As 15 adults from different backgrounds and locations across Hawai‘i with a common passion for technology came together for an innovative digital media workshop, a vital synergy was already humming along behind the scenes.
Representatives from multiple departments at Kamehameha Schools – including the Information Technology, Strategy & Innovation, Procurement and Legal hale – each made vital contributions to the workshop organized for Kanaeokana, the kula Hawai‘i network, by KS’ Kealaiwikuamoʻo Department.
The free three-week workshop entitled “He Au Hou: Telling Mo‘olelo through Video Games” was held recently at Hālau ʻĪnana ma Kapaʻakea in Mōʻili‘ili. The workshop was designed to help college students share Native Hawaiian stories through video games – an entertaining and educational way to immerse players in the sights, sounds, culture and people of the pae ‘āina (island group).
“This was both a ground-breaking workshop as well as a ground-breaking collaboration between KS groups that normally aren’t able to work together on such a close level,” said KS Senior Manager of Technology Delivery Services Darrell Kim.
“From early on in the process, it was evident that this was a unique and innovative opportunity where the technology capabilities had such a direct impact on the delivery of value, in this case, a cool video game that brought to life beloved mo‘olelo ranging from the tale of Hi‘iakaikapoliopele to the legend of Kamapua‘a. It’s exciting to be a part of building our Hawaiian community capacity, and to empower these innovators to lead our haumāna in future workshops.”
Kanaeokana – the kula Hawai‘i network of ʻōlelo Hawai‘i, Hawaiian culture and ʻāina-based schools from the preschool to university level aimed at strengthening Hawaiian education –offered the culture-based video game production workshops entitled “He Au Hou,” – the new era. Kamehameha Schools is among the educational partners of the network.
The collaborative effort was driven in part by Concordia University (Canada), Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (AbTeC) and the Initiative for Indigenous Futures (IIF) in Canada. AbTeC and IIF have held four previous workshops for indigenous youth in the Montreal area in their successful “Skins: Workshops on Aboriginal Storytelling in Digital Media” series.
“We were so excited to partner with Kanaeokana and KS-IT to host the He Au Hou workshop,” said Stacy Clayton, executive strategy consultant within KS’ Strategy & Innovation hale. “Indigenous storytelling through gaming is exactly the type of programming we want to support and promote for our Native Hawaiian learners at Hālau ʻĪnana. It’s phenomenal that Native Hawaiians have an innovation space to call their own; a place where they have the resources and technology to create ingenious ways of telling our stories of the past and new exciting stories for the future.”
Kanaeokana strives to integrate world-class, culture-based education as part of a network of Native Hawaiian schools and via collaborations within communities. The effort can be scaled via projects like creating video games through storylines from mo‘olelo to improve the broader educational system serving Native Hawaiian learners within a thriving lāhui.
“What was beautiful about this project was seeing our Strategic Plan 2020 Goal 1 live and in action throughout our organization,” said Kealaiwikuamo‘o Director Dr. Kēhaunani Abad. “Everybody stepped out of their comfort ‘box,’ took a look at how innovative this project was and found a way to make it work. It’s really a different way of operating, and those involved really bent over backwards to make the plans a reality.”
By completing the workshops, the students – some of whom will also be invited to facilitate workshops and similar projects in the future – created a playable video game based on a moʻolelo they chose, which can be further developed and polished in the future. Participants learned and implemented story development, gameplay design, digital imaging, engineering, cinematics, programming and assembly skills to create the game.
To learn more about Kanaeokana, visit its website kanaeokana.net and Facebook page @Kanaeokana. Also, follow Kamehameha Schools on Facebook and Instagram (@kamehamehaschools) and Twitter (@ksnews).