Cultural sensitivity is core to the program’s success. Lauren Butler, Manager of Communications and Fundraising at TakingITGlobal says Connected North works in communities that confirm their interest and reach out after learning of the project, largely through word of mouth.
They are a needs-based operation that considers the local context when helping coordinate interactive sessions. They work with teachers to ensure the content is engaging, tied to curriculum, and meets the educational needs identified by the local community.
Getting past the obstacle of limited connectivity in the North
CIRA has supported Connected North through our Community Investment Program grants initiative. The funding has helped the organization expand its content library by adding more virtual experts and field trips to their programming.
Given the serious connectivity challenges facing northern communities, CIRA’s funding is also used to produce and distribute copies of Connected North’s print catalog of sessions – a key resource for reaching remote communities with limited internet access.
Even where broadband connectivity fares better, printed materials and session catalogues are essential components of the program. Connected North ships printed materials to teachers to help make the digital project fully accessible, which Butler said is often not well understood.
“It’s not only live sessions. We send out materials, discussion guides, and whatever is needed for the lesson – whether it’s squid for dissections, children’s books by Indigenous authors, or packages of art supplies – we try to make it as interactive as possible. Classrooms speak with experts, but teachers often do parallel in-class teaching as part of the delivery,” she said.