On April 21, 2016, the Connected North program officially launched in Saskatchewan at Father Porte Memorial Dene School in Black Lake.
Connected North delivers immersive and interactive virtual education and digital healthcare services to remove communities through high-definition two-way video communication and collaboration technology. The aim of the program is to offer a fresh approach to student engagement, allowing teachers and administrators to expose their students to people, experiences, and ideas from other locations they may not otherwise have access to because of their remote location, and deliver two-way student exchanges using a high quality video experience.
The launch event included a live, virtual visit to the Royal Tyrell Museum of Palentology in Drumheller, Alberta and was followed by an interactive literacy exploration between Father Porte Memorial Dene School and West Point Grey Academy in Vancouver. What was especially evident at the launch was the pride the Black Lake students had in sharing some of their art, traditions and way of life with students in Vancouver.
Connected North originally began with one school in Iqaluit in 2013 and has since grown to include 15 schools, with Father Porte Memorial Dene School in Black Lake being the first in Saskatchewan.
Over the 2015-2016 school year, Father Porte Memorial Dene School participated in 26 live and interactive Connected North sessions. They met musicians, physicians, puppeteers, scientists, museums and indigenous role models, to name just a few. The program will continue for the 2016-2017 school year.
Athabasca Basin Development is a proud supporter of Connected North. We would also like to thank the many partners that came together to make this happen: Cisco Canada, TakingItGlobal, SaskTel, PAGC Grand Council, Black Lake Denesuline First Nation, Father Porte Memorial Dene School, Cameco, AREVA Resources, and West Wind Aviation. We are proud to help connect the teachers and students in Black Lake to new resources to make the classroom more engaging.