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Happy Indigenous Peoples Day from the FirstVoices Team. There are lots of ways to celebrate Indigenous
Peoples Day — why not browse FirstVoices and learn some celebratory words in your language? Watch
the video below to learn more about how to search for words, phrases, songs and stories across the
entire FirstVoices platform!






The FirstVoices development team has been working hard on the new release, which sees the launch of new features, as well as solutions to bugs and glitches on the site. In addition, we’ve also published new information on our blog. All of these updates have been prompted by the hard-working Language Teams and community members, whose valuable feedback, ideas and suggestions have been crucial in making FirstVoices a better platform.

If you have questions about any of the updates listed below, or have ideas for ways to improve FirstVoices, please contact us at: hello@firstvoices.com

New features


Users with existing FirstVoices accounts can now join multiple sites, and request to join Private sites

Users can now join multiple sites on FirstVoices with one account, including making a request to join private sites. Additionally, Language Administrators can easily manage membership requests, including adding new people to their language team or ignoring requests all together. Watch the videos below to learn more!

How to join multiple sites:



How to manage member requests:



FirstVoices Keyboards for Chromebook plugin, featuring keyboards for Sm̓algya̱x and Nuu-chah-nulth, is now available

Since other keyboard software doesn't work on Chromebooks, we have developed a new FirstVoices Chromebook Keyboard extension which allows for Indigenous language keyboards to be installed on Chromebook computers. As of right now there only two Indigenous language keyboards have been developed for it, Sm̓algya̱x and Nuu-chah-nulth, but if you are interested in adding your language to the Chromebook extension please contact us at hello@firstvoices.com. Watch the video below to learn more about installing the keyboard extension on Chromebooks.



The new "Save & Publish" button saves time by publishing new entries with one click

We've added a new, time-saving button on all entry forms – the "Save & Publish" button! If you are signed in as a Recorder with Approval or a Language Admin and want to publish a new entry immediately after creating it or after making an edit, you can click this button and your changes will be immediately published into a Public entry.

A view of the new Save and Publish on the word entry form



All language site editing features are now available using the 'Edit Site' button

If you are logged in as a Language Admin, you may notice that the small pencil icons are no longer available on your language site homepage and 'Learn Our Language' page. This is because all page editing can now be done on one simple page, by clicking the "Edit Site" button located on the top right hand side of your language homepage and in the same place on the 'Learn Our Language' page.


The edit site button



If you want to share a specific section of the Explore Languages page, all you need to do is add a # in front of the language group name at the end of the Explore Languages page URL. Try this one out as an example!


A screenshot of the Explore Languages page



Bug fixes


Word Scramble games and Word Search games are now displaying properly

A bug affecting two of the games was causing words and images not to load properly. Now, as long as there is enough content to generate the game, you can play Word Scramble and Word Search with no loading issues! We are also continuing to work to improve these games for all alphabets on the site.

An example image of the Word Scramble page An example image of the Word Search game



Alphabet characters are no longer giving a "404 - Document not Found" error

Clicking on individual alphabet characters will result in the regular character page instead of a 404 error.

The SENCOTEN letter for C


Songs and Stories: Pages can now be moved up and down, pages can be deleted, and audio clips will display in the correct order

Some core changes were made to the Songs and Stories sections, which now allow for pages to be easily reordered as well as deleted. Alongside these updates, a bug was fixed and now audio clips will display in the correct order that they are saved. Watch the video below for more details.



Chronological reports will sort by date regardless of how many entries are displayed on the page or which page is being viewed

Reports that are ordered by date (newest to oldest) were previously switching to alphabetical order when viewing more than 10 words, or moving past the first page. Now, those reports will sort chronologically no matter how you are viewing them.

An example of the Words Recently Created report



Changes are not discarded when editing a word or phrase and clicking the cancel button

Previously, the "cancel" button on words and phrases would cause all changes to immediately disappear. Now, it halts the save process, but does not delete any new changes or additions until you leave the page.

A screenshot of the 'discard changes' notification



All apps have been updated to resolve audio issues

We received reports of audio issues for multiple apps, on iPhone/iPad and Android. We have updated all FirstVoices apps in order to pull new content and fix any audio loading issues.

App icon images


New documentation




  • While there has been no new documentation added to our Knowledge Base, we re-organized the pages to be easier to navigate and find content. Take a look!

An image of the list of pages on the Knowledge Base



Contact us

Send us your questions, concerns, ideas, bugs and feedback at hello@firstvoices.com!





