423 Views
  1. Shakuntala Gopal
  2. PhD Student
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. University at Buffalo SUNY
  1. Rose Honey
  2. Research & Evaluation Associate
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. University at Buffalo SUNY, University of Idaho, Coeur d'Alene Tribe
  1. Sameer Honwad
  2. Assistant Professor
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. University at Buffalo SUNY
  1. Julie Poynsenby
  2. PhD Candidate
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. University of Idaho

Voices to Hear

NSF Awards: 1759407

2021 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Undergraduate

The Voices to Hear (V2H) project uses the oral tradition of storytelling to empower Coeur d’Alene Tribal students (middle school, high school and college) to engage in environmental decision-making and scientific communication, while building a stronger sense of cultural identity. V2H students investigate environmental challenges in their communities by interviewing local experts, community members, and family. By combining two different knowledge systems (mainstream/dominant and Indigenous knowledge perspectives), students reflect on community environmental challenges (e.g. death of Tundra Swans, the impact of the Post Falls dam) and tell these stories through documentary style podcasts. While podcasts resonate strongly with the oral tradition of storytelling in Native American communities, they also provide a mechanism for conducting scientific inquiry. Through the development and sharing of stories about the environment via digital audio storytelling on local radio stations and at community events, V2H facilitates the understanding of how indigenous communities in Northern Idaho merge different knowledge systems to make decisions about environmental challenges faced by their communities. 

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, V2H programming shifted from an in-person, in the field format to a virtual one utilizing Zoom video conferencing software in its second year. This transition resulted in restructuring the program from six-weeks to a three-week virtual program that worked to engage students living in a rural setting with limited and intermittent access to high-speed internet. This presentation illustrates challenges faced due to these adjustments, and successes accomplished while continuing to meet the V2H program learning objectives and overall project goals.

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Discussion from the 2021 STEM For All Video Showcase (36 posts)
  • Icon for: Shakuntala Gopal

    Shakuntala Gopal

    Lead Presenter
    PhD Student
    May 10, 2021 | 06:50 p.m.

    Hello all! Thank you so much for visiting to learn about our Voices to Hear Project. This project was made possible because of the collaboration between SUNY Buffalo, University of Idaho, and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe through funding by the National Science Foundation. This video describes how our program design shifted between Year 1 and Year 2 due to COVID-19. 

    We are especially interested in feedback about the design of our first year versus our second year. Please feel free to share your own experience with virtual teaching and learning as we are currently in the process of planning for the third iteration of our programming, which will also be virtual. 

    Otherwise, all questions are welcome!

     
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    Kelly Greene
    Patricia Montaño
  • Icon for: Chip Bruce

    Chip Bruce

    Facilitator
    Professor Emeritus
    May 11, 2021 | 07:13 a.m.

    What a great project and what a downer that it had to be curtailed and redesigned for year two!

    I'm working with a group in Nepal on a communiversity design and development. It's premised on rich direct personal interaction with community members who typically lack internet access, or even electricity. Many are illiterate and do not speak either English or Nepali well. The loss of f2f contact has been a huge challenge.

    You appear to have coped as well as one can with the situation. Could interviews or story telling be done more through zoom or even voice calls on phones?

  • Icon for: Shakuntala Gopal

    Shakuntala Gopal

    Lead Presenter
    PhD Student
    May 11, 2021 | 08:31 a.m.

    Thank you so much for your comment and your suggestions! Lately, we have been thinking about having students have access to their own individual Zoom rooms so they can record interviews or conversations between themselves. This way, they later access the audio recording that Zoom produces. Phone calls are tough because we fear the sound quality might not be as high as we'd prefer it to be. 

    The biggest issue really is that it's tough to connect students with the scientists, experts, and community members for these interviews. In the f2f version, we could just invite them to the dept where we held our program and students could impromptu capture conversations and interviews. In this virtual version, there are several more steps to getting them connected in the same "informal" way. The way Zoom sort of intrinsically creates this highly structured interaction has turned out to be such a boundary for students to take that leap and set up Zoom interviews. 

