Live Interactive Virtual Explorations at a Southern California Native American Learning Center: Case Studies and Lessons Learned

Live Interactive Virtual Explorations at a Southern California Native American Learning Center: Case Studies and Lessons Learned

Kimberly Mann Bruch (University of California at San Diego, USA), Hans-Werner Braun (University of California at San Diego, USA) and Susan Teel (University of California at San Diego, USA)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/jcit.2010070104

Abstract

For the past decade, researchers affiliated with the National Science Foundation-funded High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network (HPWREN) have been working with Native American education communities on an array of Internet-enabled activities, including the Live Interactive Virtual Explorations (LIVE) pilot project. One of the communities involved with the pilot LIVE project is the Pala Native American Learning Center, which is located in rural San Diego County, California. This paper discusses five case studies encompassing LIVE activities between Pala tribal community members and field scientists/educators throughout southern California. Using laptops equipped with off-the-shelf accessories and freeware, the five pilot case studies demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing the LIVE concept for real-time distance education programs at rural Native American communities.
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Background

Funded by the National Science Foundation, the High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network (HPWREN) HPWREN Live Interactive Virtual Explorations (LIVE) project is a pilot program that focuses on two primary objectives: 1) exploration and understanding of hard-to-reach science sites and 2) preparation for students going on fieldtrips to such sites. Since the origination of the concept in 2001, many activities have been conducted involving rural Native American reservations. This paper discusses case studies concerning the Pala Native American reservation in southern California, four hard-to-reach science sites, and one remote living history site.

Surrounded by beautiful rock-covered mountains, the rural Pala Native American Learning Center is tucked away in the valleys of northeastern San Diego County. The Learning Center provides an array of resources for the Pala Native American reservation community – including access to the Tribal Digital Village Network (TDVNet), which allows for high-speed bandwidth to efficiently access high quality video and audio in the Center’s computer laboratory. Established in conjunction with the HPWREN project by several San Diego Native American communities, the TDVNet not only provides Pala with high-performance Internet connectivity, but also allows for Internet access to other rural reservations throughout the County of San Diego. The case studies described in this paper are focused at the Pala Native American Learning Center; however, future experiments are planned for additional TDVNet users at neighboring reservations.

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