The FirstVoices development team has been working hard on the new release, which sees the launch of new features, as well as solutions to bugs and glitches on the site. In addition, we’ve also published new information on our blog. All of these updates have been prompted by the hard-working Language Teams and community members, whose valuable feedback, ideas and suggestions have been crucial in making FirstVoices a better platform.

If you have questions about any of the updates listed below, or have ideas for ways to improve FirstVoices, please contact us at: hello@firstvoices.com

New features


Searching for words and phrases will be more accurate, and display more relevant results

In response to testing and community feedback, we've made changes to our search algorithm. Searching for words and phrases will now show results which are more accurate and relevant. Give it a try!




Videos now display instantly on the Songs and Stories sections

If you upload a video directly into the Songs or Stories section, and you don't add any pages to the book, it will now display directly on the main Songs and Stories page. It will also be playable without having to click into the book.




Bug fixes


Viewing entries using Reports no longer displays a blank page

A bug affecting the Reports section caused entries to appear blank after clicking on them. Now you can view your Reports and click to see the entries without any page loading errors.

Example of a Reports section


The cover of a song or story can now host multiple images and videos

A bug affecting the Songs and Stories sections caused formatting to break on songs and stories if multiple images or videos were added to the cover. Songs and stories can once again have multiple pieces of media on a cover page without any issues.



Phrases now display properly on the Kids Portal

If child-friendly phrases hadn't been added to a phrasebook, they did not display on the Kids Portal phrases section. There is now a handy link to view all child-appropriate phrases, even if they haven't been added to any phrasebooks.



New documentation






Contact us

Send us your questions, concerns, ideas, bugs and feedback at hello@firstvoices.com!





The FirstVoices development team has been working hard on the new release, which sees the launch of new features, as well as solutions to bugs and glitches on the site. In addition, we’ve also published new information on our blog. All of these updates have been prompted by the hard-working Language Teams and community members, whose valuable feedback, ideas and suggestions have been crucial in making FirstVoices a better platform.

If you have questions about any of the updates listed below, or have ideas for ways to improve FirstVoices, please contact us at: hello@firstvoices.com

New features


GIFs can now be added to entries

If you've ever wanted to add a GIF to an entry, now you can! Just like you would upload any other image to a word, phrase, song or story, moving images in a GIF format will now upload and render properly. GIFs that had been previously added to entries will now load.



The Alphabet section is now bigger and easier to read

In order to make the Alphabet section more accessible and easy to use (especially on touch screen devices), we've made the buttons bigger and the play icons easier to discern from the characters.



Videos now display first on Songs and Stories

Since some communities are now using the Songs and Stories features to showcase videos, we have changed the order of media displayed so that if a video is uploaded to a song or story cover page it is displayed before the photo.


Coming soon: Immersion Mode!

We are excited to give everyone a sneak peek of our newest upcoming feature, Immersion Mode. Immersion Mode allows language teams to translate parts of their FirstVoices language sites into their Indigenous language so that users can immerse themselves. We will be working with language teams to release this feature in the coming weeks.



The FirstVoices Sm'algya̱x app is now available on iPhone, iPad and Android devices

We're excited to announce that the Sm'algya̱x FirstVoices app is now available on both the App Store for iPhone and iPad and the Google Play store for Android devices. The app was created using the data from the Sm'algya̱x FirstVoices site.




Bug fixes


Alphabet sounds no longer play at the same time

Previously, clicking on an alphabet sound while another alphabet sound was playing would cause them both to play at the same time. Now, pressing one alphabet button will cause the other sound to stop playing.



Media Browser filter/search now returning results properly

The Media Browser was affected by a bug that caused results to not show up as expected, or at all! Now, all results will return properly when searching for content in your Media Browser.




If you're logged in and click on a private language site, it will now email the FirstVoices development team to let us know you would like to join

Now that private language sites are visible on the Explore Languages page, you may see a site relevant to your language community that you didn't know was there before. Previously, clicking on one of these private "locked" sites would take you to the create an account page, whereas now it will email us to let us know you're interested in joining that site.



Contact us

Send us your questions, concerns, ideas, bugs and feedback at hello@firstvoices.com!