    How are you managing with your group in Nepal? Have you tried alternatives or is it on halt for now? The loss of f2f is a huge challenge indeed. 

  • Icon for: Chip Bruce

    Chip Bruce

    Facilitator
    Professor Emeritus
    May 11, 2021 | 08:42 a.m.

    I'm actually meeting with them on Google Meet in 7 minutes so I can't say much right now.

    They're often more adept with the technology than I am despite my PhD in computer science. The difficulties seem to be more motivational, including following through. My biggest contribution is just to be there and show that an international partner thinks their work is worthwhile (it's actually excellent). That's hard to do virtually when I can't just "invite them to the dept" or drop in on theirs.

  • Icon for: Shakuntala Gopal

    Shakuntala Gopal

    Lead Presenter
    PhD Student
    May 11, 2021 | 11:30 a.m.

    I hear you on the difficulties of not being about to just "drop in" and have impromptu meet-ups. We faced the challenge of motivation and follow-through with getting students to complete podcasts in this past second year without us being able to just sit next them and support their hard work.

    In any case, I sincerely wish you luck on your project. 

    Also, I laughed at the latter end of your comment "...despite my PhD in computer science" haha. Thank you for the laugh!

  • May 11, 2021 | 07:47 a.m.

    This is a really interesting project - thank you for sharing!

    I'm sure it was difficult to transition to a virtual format. We had to make a similar shift with our program this past year and I appreciate you pointing out the challenges you experienced, especially regarding internet connectivity. We provided some of our participants with mobile hotspots but even that didn't fully solve the problem.

    I like Chip's suggestion (above) about storytelling over the phone. Maybe that would also work for the student interviews. Another idea that I know a lot of museums had success with during the pandemic was "virtual field trips" in lieu of in-person trips, through either pre-recorded or live video stream.

     

  • Icon for: Shakuntala Gopal

    Shakuntala Gopal

    Lead Presenter
    PhD Student
    May 11, 2021 | 08:33 a.m.

    Thank you so much for your comment and feedback!

    We tried mobile hotspots as well! And just like you've said, it did not totally solve the problem for us either.

    Virtual field trips is such an interesting idea! I've seen some of those actually, but never thought about how they might have a place in our program. Thank you so much for this suggestion. I wonder how students have been responding to those? 

  • Icon for: Anne Stevenson

    Anne Stevenson

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2021 | 10:27 a.m.

    Thank you so much for sharing this fascinating project! I work with the 4-H program in Minnesota and we too are always seeking ways to support youth in being active citizens and change-makers in their communities!  I love that your young people have created the podcasts and I will go and listen to them! The depth of learning that you have helped them to have is impressive.

    We too, moved to virtual and hybrid learning. We have found many of the same challenges with access and connectivity for some. We have had success with "bringing in resource people, scientists" in zoom or google meets, as well as the virtual field trip idea mentioned above. We are also finding more engagement if we can get a kit of supplies to the young person prior to a zoom call, so that there are things to do at home ahead of time, or to do together with the "expert" while on the call (e.g. include growing plants, cooking together, exploring a tree "cookie" to count rings, going outside with family to observe night skies before talking with the resource person, etc.).

    I so appreciate seeing what you are doing with young people to be change makers in their community! That is one of our goals of our project, and I'd love to compare notes! 

     
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    Shihadah Saleem
  • Icon for: Shakuntala Gopal

    Shakuntala Gopal

    Lead Presenter
    PhD Student
    May 11, 2021 | 11:06 a.m.

    Thank you so much for your feedback and contributions! I hope you do have a moment to listen to their podcasts. They're truly fabulous. We intended them to be much shorter, but the students had free reign to make them as long as they thought was necessary to really tell the story they wanted to tell. We have not yet posted our Year 2 podcasts because the virtual redesign of the program made it quite difficult for us to support students in completing podcasts more quickly. We are almost there though!

