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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Presentation Details

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Cultural Identity Internet Cultural Identity and the Internet: Exploring culturally appropriate content on the Internet with Maori and Pacific families in New Zealand

Barbara Craig.


A project using computer technology to build connections between families and school in impoverished communities demonstrates that adults will seize new technologies that bridge geographic, social and language isolation and seek education and employment opportunities. We documented Internet usage: as a superhighway (access to jobs and training ); as entertainment; as communication (seeking family connections and exploring cultural identity). Families communicated with extended family in the Pacific and created Web pages, finding new purpose for using first language. Parents, isolated by lack of phone or transport,
used the internet most frequently to 1) search family history 2) look for jobs or look for information about training or online courses and 3) to just pass the time and have fun. This paper focuses on the key driving factor for the families in this study in their use of the Internet: researching and documenting family genealogy. Families then went on to build Web pages so that extended family in the Pacific could access and add to family history documents and send family newletters as email attachments. This lead to increased communication between children in New Zealand and their extended family in the Paciific and provided children with opportunities to use their parent’s first language.

Presenters

Barbara Craig  (New Zealand)
Senior Lecturer
School of Education
Victoria University of Wellington

Barbara Craig has been teaching in the area of ICT and Education at Victoria University since 1989. She had been a Research Associate at the New Zealand Council for Educational Research evaluating the use of computers in schools. She was educated at Canterbury University in New Zealand and Harvard University in the US. Most recently she has been involved in a digital divide project Computers in Homes working with parents and children on literacy, numeracy and computer literacy skills. This project won an education prize in the Stockholm Challenge 2001.

Keywords
  • Cultural Identity
  • Language
  • Online cultural content
  • New Technologies In Low-Income Communities.
  • Action Research.



(30 min Conference Paper, English)