Whether you celebrate the beginning of a new year on January 1st, February 12th with Lunar New Year, February 29th with Hoobiiyee, or during another time of the year, you may be wondering about different options for expressing your beginning of year cheer! Here are some FirstVoices language sites that have entries about their new year's greetings. If you're a language administrator who hasn't added any entries about the new year yet, please feel free to add the content to your language site and then email us at hello@firstvoices.com so that we can add your words or phrases to this list.

cíyci tək swúxʷt

new year

nłeʔkepmxcin

Hoobiiyee

Welcome, new year

Gitsenimx̱

Drin Cho zhìt shò ä̀hłąy.

Happy New Year. (May you all be happy during New Years)

Hän

Drin cho zhìt shò ìnląy.

Happy New Year (one person).

Hän

Drin cho zhìt shò ä̀hłąy.

Happy New Year (group).

Hän

bonani

happy New Years

Tache-Stuart Lake

Ó:ia' kenh nón:wa nahó:ten ensehsate'nién:ten ahsátswa'te?

Will you try a new activity this year?

Kanien'kéha (Mohawk) [Eng]

Ohserá:se!

Happy New Year!

Kanien'kéha (Mohawk) [Eng]
Drin Choo

New Years

Vuntut Gwich'in
Amaa ḵ'oom̓aḵ'askw n̓uum̓ ahl Sii K'uuhl.

Best wishes (from us) for the New Year.

Nisga'a
Amaa ḵ'oom̓aḵ'askw n̓iiy̓ loon ahl sii k'uuhl.

Best wishes for the New Year.

Nisga'a

Amaa Sii K'uuhl (as n̓iin)!

Happy New Year (to you).

Nisga'a
Sii K'uuhl

New Year

Nisga'a
Onhwa’ ya’ndënionhchase’ iyenh.

Now, it’s a new year.

Huron-Wendat [Eng]
Yin lhënedïndzit

New Years Day

Witsuwit’en
Nkwlltiýanacu

Happy New Year

Splatsin (Eastern dialect)
Nkwlltiyanacu

New Year

Splatsin (Eastern dialect)
Ha'li'awa̱n

Christmas eve or New Year’s eve

Sm'algya̱x



How do I search for words, phrases songs or stories like this?




If you're wondering how to find entries on FirstVoices, it's as easy as using the new and improved search bar in the top right-hand corner of the website. Test it out by searching for a word or phrase you'd like to learn! 

If you are on the FirstVoices homepage, you can use the search bar to search for words, phrases, songs and stories across all language sites.



If you are on a specific FirstVoices language site, for example Nisga'a, you can use the search bar to search for words, phrases, songs and stories in that specific language.


Can't find the word or phrase that you're looking for?




If you're looking for a specific word or phrase in a language, and your FirstVoices language site doesn't have it available, please contact the language administrator listed on the Learn Our Language page of your FirstVoices site to let them know.

If your search results aren't displaying an entry that exists on your language site, it sounds like you've found a bug! Please contact hello@firstvoices.com to let us know!

We are working on implementing a new feature that allows you to send new entry requests directly to a language administrator, or report an error to us by clicking a button on the search results page. Would you like to be added to our beta test group and get a sneak peek of this feature before it comes out? Please email hello@firstvoices.com to join!

If you have questions about any of the updates listed below, or have ideas for ways to improve FirstVoices, please contact us at: hello@firstvoices.com


New features


Updated top level search page

The search bar on the top right-hand side of FirstVoices has been updated to provide more accurate search results, filter options, and a easier to read design.



Adding the ability to embed video to the alphabet character pages

You can now add videos to your alphabet characters, alongside audio and related words.



Custom colour options are now available for text boxes

In any area where custom formatting is available, you can now change the colour of your text. Some examples of these areas include on your homepage, in the General Notes field on words and phrases, and in various fields within songs and stories.



Updated look-and-feel for language site heading and breadcrumb navigation

The design of the header across language sites have been updated to provide a cleaner design, and the breadcrumb navigation now displays the specific name of the word, phrase, song or story that you are viewing.

New design:

Previous design:



Private language sites are now visible on Explore Languages

Previously, private languages sites were completely inaccessible to the public. Now they display with special formatting on the Explore Languages page, so that community members will know that the site is available for Members Only sign-up.



New documentation






Test our new designs and enter to win a $50 gift card



The FirstVoices development team is currently working on a new design for FirstVoices language sites, and we need as much community feedback as possible. We have created a survey for FirstVoices users and we have five $50 gift cards to give away to people who complete the survey. The link is: https://cutt.ly/CommunitySurvey Please feel free to share this link with your friends and community members, email it out, post it on language Facebook groups, share it via social media, etc.

