Development of a Hypermedia Template Using Whole Language Instructional Methods for the Preservation of Native American Languages


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Virginia Tech


This developmental study addresses the problem of Native American language loss through the development of a new instructional model to teach indigenous languages to Native American learners. Whole language methods advocated in second language instruction incorporate observational learning strategies - strategies which are inherent in the Native American home, but often ignored in school. Instructional technology provides a mechanism for the development of curriculum materials which reflect appropriate instructional techniques. A template with embedded whole language methods to address culturally-specific learning strategies was created through the use of hypermedia. The design, development, and implementation of the project template is detailed. The thematic content framework of the template is local legends about the origins of celestial elements. A sample product using the Cherokee language was created from the template and pilot tested on a reservation in North Carolina. Pilot test data is discussed, as well as recommendations for future research in the use of technology for Native American language preservation. A Developer’s Guide to Template Modification is appended to support the adaptation of the template for use with other Native American languages.