    Thank you for sharing your experience. We actually tried a home hands-on activity last year, but we had them go off the Zoom call, work on the project, and then report back to us about it later on. We were so worried about Zoom fatigue when we made this decision--but this year, we're trying something more similar to what you've described where they will work on a hands-on activity while the expert is on the call. We have high hopes that it will be more effective and engaging. 

    We would be very happy to compare notes!

     

     

     
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    Kimberly Elliott
  • Icon for: Nancy Staus

    Nancy Staus

    Facilitator
    Senior Researcher, STEM Education
    May 11, 2021 | 10:44 a.m.

    What an interesting project and sorry that you had to change it on the fly because of the pandemic. I would reiterate the idea of virtual field trips--I know a lot of informal STEM providers have been using them during Covid. I am especially interested in the notion of merging Indigenous and Western knowledge systems. Could you speak more to how you did that and maybe give an example?

     
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    Kimberly Elliott
    Shihadah Saleem
  • Icon for: Shakuntala Gopal

    Shakuntala Gopal

    Lead Presenter
    PhD Student
    May 11, 2021 | 11:16 a.m.

    Thank you so much for your question. There were a few ways we did this, but it is very much a work-in-progress for how to do this appropriately and better each year. One way was we made sure to include Tribal experts and scientists as speakers over the course of the program. Students were able to speak with them, ask them questions, and interview them. We also ensured the same with non-Tribal scientist and experts within the community. This allowed them an opportunity to consider the challenges and fabric of environmental problems from different epistemological standpoints. Another way was to include information and talk about the Tribe's core values in terms of the role it plays in who they are identity-wise and thus the role it plays in considering the complexities of socio-scientific problems. I hope this answers your question, but I welcome follow-up questions!

     
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    Kimberly Elliott
  • Icon for: Julie Poynsenby

    Julie Poynsenby

    Co-Presenter
    PhD Candidate
    May 11, 2021 | 11:26 a.m.

    To add to Devi's excellent answer, we also had an advisory board made up of Tribal members not directly involved in the project, who provided guidance to ensure we considered cultural and community aspects and who encouraged us to include Tribal Elders as sources of knowledge for the students.

     
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    Shihadah Saleem
  • Icon for: Shihadah Saleem

    Shihadah Saleem

    Facilitator
    Sr. Manager of Youth Leadership and Alumni Programs
    May 11, 2021 | 10:53 a.m.

    Such a great project, I commend you, your educators, students and the community on your perseverance. I'd like to know how the students, if at all, may have been able to utilize their podcasts from year 1 and/or year 2 in their school communities as a way to showcase their work? A way to integrate their work and ideas into the classroom would be a great way to sustain knowledge and recruit additional students every summer. 

  • Icon for: Shakuntala Gopal

    Shakuntala Gopal

    Lead Presenter
    PhD Student
    May 11, 2021 | 11:25 a.m.

    Thank you so much for your question. We have actually not yet intentionally considered how students can utilize their podcasts in their school communities. We do know some students have talked about what they have done with Voices to Hear with their classes and teachers. We also have placed the podcasts on the Coeur d'Alene's Department of Education website for anyone to access. We have been musing over how to transform Voices to Hear in to a program that is more heavily connected to local schools, but have not yet fleshed this out. In other words, we totally agree that integrating this work and ideas in the classroom is important and would enable them to sustain this knowledge! 

    In terms of recruitment, we actually just learned yesterday that the program has a growing positive reputation in the community so it looks like we will not have to worry about recruitment moving forward. 

     
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    Shihadah Saleem
  • Icon for: Julie Poynsenby

    Julie Poynsenby

    Co-Presenter
    PhD Candidate
    May 11, 2021 | 11:32 a.m.