If you are a language team member who is interested in supplying feedback, we have a specific survey for language teams and we are providing a guaranteed $35 honorarium to any language team member who fills out the language team survey and meets with us over video call to discuss it. If you are interested in participating in this, please email bridget@fpcc.ca to receive the language team survey link and set up a meeting time.


Contact us

Send us your questions, concerns, ideas, bugs and feedback at hello@firstvoices.com!


The FirstVoices development team has been working hard on the new release, which sees the launch of new features, as well as solutions to bugs and glitches on the site. In addition, we’ve also published new information on our blog. All of these updates have been prompted by the hard-working Language Teams and community members, whose valuable feedback, ideas and suggestions have been crucial in making FirstVoices a better platform.

If you have questions about any of the updates listed below, or have ideas for ways to improve FirstVoices, please contact us at: hello@firstvoices.com


New features


The "related words" field allows words to be linked together

If you have words that you want to link together on their entry page, you can now do so using the related words field. Some examples of when you might use this are:

  1. If you have words that fit within the same, niche theme (i.e. "dog" and "puppy")
  2. If you have words that are homonyms, meaning that they have the same spelling and pronunciation but a different definition (i.e. "bark – the rough exterior of a tree" and "bark – the sound a dog makes")

How you use the related words field is up to you and your language team. And don't forget, the related phrases field is also available. The video below provides more information, as well as details on how to use the field.



The "general notes" field is a customizable field on all words and phrases entries

If you have information about a word or phrase entry that doesn't quite fit into another field on FirstVoices, there is now a "general notes" field. This field can host any kind of information you would like, and the text can be formatted. It also has the ability to embed videos from websites like Youtube and Vimeo. The video below provides more information, as well as details on how to use the field.




The "About Our Language" section no longer has a word limit

While previous versions of the About Our Language section had a word limit, you can now write as much as you would like in this section!




"Command" had been added as a part of speech

If your language uses "command" as a part of speech, that option now exists for word and phrase entries.



Bug fixes


Relevant reports now sort chronologically

The recently modified and recently created words/phrases/song/stories reports now sort chronologically instead of alphabetically. This means that the most recent entries that you've created and modified will be listed at the top of these reports.




Songs and Stories are no longer displaying HTML tags

You may have noticed that some songs and stories started to display code called HTML, such as <b> or <br>. These tags are no longer displaying, and songs and stories are naturally formatted without them.




Video playback issues have been resolved

Across FirstVoices, some older videos were displaying but would not play when clicked. This bug has been fixed, and all videos attached to words, phrases, songs and stories now play properly! 


Using / in certain media fields no longer results in an error

Previously, using a slash ( / ) when naming an audio file, image or video on FirstVoices would result in an error message. That has since been resolved and slashes are now allowed in all fields.

 


Removing text from a field does not prevent saving the entry

A former bug meant that if you had a field filled out, such as "pronunciation", and then you removed the text from that field entirely, it would not allow you to save the entry unless you re-added something back into the field. Now if you delete text from a field, you can save the entry without any issues.



New documentation




Looking for support, or to learn something new? Here is the new documentation that has been added to our Blog & Knowledge Base:



Contact us

Send us your questions, concerns, ideas, bugs and feedback at hello@firstvoices.com!





Connection right now is more important than ever, and the FirstVoices development team wants to connect with you! Drop in to our virtual "open house" sessions to say hello to some members of the FirstVoices team, ask any questions you may have, and chat about new features. These one hour long video sessions are open to FirstVoices language teams and users alike. 

Friday, November 13: 11 AM - 12 PM

Click here to join the call (video is not required)

Topics of discussion:

  • We've recently launched a few new features, like the Tasks & Dashboard, video embedding, general notes, and more. We would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.
  • We have some more features that are being worked on right now, and we would love your feedback on the designs!
  • What other new features would you like to see on FirstVoices?
  • General Q&A and technical support as needed



The FirstVoices development team has been working hard on the new release, which sees the launch of new features, as well as solutions to bugs and glitches on the site. In addition, we’ve also published new information on our blog. All of these updates have been prompted by the hard-working Language Teams and community members, whose valuable feedback, ideas and suggestions have been crucial in making FirstVoices a better platform.

If you have questions about any of the updates listed below, or have ideas for ways to improve FirstVoices, please contact us at: hello@firstvoices.com

New features


The new Tasks & Dashboard system is live

The Tasks and Dashboard system on FirstVoices makes it easy to work together on a language team to edit, review and publish entries collaboratively.

