Report explores challenges Indigenous learners face with online education: Editorial

In a recently released report on virtual learning in Canada, Nipissing First Nation educator and acting vice-principal at Nbisiing Secondary School Jenn O’Driscoll penned a section about online learning’s impact on Indigenous youth. O’Driscoll shared her perspective on how Indigenous youth experienced and responded to virtual learning and related challenges. O’Driscoll said that, in Ontario, only 17% of on-reserve households have high-speed internet, and absenteeism rates grew during the first shift to online learning. There were also barriers to delivering some parts of the curriculum, such as traditional knowledge. Students who had traditionally succeeded with their studies faced fewer challenges with the switch to online learning, but those who already had been struggling did worse because they were less likely to ask for help. “Tech is going to be a part of Indigenous education and kids need to learn how to navigate technology and use technology, but I would say strictly virtual learning is not the ideal for Indigenous education,” said O’Driscoll.