    Thank you so much. We know that some of the students from year one did share their involvement with the project in class and also have been able to speak confidently about certain aspects of the environmental issues impacting their community. Some of the students have returned for a second year and some have applied simply because they heard about the program from those who had been with us in year one. I agree, utilizing the podcasts into the classroom is a great idea.

     
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    Shihadah Saleem
  • Icon for: Daniel Zietlow

    Daniel Zietlow

    Informal Educator
    May 12, 2021 | 10:28 a.m.

    This is such a cool project!  Thanks for sharing it with us.  I've been thinking a lot about co-design and elevating community knowledge.  What were some of your best practices for that to ensure a healthy and equitable relationship?  And ya, concerning online learning - it can be tough, especially when there's an unequal access to technology.  I've seen some programs try to minimize the amount of time one needs to be connected to a computer.  So, come together for a maybe 5 minutes intro to set the framework for doing something that day, go and do the activity away from the computer, and then come back online to debrief for a bit at the end.  Would love to listen to the podcasts, too (also something we're interested in).

     
    1
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    Shihadah Saleem
  • Icon for: Shakuntala Gopal

    Shakuntala Gopal

    Lead Presenter
    PhD Student
    May 12, 2021 | 10:41 a.m.

    Thanks so much for your comment and question! We have an advisory board that is entirely composed of Tribal community members who we share the project's process periodically in order to get their feedback about alterations that should be made to more appropriately address the needs of youth in their community. One of our project leads is a Tribal member as well and simultaneously the Director of Education for the Tribe so she greatly informs the direction of the project and curriculum. We meet weekly as a team where we all report on the components of the project we are each working on and are always prepared to make changes in the best interest of the community and the youth. In sum, it takes a lot of communication!

    You can listen to the podcasts here

    And, yes! We've thought about that model, but it's so tough to keep students engaged and wanting to come back in order to debrief when they're on their own at home with no support from us. I think that model probably works best when students are off doing something highly interactive and maybe even outside, but so much of the work they do as part of Voices to Hear is listening, thinking, and constructing a story -- all in collaboration. It's tough to find the right balance!

  • Icon for: Daniel Zietlow

    Daniel Zietlow

    Informal Educator
    May 12, 2021 | 11:46 a.m.

    Awesome, thanks for the great info and link to the podcasts!  And that makes sense regarding the engagement model.  

  • May 12, 2021 | 11:11 a.m.

    Great project! Curious to know if more or different students were able to participate with moving to a virtual platform? Was it a hinderance more than an opportunity to include students who can't always make it to in person programs?

  • Icon for: Shakuntala Gopal

    Shakuntala Gopal

    Lead Presenter
    PhD Student
    May 12, 2021 | 11:17 a.m.

    Thank you so much for your question! Because we were recruiting students within the community as it is a project for this specific community, I am not sure that there were different students who were able to participate as a result of moving to a virtual program. Some of our college students were able to be more flexible in terms of where they were during the course of the program however since many of them attend colleges further away. 

    Your question is a really interesting one though. In another project myself and another member of this team led last summer called WE SAID, we were able to to extend who participated as a result of the virtual setting. It was actually such a fabulous experience because we had high students from India, the US, and Mexico in a space altogether where they were able to talk about local equity issues in their home countries. It was such a unique experience that few young people get to have and in many ways, that's what I see as the value of virtual learning space -- an opportunity to interface with a wider and more diverse set of people. 

  • Icon for: Wonmai "Maia" Punksungka

    Wonmai "Maia" Punksungka

    Researcher
    May 12, 2021 | 12:30 p.m.

    This is important work that you are doing. It is unfortunate that the pandemic has impacted so much of your work, but I am glad you were able to successfully transition to virtual engagement/online learning. Would you be able to provide insight on how this engagement impacted your students? In addition to learning about the environmental issues and the challenges that these tribes faced, what reflections did your students leave the program with?

  • Icon for: Shakuntala Gopal

    Shakuntala Gopal

    Lead Presenter
    PhD Student
    May 12, 2021 | 02:44 p.m.

