Consortium for Digital Learning

Preparing Alaska’s Students for Success in the Global Economy

Digital Publishing

Talking Storybook Apps feature Alaska Native Languages

   Icon-MMILoveYou       Icon-WeAreAlaska       Icon-Qamulek

In the past year, the Association of Alaska School Boards’ Consortium for Digital Learning (CDL) has worked with multiple school districts to produce mobile talking storybook apps that feature Alaska Native languages, including Alutiiq, Cup’ik, Inupiat and Yup’ik. During this period a total of 15 books have been produced and are available in the Apple App Store as free downloads for the iPad. These indigenous language books are a direct outcome—and an excellent example of—a collaborative partnership between the Association of Alaska School Boards and its membership.

Kashunamiut School District and AASB Team Up to Create Cup’ik Language Storybooks

ChevakBooksPicsCup’ik language speakers confer on translation during a Chevak recording session for the digital storybook, Milly Molly and I Love You. Center photo, from left, Lillian Olson, Rebecca Nayamin, Alexie Kanrilak and Ignatius “Iggy” Chayalkun.

Kashunamiut School District (KSD) implemented a Cup’ik immersion primary program and needed additional curriculum. The school board realized that digital learning was a means to promote Cup’ik culture and language. Through a cooperative venture with AASB, KSD now has a total of 14 talking storybook apps for the iPad to use in their primary program. With the help of a federal “Innovation in Language” grant, AASB assisted Kashunamiut School District in producing a dozen talking story book apps that will be used as part of their Cup’ik immersion program.

Their journey of language preservation and revitalization took a team of three Cup’ik speakers to New Zealand to work with Kiwa Digital, a world leader in the development of interactive digital book apps. Kiwa Digital’s work over the last two decades has resulted in the mainstreaming of Maori, the language of New Zealand’s indigenous people.

During the summer of 2013 a Cup’ik linguist and two speakers traveled to Auckland to record narration tracks for twelve interactive storybooks. The result is a series of the very first interactive storybooks written and narrated entirely in the Cup’ik language of Western Alaska, providing an excellent foundation for learning to read and speak Cup’ik at any age.

These Cup’ik language storybooks are now available in the App Store:

Check this page for download links to each talking storybook as they become available.

Chevak QBook Slam

QBookSlam-QamulekKashunamiut School district also hosted their own QBook Slam event last winter in Chevak to produce the storybook app, An Encounter With Qamulek, the Dragger, based on a traditional story from Western Alaska. The story was adapted, illustrated and voiced by Chevak high school students and their advisors.

The Association of Alaska School Boards’ Consortium for Digital Learning, in partnership with Kiwa Digital of New Zealand, sponsored the event. The project came to fruition with the collaboration of Kashunamiut School District, KCUK Radio Station, Kodiak Island School District, and students and staff from Chevak School.

ChevakSlamPicsStudents work with art teacher Bonnie Dillard of Kodiak during Chevak’s QBook Slam event to create page illustrations for An Encounter With Qamulek, the Dragger.

The book was conceived, illustrated and recorded April 8-9, 2013 in Chevak, Alaska by the following student participants and supporting adults:

Narrated by Mary Pingayak
Qamulek: Tumartaq Boyscout
Miissaq: Matt Atcherian
Ap’a: Alexie Kanrilak
Art Instructor: Bonnie Dillard, Kodiak High School
Illustrators: Krystal Fermoyle, Kyla Fermoyle, Naomi Brown, Mary Pingayak, Tumartaq Boyscout, and Matt Atcherian
Vocal Recording: Alexie Kanrilak
Cup’ik Linguist: Rebecca Nayamin
Story Adaptation Assistance: Jeanne Campbell


An Encounter With Qamulek the Dragger is available free from the iTunes App Store here.

Kiwa Media and AASB Join for First Worldwide QBook Slam

QBookSlam-WeAreAlaskaOur We Are Alaska: Student Voices From Our Communities iPad app, produced during the first ever “QBook Slam” event at the 2012 AASB Annual Conference, has topped 2,200 downloads.

The Association of Alaska School Boards’ Consortium for Digital Learning, in partnership with Kiwa Media of New Zealand and Apple, Inc., sponsored the first ever QBook Slam as part of the AASB Annual Conference November 1-4, 2012.

15 high school students and seven adult advisors from four school districts gathered in Anchorage to participate in the project. Students were tasked with creating an entire 20 page illustrated book in just 48 hours. With an overall theme of “We Are Alaska”, each district team worked collaboratively to create a storyline representative of their communities through the telling of a local story or myth.

Teams were each allotted five pages to present their story in 100 words or less, illustrate the pages, and record story narration and sound effects. Finished files were sent electronically to New Zealand where Kiwa Media developers constructed the digital book overnight. The next day, We Are Alaska was presented as part of Kiwa Media founder and Managing Director Rhonda Kite’s keynote address to the AASB conference.

AnchorageSlamPicsThe QBook Slam project offered students a unique opportunity to participate in the emerging field of digital publishing through the hands-on production of a digital book from start to finish.

Student participants and supporting adults who helped create We Are Alaska included:

Northwest Arctic School District
Students: Zeanna Saggauraq Savok, Mary Tatqavin Lie, Nancy Qayaiyaq Stein, Kaycee Ulagnaq Smith
Adults: Raymond Woods, Bicultural Coordinator; Jeri Eck, Art Teacher

Kodiak Island Borough School District
Students: Taylor Heflin, Kate Jacobson, Yuto Okhi, Dong Yu
Adults: Vickie Kelly, CIO; Bonnie Dillard, Art Teacher

Lower Kuskokwim School District
Students: Panigkaq Andrew, Angilan Charlie, Tunucuk Tunucuk
Adults: Vicki Nechodomu, Technology Specialist; Tommy Bayayok, Technology Specialist

Kashunamiut School District
Students: Krystal Fermoyle, Kyla Fermoyle, Mary Pingayak, Phoenix Chayalkun
Adults: Matt Good, Principal; Rebecca Nayamin, Cup’ik Instructor


We Are Alaska is available free from the iTunes App Store here.

Alutiiq Language Digital Storybook

The first digital book ever created in the Alutiiq language was unveiled at the 2012 AASB Annual Conference. The book, Milly, Molly and I Love You, was a collaboration between AASB, Kiwa Digital of New Zealand and the Native Village of Afognak on Kodiak Island. Several more Alutiiq language digital story books are currently in production and are scheduled for release this year. Cup’ik text and audio was added in 2012, making it the first digital storybook to feature multiple Alaska indigenous languages.


Milly, Molly and I Love You is available free from the iTunes App Store here.

About Kiwa Digital


Kiwa Digital is instrumental in the publication of indigenous cultural stories that incorporate multiple languages in the QBook interactive digital media format. We would like to thank to Rhonda Kite, Zohar Marshall, Jordan Koziol-Repia, Josh Preston and Bryan Field of Kiwa Digital for bringing these stories to life. Learn more about Kiwa Digital here.

Dr. Robert Whicker, Director
Steve Nelson, Project Coordinator
AASB Consortium for Digital Learning