? If so, does that lead to innovative practices? Also, if the values do not focus on learning and development, what is the workplace culture like? Is there still room for innovation?

Posted in Reflections, Weekly Reflections | 2 Comments

Want to see me speak Cree?

Tansi Classmates,

I have been building up the confidence of offer you a video of me speaking Cree. Here you have it folks!


Image via: GIPHY

Please view this video with very little judgement and lots of grace:

(In the video I say “Hello, My name is Colleen. I am from Regina. I am a student.”)

I am thankful for all of the resources that Bill Cook has put online and that he was willing to share his resources. The quizlet (that I mentioned here) and the Online Cree classroom have been my go to resources. I have also accessed the 100 Days of Cree in an online book which has offered learning Cree words in themes ( there will be more to come on the 100 days of Cree book).

Following up on my work last week,  I have been working on my numbers. Here are the numbers from 21-50. After 20, the numbers go from their base (20,30,40,50) with the numbers 11-18 following the base number. For example, number 20 is nistanaw and number 21 is nistanaw-peyakosāp which means 20-11. It was a bit confusing for me at first because 20-11 in my mind is 31 but it is just 20-11 not 20+11. Once you reach 29 it is kêkâc-nistomitanow or almost 30 (kêkâk means almost). Again, I find that writing them out helps me comprehend and remember them a lot better. Check it out: 20-50.JPG

Now for the preverbs. In Cree, preverbs can be used to change meanings of verbs. Most cannot be used alone but are inserted between the Person Indicator and the rest of the verb. Two or more can be used at one time (source).

A sentence is structured as follows:

Independent mode

The person will represent what we would use as the subject pronoun in English (at least this is how I understand it). I studied the subject words and blogged about them when I leaned about the basics and when I learned about family words and kinship. This table of the independent mode formula includes the person and the endings: IM Formula(source)

Following the “person” is the tense of the verb (for now I only know present tense) and then comes the preverb. A list of possible proverbs can be seen below.

Preverb list


After the preverb comes the root of the verb and then the ending. I know this sounds so complicated but do not fear! I will share some examples.

If I use the verb “to write” (which is masinahikê in Cree) and I want to say “I am trying to write” my sentence would be as follows:

ni- kakwê-masinahikan (I-to try to-write)

Now, we take a minute to celebrate because I have learned to write a sentence in Cree!


Image via: GIPHY

Before we get too excited, there is an additional rule that is important to remember when writing. It is called the t-connector rule. The t-connector rule states that you cannot have vowels side by side. In order to separate the vowels you have to use a “t”. However, this only applies when you are using first person, second person, first person plural (we), and second personal plural (they). The t-connector rule does not apply to third person third person plural. With this rule in mind, let me walk you through another example.

If I use the verb api (to sit) and I want to say “I sit” then I will have to use a t connector because the “ni” in the pronoun “I” will create a double vowel between the “i” in ni and the “a” in api. Therefore the sentence would be as follows: nitapin. “ni” is the subject pronoun, the “t” is from the t-connector rule, “api” is the verb and “n” is the ending.

One final rule is the ê/î to â rule. This rule states that if the verb ends in ê/î you have to change it to â. This rule only applies in the 1st, 2nd, 1st person plural, and 2nd person plural. For example, if I want to look back to my first example ni- kakwê-masinahikan (I-try to-write) you will see that the verb (masinakikê) changed to masinahikan instead of “en”.

Full confession is that I secretly love grammar. I have enjoyed leaning about grammar structures and I feel so accomplished now that I can write sentences! Stay tuned for more!


Posted in Learning Project | 5 Comments

The Big “But”

Hi classmates,

As I reviewed the open educational resources this week (many of which are fantastic) I couldn’t help but think about the big “but.”


What is that big but? For me the big “but” or the big disclaimer is that we have access to open resources but will employers and/or universities recognize time spent studying these courses? If the answer to that question is no, then do open educational resources really offer a more competitive advantage to those who may not be advantaged enough to pay for a university education?

In adult education, researchers talk a lot about offering credit for lived experiences. Adults have a vast knowledge base for their work experiences and lived experiences that younger adults may not have. To me, the credit for lived experiences and credit for OE courses is a similar discussion. The student has acquired knowledge (albeit in a non-traditional way) but they still deserve to have that knowledge recognized. Going forward there are many implications for higher education (HE) to adapt to OE trends and policymakers will need to embrace these changes and create appropriate guidelines around credit for OE courses. If not, then I believe that the HE institutions will have a difficult time remaining competitive.

Moving to the review of an OE platform, I looked at OpenLearn with OpenUniversityOpenLearn

I had no trouble navigating this webpage. I was able to discover the large library of topics. I like that they had “Skills for Work” and “Skills for study. These are some of the skills for work topics that were available:

work skills .png

I was drawn to the work resources because they could be fantastic for PD opportunities (to save money) and they would also be great for those who are searching for jobs and trying to grow their professional skills.

In terms of learning based on your interests, there is a vast library of topics to explore. Furthermore, there are various mediums to explore the content in. For example, you can watch videos, listen to audio, tv. etc. See the full list to the right: types of resources

I took a look at the French content when I was exploring the personal interest learning section and I was quite impressed. I can definately see myself using these resources in the future. I really like that each subject has clearly defined learning objectives, reviews and an overview of the course content.


Overall, I consider this to be a fantastic resource. Having OE available is advantageous to HE as educators can tap into free online resources to augment learning opportunities, save money on resources and offer supplementary material. Furthermore, as mentioned in my previous post about intergenerational learning, I think this content would be excellent and easy to use for people of any generation. In addition, it could provide valuable and free PD opportunities for any organization looking to provide learning opportunities that don’t come with a huge price tag attached to them.

Has anyone ever received credit for an OE program?
Has anyone ever taken an OE course for PD?
Does anyone use an OE platform for personal interest exploration or personal learning?





Posted in Reflections, Weekly Reflections | 1 Comment