According to the TRAILS website and private emails from Jim Swifteagle Crews, TRAILS is a platform for multimedia language learning programs. Packages include on-site customization within the continental US; additional charges apply for Hawai’i and locations outside the US.
Running on Windows XP or higher, TRAILS provides a way to incorporate images (such as photos), video (such as tribal dances) and sound files (recordings) to enhance the learning experience for the student. A field (separate line) is also available for phonetics, so you can simplify spelling to assist learnings, such as showing the pronunciation of “gnome” is “nohm.”
According to “Shinnecocks Learning an Old Language” on the Sag Harbor Express website, the Shinnecock Indian Nation purchased a TRAILS package which was installed in August 2009. The Shinnecock Indian Nation website lists this as part of a program to create a Shinnecock Language and Culture School and achieve fluent speakers. Shinnecock is a dialect of Mohegan-Montauk-Narragansett (mof), whose last native speaker passed away in 1925.
Page 4a of the TRAILS website shows a sample page of Shinnecock, with the Shinnecock word for “fox” along with a photograph and phonetics to aid pronunciation.
The packages begin at USD 18,000, which includes a computer system, printer and projector plus on-site setup and localization to meet the language needs of the purchasing community. All intellectual property rights remain with the community. Special fonts are not a problem.
- Classroom-ready – The packages are installed on-site with a projector so they can be put to use immediately
- Annotated video capability – One example is a video of a ceremony with the spoken words written next to the video with an English translation
- Data import – TRAILS can handle large quantities of data, and importing vocabulary lists from Excel, for example, is easy to do
Other packages are also available that include installation on multiple computers, laptops, and even flash drives.
TRAILS can also be found on Facebook.