New "Request Review" and visibility buttons

Previously, requesting that a language admin review and approve a word required recorders to use a toggle system to enable, disable, publish or unpublish words. Now, the process has been simplified!

  • As a Recorder, click the "Request Review" button and select which level of visibility you think the word should have: Team, Members or Public.
  • Additionally, you can also add a comment if needed. For example, “This is a new word, please check that I spelt it correctly.”
  • That request will be sent to the Language Administrator's Dashboard, for them to accept, ignore or request further changes.
  • As a Language Administrator or Recorder with Approvalclick on the drop-down next to "Who can see this?" and select which level of visibility you would like the word to have: Team, Members or Everyone.
  • If you decide to make a change to an entry after submitting a request for review, you will need to resubmit a request for review. When there is a review request pending, you cannot submit another request without first clearing the existing request.

For more detailed information, see the video below:

New Dashboard with detail view for Tasks

As a Language Administrator, you now have access to the new "My Tasks" page, now known as the Dashboard, which has a massive increase in functionality including:

  • Both a widget view that shows general information about your tasks, and a detail view that shows specific details of your tasks with buttons to approve, ignore or request further changes
  • The ability to view entry details, such as definition, literal translation, audio, etc. without leaving the page
  • The ability to view more information about who made the request
  • The ability to select what level of visibility the entry will have, and approve, ignore or request changes
  • The request will clear from the list once approved or rejected
  • Additionally, there are easy access links to key admin pages including: User requests, reports, categories, phrase books and media browser

For more detailed information, see the video below:



The Songs and Stories layouts have been updated

Updates have been made to the way Songs and Stories are displayed on FirstVoices. Major changes include:

  • Pages are all listed on one page once the song or story is opened, so multiple pages don't need to load in order to view the whole song or story
  • The layout changes depending on whether you include a translation and/or a photo, in order to maximize page space
  • Page numbers are listed at the top, in case you want to jump to a specific page in the song or story

For more detailed information, see the video below:



BC Sans is now on FirstVoices

If you've noticed that special characters render better than ever, it's because the BC Sans font has been added onto FirstVoices. Whereas Aboriginal Sans was previously the primary font used, we've updated it so that special characters, diacritics, and accents will look cleaner and more accurate across all archives.



New apps and keyboard updates

We're excited to announce that there are three new FirstVoices apps available on both the App Store and the Google Play store:


As for keyboards, the following updates have been made:

  • Haisla: There is a brand new Haisla keyboard that includes updated orthographical changes
  • Kᵂak̓ᵂala: The mobile Kᵂak̓ᵂala keyboard now showcases the proper special characters and diacritics
  • The FirstVoices keyboard app is now up to date and all keyboards will function on both iPhone/iPad and Android



Bug fixes


Admin Menu showing up properly for Language Administrators

After resolving a few issues, the Admin Menu where Language Administrators can access reports, the media browser, phrase books and categories is now accessible again.



Browsing for media no longer returns a blank turquoise screen

Clicking the filter button when browsing for audio or images used to display a turquoise screen. This screen no longer appears, and the media browsers work properly again!



Phrases and words sections now display properly on small screen mobile devices

If you are looking at words or phrases on your cell phone, you may have noticed that sometimes the FirstVoices website wouldn't display correctly. Now, the words and phrases sections will work on any device you want – phone, tablet or computer!


Clearing text in a field will now let you save changes to an entry

An error was occurring when someone filled in a field while editing an entry (for example, the pronunciation field), saved the entry, and then cleared that field and tried to save the entry again. That is now resolved, and you can delete text in fields and save without an issue.



New documentation




Looking for support, or to learn something new? Here is the new documentation that has been added to our Blog & Knowledge Base:



Contact us

Send us your questions, concerns, ideas, bugs and feedback at hello@firstvoices.com!

Connection right now is more important than ever, and the FirstVoices development team wants to connect with you! Drop in to our virtual "open house" sessions to say hello to some members of the FirstVoices team, ask any questions you may have, and chat about the theme for that open house. These one hour long video sessions are open to FirstVoices language teams and users alike. 

Open House: New Features Check-in

Thursday, July 16: 3 PM - 4 PM

Click here to join the call (video is not required)

Topics of discussion:

  • We've recently launched a few new features, like customizable categories and embedding Youtube videos! How are you liking them? How could they be improved?
  • We have some more features that are being worked on right now, and we would love your feedback!
  • What other new features would you like to see on FirstVoices?
  • General Q&A period and technical support

The FirstVoices development team has been working hard on the new release, which sees the launch of new features, as well as solutions to bugs and glitches on the site. In addition, we’ve also published new information on our blog. All of these updates have been prompted by the hard-working Language Teams and community members, whose valuable feedback, ideas and suggestions have been crucial in making FirstVoices a better platform.

