Tag Archives: technology

Preserving indigenous languages one app at a time

Ogoki Learning Inc. is the world leader when it comes to language apps

Canada’s Aboriginal languages are many and diverse, and their importance to indigenous people immense. During the past 100 years or more, nearly ten, once flourishing languages have become extinct; at least a dozen more are on the brink of extinction. When these languages vanish, they take with them unique ways of looking at the world.

Ogoki Learning Inc. is trying to preserve indigenous languages one app at a time.

It all started when Darrick Baxter, President of Ogoki Learning, created an Ojibwe language app for smartphones and tablets. Soon after the release, he noticed the app was doing what he hoped it would, teaching kids the Ojibwe language while keeping them engaged through mobile devices.

From that moment Baxter, who grew up in Winnipeg’s North End, knew he had to share the app with everyone, so he released the app for free.

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Power To The People: Community Solar Power

As renewable energy costs continue falling, the rise of people owning their power is growing.

Whether its developing nations are tacking a more sustainable path to meet their needs, or homeowners looking to diversify their energy use, we see a substantial shift towards solar power as a real important option.

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Winnipeg startup company helping families communicate

Kindoma Co-Founder Carly Shuler used Manitoba resources to build her business.

Sunny days, sweeping the clouds away. On my way to where the air is sweet, can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street.

One person who can help you find the way is Carly Shuler.

Shuler is the CEO and Co-founder of Kindoma, a kids’ video and messaging app helping to break new barriers when it comes to communication for children and families.

So what exactly is Kindoma?

“Think of skype for kids with an interactive twist,” says Schuler from Kindoma’s Winnipeg office, who is a transplanted Calgarian but has made Winnipeg her home with her husband and two kids.

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Storytelling for the modern age

While many of us might like to see the young children in our lives on a regular basis, the truth is that that is just not a reality for all people. Circumstances vary across the board, with divorce, military deployment and geographical distance putting barriers between adults and the young faces they wish to see.

Kindoma is looking to change all of that.

Kindoma is a brand of apps that allow face-to-face interaction between adults and young children. While it has the video elements of programs like Skype, the added interaction of apps like StoryTime and DrawTime hold the attention of children much longer, making for a longer and more meaningful call.

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Working from home the way to go?

The term telecommuting was coined in 1972 by Jack Nilles, who began working on a communications system for NASA from home, and called what he was doing “telecommuting.” He explained it as “moving the work to the workers instead of the workers to the work.”
Today’s technology makes working remotely even easier. Estimates are that four per cent of workers in the United States telecommute, while 40 per cent have jobs that could be performed from home.
Determining the number of people who telecommute is difficult because the parameters are hard to define. Some work full-time from home, others only one or two days a week. Still others go to the office during the day, and work at home in the evenings and on weekends (something Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer assured her staff would still be able to do when she cancelled the company telecommuting program).
With the popularity of smartphones, most employees are accessible during nearly all of their waking hours. Work doesn’t end when you leave the office at five. Many employees answer emails after dinner and send a note to their boss before their morning commute.
It’s only fair that employers compensate them with some flexibility during formal work hours.
Telecommuting can also save companies considerable costs. Businesses no longer need to pay for the office space to accommodate all their employees. Much of the growth of telecommuting has been in small- and medium-sized businesses because the savings allow them to be competitive.
In turn, employees don’t have to pay for gas or transit to get to the office every day, and can save on work clothes and lunches out.
Working remotely and with more flexibility also tends to boost employee morale, and can help parents balance family demands.
                                        So with all of these benefits,
                         why aren’t more people telecommuting?
As Nilles, the father of telecommuting, wrote in 1998, the main reason is resistance to change. “As everyone ‘knows,’ the information workers all have to report to the information factory in order to do their work. That’s the way we’ve always done it. It is very difficult to get managers of organizations to think about working in other ways. As a consequence, the freeways are clogged every day around the world, mostly with people driving (alone) between their homes and the information factories.”
                                                         Building trust
For telecommuting to work, there has to be a relationship of trust between the manager and the employee. Employers need to trust that their staff isn’t slacking off just because there’s no one keeping an eye on them – and workers need to be honest and accountable with their time.
While there has been a growth in the popularity of telecommuting since its first days, recently there’s been a shift in the opposite direction with Yahoo! and Best Buy cancelling their telecommuting programs.
When Mayer first spoke about the change, she said, “people are more productive when they’re alone, but they’re more collaborative and innovative when they’re together. Some of the best ideas come from pulling two different ideas together.”

by Ada Slivinski