Hello from the land of the midnight sun!

Hello ECI830 classmates! My name is Ainsley. In 2007, my husband and I moved from the suburbs of Toronto to the high arctic – to a small and predominantly Inuit community on the northern tip of Baffin Island, in Nunavut, Canada.

My background is in education. I taught at a high school in the “south” and since moving north I’ve been involved with adult education. I worked for Nunavut Arctic College teaching the Nunavut Teacher Education Program which is delivered in partnership with the University of Regina. Currently, I work for Nunavut’s Department of Education in the Adult Learning division. In this role I have several different projects and programs that I oversee. One of them in particular is what drew me to learning more about educational technology and to the ECI 830 class. This program is the Pathway to Adult Secondary School (PASS) graduation program. It is a new government program that enables Nunavummiut adults to earn their Nunavut high school diploma. The PASS program has been designed so that the students can complete their courses online – which is essential given that the students are spread out across Nunavut where the communities are isolated and accessible only by air. This program facilitates equity in access to high school education for adults, since without access to online learning, these adults would not be able to earn their high school diploma. I am looking forward to learning with all of you and applying this learning to my role as a public servant in Nunavut. Educational technology,  as long as our horrendous bandwidth allows it, has the potential to enhance learning by breaking down the geographical barriers that we face.    image

When I’m not working or doing school work, much of my spare time is taken up by my dog team. Over the past nine years my spouse and I have been building up a team of Inuit Sled dogs. We now have a team of nine dogs; each with its own personality and an endless amount of energy.  In addition to dog sledding, I also enjoy many other activities. With mountains, glaciers, fjords and the Arctic Ocean right out my back door, I spend a lot of time camping, backcountry and kite skiing, sea kayaking and exploring new places by snowmobile. With 10 months of snow and ice, I can’t help but enjoy playing in this winter wonderland! Another way that I find to honour my Canadian roots, is by playing on the local men’s hockey team.

I look forward  to reading your posts and getting to know a little bit more about you.


9 thoughts on “Hello from the land of the midnight sun!

  1. Wow!! That is so awesome you guys decided to move to Nunavut. Did anything in particular draw you there? Work? Or just wanting a different lifestyle/experience? I have so many questions about your life and experiences up there haha. Is it hard to get to? Do you get to visit family/friends/the ‘south’ often? Had you always wanted to have a dogsled team? Or was it something that you just decided on after living there for a while? Welcome to the class! Looking forward to learning with you

    • Qujannamiik – Thanks for reading my blog! We were looking for an adventure, so we quit our jobs (after finding jobs there!), packed our bags and arrived in Pond Inlet after 6 hours of flying and paying a small fortune (a return flight costs around $4000). We recently moved further south to Iqaluit which has made it easier and slightly cheaper to visit family, but we still usually only fly out about twice a year. Once in the summer where we time it with our annual sealift shopping where we shop for the year’s supply of non perishable food, household items etc that are shipped up by barge and arrive a couple months later. It’s always a challenge to try and figure out how much tomato sauce, toothpaste, wine, etc that you go through in a year and I still haven’t gotten used to the looks I get when I go through the checkout with 8 overflowing carts! We also fly out sometime during the winter to get a break from the darkness and cold. As for our dog team, a family member asked us if we were going to get a dog when we moved north and I said “No way…a dog is a lot of work!” … after two months we decided to get two sled dogs so that we could skijor and also have some bear protection (although I don’t trust that they wouldn’t just run the other way at the sight of a polar bear – but at least they’d give me a warning bark first!) when we were out on the land. We slowly built up the team after that – although I”m not sure that they know they are sled dogs as they have been quite spoiled and would all prefer to be house pets – even though they’d be overheating in 20 minutes! The time has flown by for us up here and we have tried to learn as much we can about Inuit culture, language and all the amazing things that Nunavut has to offer. While it is difficult to be so far from family and surrounded by the social issues that many Nunavummiut face, it has been an amazing experience and we have learned and grown so much while living here.

      In previous classes I’ve had a chance to speak with other students about the educational and social realities of aboriginal students in Saskatchewan and we found that there are many parallels – especially in northern Saskatchewan. I’m looking forward to exploring the impacts and issues of educational technology through an indigenous lens.

  2. It is so nice to read about your story on you blog. I was in an Institute last summer and there were 4 teachers from Nunavut in my classes. I loved seeing their photographs and hearing of life in the “North”. Very beautiful. Looking forward to learning with you this class!

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