If you have questions about any of the updates listed below, or have ideas for ways to improve FirstVoices, please contact us at: hello@firstvoices.com


New features


Customizable categories

Please note: This feature is currently being rolled out across archives. If you don’t see this feature enabled on your archive by July 15, 2020, please contact hello@firstvoices.com.

Language Administrators can now add custom categories to their FirstVoices sites!

  • You can now edit, add and delete categories on your FirstVoices site. Learn more here: https://wiki.firstvoices.com/display/FIR1/Adding+and+editing+categories
  • This includes renaming categories in your own language so that your learners have a more immersive experience!
  • Only Language Administrators can add and edit categories. Before a recorder (or recorder with approval) can add a custom category to a word entry, it must first be created by the language administrator
  • Old categories that aren’t attached to any word entries will no longer display in the side menu (for example, if the Marsupials category is empty, that category will no longer show up as an option)

  • Batch uploads support new categories that you create/edit on FirstVoices



YouTube videos can be embedded into text areas

  • You can now embed Youtube videos into area where custom text is allowed
  • For example, on your archive’s homepage, language page, and within songs and stories
  • Click on the Edit button, and then find the ’film’ icon
  • Click on the film icon and paste in a link to a Youtube video in order to embed it into that text area



’Confusable characters’ now help ensure consistency across an archive

In some archives, the FirstVoices platform was dealing with the issue of ’confusable characters’. These are characters that look very similar, but are actually completely different in the eyes of a computer. When confusable characters exist in an archive, features like alphabetization and search may not work as well as they should.

The confusable characters feature allows the FirstVoices development team to:

  • Add potential ’confusable characters’ into the backend of an alphabet, so that the FirstVoices platform can detect when they show up in your entries
  • Scan existing entries for the confusables characters and automatically change them to the correct alphabet character
  • Prevent future entries from accidentally including confusable characters, by detecting them upon the creation of a new entry and automatically changing them to the correct alphabet character without any additional effort required on the Language Team’s end
  • This will improve alphabetization and search functionality within FirstVoices archives as well as FirstVoices apps



Bug fixes


Kids Portal is back up and running

After resolving a few issues, the FirstVoices Kids Portal is now pulling the right content, and the search function is now displaying the appropriate kids search layout instead of the standard FirstVoices search bar. 



FirstVoices Keyboards app is displaying special characters and long-press characters properly

A recent iOS update for iPhones and iPad caused certain special characters as well as long-press characters which require users to ’press and hold’ to disappear from the FirstVoices Keyboards app. That is now resolved, and updating or re-downloading the app on your Apple device will fix this issue.



Clicking on a character on the alphabet grid now displays results more accurately

  • Previously, clicking on a character using the Browse Alphabetically grid would return partially incorrect results
  • For example, clicking on the character ’e’ would return words that started with both ’e’ and ’ee’
  • The algorithm has now been recalculated to ensure a greater level of accuracy across different alphabets











New documentation




Looking for support, or to learn something new? Here is the new documentation that has been added to our Blog & Knowledge Base:



Contact us

Send us your questions, concerns, ideas, bugs and feedback at hello@firstvoices.com!

The FirstVoices development team has been working hard on the new release, which sees the launch of new features, as well as solutions to bugs and glitches on the site. In addition, we’ve also published new information on our blog. All of these updates have been prompted by the hard-working Language Teams and community members, whose valuable feedback, ideas and suggestions have been crucial in making FirstVoices a better platform.

If you have questions about any of the updates listed below, or have ideas for ways to improve FirstVoices, please contact us at: support@fpcc.ca




New features


Physical distancing response banner and blog posts

In response to the ongoing physical distancing restrictions, the development team wants to communicate more with the communities we work with. To do this, we've added a small banner on our home page with a link to our development blog. Alongside these development update posts, we've been posting articles about working while physical distancing, activities to do at home with FirstVoices, links to Virtual Open House sessions, and more. More information about these posts can be found in the New Documentation section at the bottom of this page.



Unicode display on FirstVoices

In the alphabet section of each archive, we now display the specific Unicode strings attached to each letter in an archive's alphabet. If you want to learn more about Unicode, click here.