    Thank you so much for your comment and questions. Our college students who acted as mentors to our middle and high school students had a tough time keeping the youth engaged. It was also really tough for them to complete their podcasts in terms of having enough time to create and puzzle together their story pieces -- mainly because it was hard for them to keep the youth online for too long.

    On the flip side, the breakout room function proved to be very useful for students having specified time to build relationships with one another. Additionally, the Zoom features like the reaction button, chat feature, and hand raise function allowed for a diversity in participation from students based around their comfort levels. We really saw students who might be quieter in real-life spaces share more in this virtual space. 

    In response to your second question, students left the program with a better understanding of what the Tribe is already doing to meet the challenges they face. They get a real sense of what has gone in to the decision-making processes in meeting challenges. This has already come up as a finding in our evaluation data. Our research data is so far showing that they are becoming more capable systems-thinkers as well.

     
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    Shihadah Saleem
    Wonmai "Maia" Punksungka
  • Icon for: Wonmai "Maia" Punksungka

    Wonmai "Maia" Punksungka

    Researcher
    May 12, 2021 | 03:27 p.m.

    This is an excellent response. Thank you for your insight. I am glad that technology, especially the Zoom breakout rooms worked in your favor, and that your students left the program with a better understanding of the tribe's needs.

    I remember doing community-engaged work in graduate school. My professor taught me the word 'cultural humility." You may already be familiar with this word. If not, it means to reflect on how one's own background, experiences, expectation, and overall privilege affects one's interaction with someone else. Anyway. I share this with you because it was a constant theme that came up for me as a student, and something my classmates and I valued even after we finished our community-engaged work.

    Overall, I am excited about your work. If you have time, please provide feedback on my video: https://stemforall2021.videohall.com/presentati... -- I would greatly appreciate it. 

    Thank you!

  • Icon for: Shihadah Saleem

    Shihadah Saleem

    Facilitator
    Sr. Manager of Youth Leadership and Alumni Programs
    May 12, 2021 | 07:36 p.m.

    All of these podcasts and fruitful interviews, especially with students and families can be helpful and educational resources, has there been any discussions to archive and/or work with local cultural centers to store and save, and/or think about curating an exhibition with the students and Native American communities to further representation and recognition?

  • Icon for: Julie Poynsenby

    Julie Poynsenby

    Co-Presenter
    PhD Candidate
    May 14, 2021 | 04:41 p.m.

    I have not quite got the hang of hitting "reply" instead of posting!  Thank you so much for your question and see below for a response to your post.

  • Icon for: Julie Poynsenby

    Julie Poynsenby

    Co-Presenter
    PhD Candidate
    May 12, 2021 | 08:14 p.m.

    Thank you so much for your question. The Coeur d'Alene Tribe (one of the partners in this project) consider the podcasts and interviews with Tribal experts and Elders to be an important addition to their archive. The Tribe retain ownership of the material, but the podcasts continue to be shared to wider audiences through a dedicated website. It is important that the Tribe decides who retains, who archives, who shares information and with whom as they continue to move forward towards self-determinism. Primarily, there is a desire to share the project - especially the student involvement, with the Tribal community, and to empower the students to share their experience with peers in class. Following our first summer program, four of our Native college mentors presented at the AIRA conference in Montana, and it is our hope that our current mentors consider presenting at appropriate future conferences. 

    I like the idea of some kind of sharing and we had hoped to combine live, community storytelling as a way to reveal the finished podcasts. COVID-19 made that impossible!

  • May 13, 2021 | 10:11 p.m.

    I like the idea of using Podcasts as a form of scientific inquiry. What type of training/preparation did you provide students to ensure they produced high quality products? 

  • Icon for: Julie Poynsenby

    Julie Poynsenby

    Co-Presenter
    PhD Candidate
    May 14, 2021 | 04:39 p.m.

