Walk With Us Project

WALK WITH US PROJECT

Our project involves using virtual tour building software (the first tool we used is called WalkInto, and Google has since released Tour Creator), 360′ cameras (Ricoh Theta S / V) and Google Street View to provide a platform for youth to share stories of their culture, traditions and communities. This project aims to teach skills that actively prepare learners for the 21st century, including (but not limited to): critical thinking, communicating ideas, understanding media, working with various technologies, and collaborating in teams. To date, we have visited Mattagami First Nation, Moosonee, Taykwa Tagamou Nation and Constance Lake First Nation in Ontario where WWU members captured 360′ imagery to upload to Google Street View – quite literally putting their communities on the map.

HISTORY OF WALK WITH US PROJECT

Inspiration

The Walk With Us Project was inspired by two events.

During the 2015-16 school year at Northeastern Catholic DSB, I was visiting classrooms at Bishop Belleau School in Moosonee, Ontario to teach about Google Maps, My Maps and Street View, and their applications in the classroom. Before long, students figured out that their communities were not represented on Street View. They wanted to show where they lived, played and went to school. However, since 360′ imagery is needed for Pegman to “see” in Street View, a discussion began about why there were no pictures, how pictures could be taken, and what would be required.

Fast forward to later that school year, where a group of high school students created a presentation about the suicide crisis in the Attawapiskat First Nation, Ontario. Attawapiskat declared a state of emergency after 11 young people tried to commit suicide in one day. Since last September, over 100 people in the community of 2,000 have attempted suicide. These students bravely stood in front of their school and spoke passionately about their own experiences grappling with issues they have faced, and how they came to overcome these obstacles. The underlying message was one of hope for a brighter future, and to never give up. They wanted to tell their stories, and we wanted to help. From here, and with the help of a grant from the Ontario Teachers Federation, Walk With Us began. The majority of this group of students became Walk With Us club members when the project first started in September 2016.

Implementation

The Walk With Us project initially began as a club at various meeting places in Timmins, Ontario, the most recent being Mushkegowuk Council. We met every Thursday from 3:45 – 5:00 pm, and currently document our journey via Twitter and at Adventures in Eduteching. Additionally, we are featured on the digital Human Library website.

One of our members, Neebin, created our club logo. She explains her thinking behind her colour choices:

“The world will be green and blue and the eagle will have original eagle colours, the teepee will be beige and black with the footprints representing the medicine wheel with the colours red, yellow, black, and white.”

Early Partners (2016 – 2018)

Since 2016, Walk With Us has worked with many valued partners. They received 360′ photography training via Google Hangout from Neil Cariani, a Google Trusted Photographer in Clarksville, Tennessee and owner of Creative Existence 360. Neil also volunteered his time to edit the students’ 360′ photos to adhere to Street View quality guidelines. Members had also participated in virtual tour building training courtesy of Boni Gopalan, founder of WalkInto, via Google Hangout. WWU had also partnered with the DGTL Creator Studio in the Timmins Museum, where Tyler Levesque instructed on film and photography techniques, as well as editing help.