When developing tools for a language, like a keyboard or an app, it is important that the same exact Unicode characters for that language are used across the different platforms. If different Unicode characters are used in different places, features like search and alphabetization will not function as well as they should. Displaying these Unicode characters on FirstVoices will allow for additional clarity and transparency about which specific characters are used in each alphabet.

To find the Unicode character display, go to a FirstVoices language site and click on the Alphabet tab:



Then click on a character, and select "View Words and Phrases that start with" that character.



On this screen, you'll see the "Unicode String Literal". That string (in the example below, \u0113) is what the computer reads when it displays the character ē.



The 'Explore Languages' page now groups sites by language

  • Users now have the ability to toggle back and forth between displaying archives in alphabetical order, or grouping them by their language.
  • All 34 languages in B.C. are listed in the Explore Languages page, with archives listed under them.

  • If a language doesn’t have any associated archives, it is still listed but it has the message: “No language archives available at this time.”

  • Archives from outside of B.C. are listed at the end of the list, under “Other FirstVoices Archives”

  • This view also works well and is responsive on desktop, mobile and iPads.




Bug fixes


The filter menu has been removed from the top navigation bar to improve search

The top navigation bar on FirstVoices previously had issues when trying to filter searches. The defunct filter menu has been removed, and this update now allows the top navigation bar to search more accurately across the FirstVoices website as a whole.

Do you use search FirstVoices using the top navigation bar? Let us know how well this search area works for you, and how we could improve it by emailing support@fpcc.ca



New documentation


Looking for support, or to learn something new? Here is the new documentation that has been added to our Blog & Knowledge Base:



Contact us

Send us your questions, concerns, ideas, bugs and feedback at support@fpcc.ca!


As everyone is doing their part to flatten the curve of COVID-19 and stay healthy, the FirstVoices team wants to support language teams who are continuing to work from home on their FirstVoices projects.



Key information

The health and safety of community members is of the utmost importance to us. To ensure your continued safety, we want to let you know that:

  • You are NOT expected to meet all of your deliverables set out in your project plan.
  • You have the ability to rewrite work plans and budgets and work with Kyra to make amendments.
  • Underspent funds will NOT affect your ability to get funding next year.
  • You can reallocate budget funds previously allocated to other things towards purchasing additional equipment.
  • Above all else, we want you to take whatever precautions necessary to stay safe and keep those around you safe as well.

File sharing during physical distancing

It is likely that you will need to share files using online platforms, since you will no longer be able to have in-person contact with your team members. The most important thing to note is that not all online file sharing services are equal, and it is important to consider both the cost and the data security levels of different services.

  • We recommend using your work email to send zipped folders with files back and forth. This is the safest and cheapest way to share files.
  • If you are sending files that are too large for email, and you have a licensed Microsoft Office Suite account, you can use Microsoft OneDrive. Click here for a guide on how to set up and use Microsoft OneDrive.
  • If these options don't work for you, there are other file sharing services available, both free and subscription-based. However, please take note that many of these services will use servers located in the United States. This means that your data will not be protected under the same Canadian data sovereignty and privacy laws. Click here for more information on Canadian vs American data privacy laws.

Sharing equipment is not recommended

We do not recommend sharing equipment with others outside your home. Not sharing equipment is the best way to protect you and those around you. If your team needs additional pieces of equipment to ensure you are not sharing equipment, you can reallocate budget funds to purchase what is necessary. Please follow up with us if you have questions or concerns.

Creative ways to continue working

While work involving multiple people in a shared space must be paused during this time, there are still ways to work together from a distance. The following are types of work that can still be done, and creative ways to continue working on your FirstVoices project.

  • Work with audio that has already been recorded to edit, segment and prepare entries for upload.
    • The FirstVoices development team is still available to process new batch uploads.
  • Add audio, images, literal translations, cultural notes, acknowledgements and categories to any existing FirstVoices entries that don't already have this information.
  • Go through the content on your archive and make a list of future words or phrases you feel could be added when recording. Consult the FirstVoices Swadesh listEveryday Phrases list and Story and Conversation Topics list for ideas.

We are here to help. Please email us at hello@firstvoices.com to discuss ways to adjust your project during COVID-19, or to share your progress. We would love to hear from you!

Connection right now is more important than ever, and the FirstVoices development team wants to connect with you! Drop in to our virtual "open house" sessions to say hello to some members of the FirstVoices team, ask any questions you may have, and chat about the theme for that open house. These one hour long video sessions are open to FirstVoices language teams and users alike. 