    Hi Kristen. I failed to hit the "reply button", but see below in answer to your post!

  • Icon for: Julie Poynsenby

    Julie Poynsenby

    Co-Presenter
    PhD Candidate
    May 13, 2021 | 11:18 p.m.

    Thank you so much for your question. In the first year, which was in-person, we had arranged for a couple of experts in digital media and podcasting to provide some hands-on training for the students. This included an activity where students had to interview someone and produce a short, 30 second audio piece. One of our experts attended the program in person towards the end of the six weeks, spending time with each student group to offer suggestions and advice (both technical and narrative/story flow). We made a point of using professional broadcasting software and high quality recording devices. During the program students learned about target audience, writing narratives, storyboarding and also how to interview and ask great questions.

    The main lesson we learned from year one was how much time it takes to get a complete, polished podcast finished and ready for public broadcast! As a result, we have sent more time planning specific training for our college mentors several months before the summer program starts, so that they are comfortable and confident using the software. One important aspect of this was to include the mentors in planning the training for year two and three so we address any specific issues and plan accordingly. 

    In conclusion, I think the following are essential:

    • students should listen to a variety of podcasts
    • spend time talking about storyboarding, narration and target audience
    • use quality equipment and practice with it - especially regarding recording levels, background noise etc
    • invest in quality broadcasting software
    • allow plenty of time!
  • May 14, 2021 | 02:56 p.m.

    An excellent, much needed project!  I appreciate the flexibility in transitioning to a remote context. I wasn't sure -- were students creating podcast news stories, or doing something else?

  • Icon for: Julie Poynsenby

    Julie Poynsenby

    Co-Presenter
    PhD Candidate
    May 14, 2021 | 04:38 p.m.

    Hi Bridget, students were investigating environmental issues within their community, or issues that impacted their community and then through talking with Tribal and non-Tribal experts and scientists, working to address those issues, the students learned about decision-making and complex systems thinking. So, in answer to your question, the podcasts were framed around environmental issues specific to the Tribal community and how those people working in the Tribal Natural Resources Department worked to find solutions.

  • May 15, 2021 | 11:09 a.m.

    Thanks, Julie, for this information. Excellent example of a meaningful project, with an authentic audience.

  • May 14, 2021 | 04:40 p.m.

    I love your project! We should get together to talk about how are projects are elevating community voices and community knowledge about local environmental issues. The We are Water project (video in the showcase http://videohall.com/p/2223) focuses on community reflections and stories about water from rural, Indigenous and Latinx communities in the Four Corners. I'd love to get together to hear more about your experiences with communities and how the project develops over the next year. 

  • Icon for: Julie Poynsenby

    Julie Poynsenby

    Co-Presenter
    PhD Candidate
    May 14, 2021 | 04:46 p.m.

    Hi Patricia, yes we should and it sounds as thought your project has similar aims. I am heading over to view your video right now, so thanks for the link :). We would love to talk more and share our experiences with you and likewise, hear more about We are Water.

  • Icon for: Kelly Greene

    Kelly Greene

    K-12 Teacher
    May 15, 2021 | 06:56 p.m.

    Hello! We would love to collaborate. Many of students would be perfect to be Chief Science Officers. We have been working to grow the program in WNY. I am originally from West Clarksville. Thank you for hosting a powerful project. They will always remember this experience! Let's connect if you would like to brainstorm collaboration ideas. KGreene@SciTechInstitute.org

  • Icon for: Lara Gengarelly

    Lara Gengarelly

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 18, 2021 | 04:24 p.m.

    What an impactful project! It also sounds like your team has done a terrific job adapting to remote engagement during COVID. Not a simple task.

    I look forward to listening to the students' podcasts. The short clips featured in this video were intriguing.

    My question relates to who selected the environmental issue on which to focus for these podcasts? Were the students or Tribal and non-Tribal experts and scientists selecting the focus for these community-level environmental topics?

    Thank you for sharing!

    Lara

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