walk with us project ©

Walk With Us Project: Inspiration

The Walk With Us Project was inspired by two events.

During the 2015-16 school year at Northeastern Catholic DSB, I was visiting classrooms at Bishop Belleau School in Moosonee, Ontario to teach about Google Maps, My Maps and Street View, and their applications in the classroom. Before long, students figured out that their communities were not represented on Street View. They wanted to show where they lived, played and went to school. However, since 360′ imagery is needed for Pegman to “see” in Street View, a discussion began about why there were no pictures, how pictures could be taken, and what would be required.

Fast forward to later that school year, where a group of high school students created a presentation about the suicide crisis in the Attawapiskat First Nation, Ontario. Attawapiskat declared a state of emergency after 11 young people tried to commit suicide in one day. Since last September, over 100 people in the community of 2,000 have attempted suicide. These students bravely stood in front of their school and spoke passionately about their own experiences grappling with issues they have faced, and how they came to overcome these obstacles. The underlying message was one of hope for a brighter future, and to never give up. They wanted to tell their stories, and we wanted to help. The majority of this group of students became Walk With Us club members when the project first began in September 2016.

Group of students include past WWU members

Walk With Us Project: Implementation

The Walk With Us project is run as a club at various meeting places in Timmins, Ontario, the home base being Mushkegowuk Council. We meet every Thursday from 3:45 – 5:00 pm, and currently document our journey via Twitter and here at Adventures in Eduteching. Additionally, we are featured on the digital Human Library website.

One of our members, Neebin, created our club logo. She explains her thinking behind her colour choices:

“The world will be green and blue and the eagle will have original eagle colours, the teepee will be beige and black with the footprints representing the medicine wheel with the colours red, yellow, black, and white.”

Our project involves using an overlay software called WalkInto, 360′ cameras (Ricoh Theta S) and Google Street View to provide a platform for youth to share stories of their upbringing, culture, and traditions, and to discuss the issues that affect them. This project will teach skills that actively prepare learners for the 21st century, including (but not limited to): critical thinking, communicating ideas, understanding media, working with various technologies, and collaborating in teams. To date, we have visited Mattagami First Nation and Moosonee where WWU members captured 360′ imagery to submit to Google Street View – quite literally putting their communities on the map.

To prepare, the students have received 360′ photography training via Google Hangout from Neil Cariani, a Google Trusted Photographer in Clarksville, Tennessee and owner of Creative Existence 360. Neil is also volunteering his time to edit the students’ 360′ photos to adhere to Street View quality guidelines. Members have also participated in virtual tour building training courtesy of Boni Gopalan, founder of WalkInto, via Google Hangout. WWU has recently partnered with the DGTL Creator Studio in the Timmins Museum, where Tyler Levesque instructs on film and photography techniques, as well as editing help which will be useful as students record their stories. Training will be ongoing as needed.

Screenshot 2018-05-05 19.56.21