Background Context

This project develops an iterative digital media design process and associated resources to support teaching and learning about Indigenous-settler relations. Applying a ‘learning by design’ approach, it involves students and faculty working with Indigenous knowledge keepers and partners to co-create narrative content for a digital Augmented Reality (AR) app. In this pilot project, digital content focuses on the Sweetgrass Bear sculpture housed in the Faculty of Extension (a former Hudson's Bay Company site), and utilizes the HP Reveal AR application. We sought to develop a ‘proof of concept’ package of resources and practices to support ongoing work in this area, as well as explore opportunities for scaling-up this initiative.

Student Guidebook & Instructor Handbook

The We are All Related AR Guide consists of two Open Educational Resources (OER) intended to work hand-in-hand to support teams of Indigenous and settler partners in navigating the process of co-creating an augmented reality (AR) digital media project. These resources are designed for teachers and students working in partnership with Indigenous Knowledge Keepers, Elders, and storytellers.

The Student Guidebook was developed for several audiences. A resource for collaborative story-making and relationship-building, it covers governance principles that aim to conduct projects in an appropriate and respectful way. It also provides information on the limitations and challenges of using technology in this way, including issues regarding the ownership, control, access and possession of digital stories. We envision many different creators taking up and using this resource, from youth recording stories with their grandmothers, to post-secondary educators, students and Knowledge Keepers working on a formal course project.

The Teacher Handbook is aimed at facilitators and includes summaries of section topics, learning outcomes, discussion questions, and activities.

While this curriculum package is designed as a team-based project involving a facilitator, individuals can also work through the materials by using both resources. We invite you to contact us to share your stories - and we would love to hear feedback on this OER!

  • You can download PDFs of these OER resources by clicking the titles below.

These teaching and learning resources are linked to three phases of learning:

  1. Laying the Groundwork: Considerations of relationship-building, cultural sensitivity, governance, and storytelling;

  2. Creating the Story Together: Guidelines for creating AR digital content through respectful collaboration between students and Indigenous knowledge keepers; and

  3. Sharing and Stewarding the Story: Considerations for ownership, access, copyright and stewardship (care and maintenance) of the story and project materials.

These phases, and the links between them, are documented in the Instructor Handbook and Student Guidebook. Along with guidelines for digital content creation and management, the learning resources also provide content that instructors and students use to reflect on issues combining Indigenous-settler relationships and AR development (ie. copyright and ownership, knowledge-sharing protocols, appropriation and representation, hidden histories, etc). This work has been developed by the project team of instructors, graduate research assistants, and Saddle Lake Cree Nation members.

Diagram of Key Considerations, grounded in relationship-building from the We are All Related AR Guidebooks (2019)

Project Team Agreement: Principles, Roles, and Responsibilities

This project generated a team agreement that is a living document related to principles, roles, and responsibilities for parties of the We are All Related Augmented Reality (AR) project. This agreement is between the parties who make up the We are All Related AR team:

  • University of Alberta (Rob McMahon, Diane Janes, Amanda Almond, Greg Whistance-Smith)

  • Saddle Lake Cree Nation representatives (Diana Steinhauer and Stewart Steinhauer)

This agreement may be extended to include roles and responsibilities for additional parties (e.g. technology platforms and organizations).

Purpose of Agreement: This document records an agreement of responsibilities and roles for each party involved in the We are All Related AR project, as well as shared principles guiding the team’s work.

Duration: This agreement was first drafted in March 2018 and applies for the duration of this phase of the We are All Related AR project (concluding in April 2019).

COMM 597: Exploring Indigenous Settler Relations through Augmented Reality Storytelling

COMM 597 was a graduate course taught in Fall 2018 by Dr. Rob McMahon for the Masters of Arts in Communications and Technology (MACT) program in the Faculty of Extension, University of Alberta.

Blending online learning with field trips, this special topics course combines emerging digital media and Indigenous storytelling as a means to explore principles and practices of community engagement. Focusing on settler-Indigenous relations, it covers theoretical, conceptual and practical foundations of effective and respectful relationship-building. It prepares researchers and professionals for intercultural communication, using storytelling and digital media production as a means to draw out points of reflection, negotiation and dialogue.

The course takes a dynamic, emergent approach to relationship-building that draws on insights from written and oral traditions, Indigenous (Saddle Lake Cree) protocols, and OCAP® principles of data stewardship. It also provides an introduction to Western approaches to partnership development, including mutually-beneficial project agreements and guidelines for ethical research.

Thanks to: Diana and Stewart Steinhauer from Saddle Lake Cree Nation; Dr. Diane Janes and Amanda Almond for course development support; Jennifer Wemigwans, Darcy Jagodzinsky from the Alberta First Nations Information Governance Centre, Jane Anderson and Catherine Bell for their guest presentations; and the University of Alberta’s Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF).

More AR in Indigenous Contexts

AR Counter-Storytelling & Hidden Histories