Kigluait Adventures is a family run business. My wife and I began it in 2004 while we were living in the small Alaskan village of Teller. We now live in Talkeetna, Alaska and more members of the family have joined our efforts; My son (and his uncle before him), who use their experence with Kigluait to enhance their own Homeschool learning, and his grandmother working hard on scheduling. We are more excited then ever about where Kigluait is heading! But I am getting a little ahead of myself, first a little background…
Christina is a born teacher! She was raised in California and graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1995 with a degree in Earth Science. She then entered the Utah State University education program and earned her teaching credential in 1997. Upon receiving her teaching credential she began working in the classrooms of northern Utah. A huge change in environment during the summer of 1999 brought her to the small and remote villages of western and northern Alaska. It was in these villages that Kigluait Adventures began!
Richard’s passion is in experiencing wild places! This passion drove him to spend endless days playing in the waters off the coasts of south and central California. It also led him to explore far into the mountains and deserts of Utah, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada and Oregon. After struggling through the public school system, Richard finally received his GED in 1990 and quickly earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Earth Science from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1994. Receiving his degree he moved to Utah and pursued a future in research science investigating the Pleistocene climate record found in ancient-lake shoreline deposits. But, as with Christina, in 1999 a change in environment brought him to the remote villages Alaska.
Okay… enough background. Now for the story of “Kigluait.”
It was from Christina’s experiences teaching in the small, remote, mostly Alaskan Native, schools of rural Alaska, and my own experiences in beginning to learn the fine art of running sleddogs that Kigluait began.
The district that Christina was working for had invested heavily in technology infrastructure, from videoconferencing to online classrooms, but very little was being done with it instructionally. Being the energetic teacher that she is, she began to explore the possibilities. At the same time I had the honor of meeting one of the most amazing teachers I have ever learned from… well two really. The first was a man named Joe Garnie, an Inupiaq Eskimo who had grown up in the time before snowmachines and when sleddogs were the only means of travel for everything from hauling firewood to visiting nearby villages. His style of instruction was simple and traditional…blend explanation with observation; then allow me to try it out in a real-world situation with real-world consequences. And most importantly he taught me how to watch and learn from the dogs themselves (the second great teacher I mentioned above!).
So Kigluait began from the desire to try and combine this traditional learning/teaching style that I was being introduced to with the exciting technology that Christina was exploring, and seemed to so easily to capture her students attention. And thus was born our first “curriculum”… a game-based simulation of racing in the Iditarod Sleddog race. The curriculum incorporated tons of communication/media technology and allowed students from vastly different environments and places the room to learn and grow by “doing” and interacting with each other to succeed (and struggle) in a common goal.
From there Kigluait has grown and grown… at least in regards to the types and variety of projects that we work on. But in our core we have not changed! Our main mission is still to increase student’s passion for learning, build their awareness of the social and environmental landscapes they live in, and improve their ability to communicate effectively with each other around the globe.
In the end…
We strongly believe in and are guided by the following:
Simple living- consuming as little as possible, recycling through re-use
The Social and Environmental responsibility of individuals
The ability of individuals to improve the worlds they live in