Open House #1: Working and learning during physical distancing

Thursday, April 30: 11 AM - 12 PM

Click here to join the call (video is not required)

Topics of discussion:

  • How has your work been changed or impacted during physical distancing? How can we help make your work easier?
  • How has your language learning been changed or impacted during physical distancing? What can we do to support your learning journey during this time?
  • What tips and tricks for working and learning would you like to share with us / other language teams and learners that you've been using during this time?
  • General Q&A period and technical support

Open House #2: FirstVoices in five years

Thursday, May 14: 1:30 - 2:30 PM

Click here to join the call (video is not required)

Topics of discussion:

  • Where do you see FirstVoices in five years? How do you see your community using FirstVoices now, versus in the future?
  • What additions or features would you like to see added to FirstVoices?
  • How could FirstVoices adapt to best help you and your language community?
  • General Q&A period and technical support


We plan on hosting more of these open houses in the coming months. If you have an idea for an open house theme, please email hello@firstvoices.com and let us know!

The FirstVoices team wants to support language learners with fun and creative ways to practice your languages at home, so we have come up with a list of eight family-friendly games and activities for at-home learning using your community's FirstVoices website. If you enjoy any of the activities below, or you have ideas for other innovative ways to use FirstVoices, please feel free to share your thoughts with hello@firstvoices.com. Connection and community is important, now more than ever, and we would love to hear from you.



Language Labelling

Instructions:

  1. Find the Human Things/Activities on your FirstVoices website and using the words available either print flashcards or write words that relate to items around your house onto sheets of paper/sticky notes
  2. Stick the pieces of paper to the objects so that they act as labels
  3. As you walk around your house throughout the day, practice saying the words out loud
  4. Challenge yourself, family members and roommates to remember what words are, without looking at the labels




Scavenger Hunt

Instructions:

  1. Print out the Scavenger Hunt guide or write the questions on a piece of paper
  2. Explore your community's FirstVoices website or a FirstVoices website for a related language to find the answers

Click to download the Scavenger Hunt questions to print.



Charades

Instructions:

  1. Pick a category on your FirstVoices website. For example: Animals
  2. Write down words in that category on pieces of paper and put the pieces of paper in a hat
  3. Take turns picking pieces of paper from the hat and acting out the words, with the other person guessing what word is being acted out




Shadow Puppets

Instructions:

  1. Find the Animals category on your FirstVoices website, and print or write out the words for different animals
  2. Then, in a dark room, shine a flashlight or a lamp against a bare wall
  3. Make shadow puppets with your hands of the different animals you have the words for
  4. If you have two or more people playing, take turns guessing which animal the person is making with their shadow puppet


Here is an instructional video on how to make shadow puppets to get you started. But feel free to get creative!




Superstar Chef

Instructions:

  1. Find the Food category on your FirstVoices website and using the words available, make a pretend grocery list.
  2. You can use the following list as a guide:
    1. Find a vegetable or fruit
    2. Find a type of meat or fish
    3. Find something salty
    4. Find something sweet
    5. Find something to drink
    6. Find a herb, spice, condiment or garnish
  3. Now that you have all of your ingredients, make a menu for your make-believe dinner. It can be as silly, delicious or gross as you want!

Click to download the Superstar Chef menu to print.



Go Fish

Instructions:

  1. Print out the Go Fish help sheets or draw them on a sheet of paper
  2. Fill out the white boxes under each card with that card's number in your language
    1. For Ace, you can write your word for "one", or pick a fun word instead
    2. For Jack, Queen and King, you can pick fun words instead
  3. Play Go Fish, using the help sheets as a reminder of how to say each number in your language
  4. Bonus points if you rename the game in your own language (You can pick the name of a fish in your language!)

Click here for instructions on how to play Go Fish

Click to download the Go Fish help sheets to print.



I Spy...

Instructions:

  1. Find the Colours category on your FirstVoices website
  2. Using the words available, take turns finding things around you that are different colours saying "I spy with my little eye, something that is _____", inserting the colour in your language at the end
  3. Take turns guessing what the other person has spied




Family Connections

Instructions:

  1. Find the Human Relations category on your FirstVoices website and using the words available, make a family tree or a family collage
  2. You can draw pictures of your family members or print photos, and arrange them however you want to show how different people are related
  3. Underneath each picture, find the word in your language that relates to that person (brother, mother, grandmother, etc.) and write it underneath



Other ways to use FirstVoices at home