In 2021 the Indigital team travelled to Tasmania (lutruwita) to deliver the Indigital Schools program in collaboration with community, and the teachers and students at Bruny Island District School.
"Aboriginal teachers of culture have the most important job in the world."
Aunty Julie Dunlop
A special delivery
In September 2020 Rory Hamilton, the 4, 5, 6 primary school teacher at Bruny Island District School responded to a national call to schools to compete in the inaugural NAIDOC Minecraft Education Challenge. To their surprise, this little island community at the bottom of Tasmania won second place in The Challenge which reached 1000 students, and 50 teachers across Australia. Their prize was the Indigital Schools program delivered in person by the Indigital team.
"Programs such as Indigital, and this experience for our kids is so important because we know as teachers what we need to teach, we know what the curriculum is, but we really have licence to bring that to life. So having programs such as this, and the opportunity for students to still explore the content of the curriculum, but in a creative way with skills and strategies that are also going to support them into the future is really exciting."
Ashley Mcpherson, Principal Bruny Island District School
How teaching digital skills has connected school and community
Indigital Schools is a collaborative program where teachers and Elders work together to teach Indigenous cultural knowledge, history and language, and digital skills to the next generation. This was the first time the Department of Education (Tasmania), and the community have come together to deliver the Indigital Schools program. Over five days the Indigital team co-facilitated the program alongside Aunty Julie Dunlop, a south east Tasmanian Woman from the Melukerdee people, proud Palawa Man, Todd Sculthorpe, Years 4,5,6 teacher Rory Hamilton, and Bruny Island District School Principal Ashley Mcpherson.
How it was delivered
Indigital Schools is an Indigenous led and designed digital skills training program where Indigital trains educators to teach digital skills through a cultural lens guided by Elders and community.
The eight step program is linked to the Australian curriculum and centred around building digital skills and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures. This is a snapshot of how the program was delivered on beautiful lu na wanni (Bruny Island).
Step 1: Cutural protocols first
Indigenous language speakers and knowledge holders lead the development of all cultural content and are protected through a non-exclusive license for agreed use by Indigital and schools. Before the team began to work with the students, Aunty Julie, Todd, Rory, Ashley and the Indigital team spent time together to connect and talk through the Indigital Cultural Protocols.
Step 2: Exploring the potential
To kick off the workshops the group talked about the different types of technology and explored the potential of augmented and mixed reality as a tool for cultural storytelling. It was the first time Aunty Julie had experienced Augmented and Mixed reality. Everyone was inspired to begin to create an immersive augmented reality experience anchored in cultural storytelling.
Step 3: Sharing story of country
Elders decide on what stories, language and cultural knowledge they would like to share with the students and teachers to develop deep understanding of the narrative they will express in an their Augmented Reality experience. Aunty Julie and Todd decided to share two important cultural stories; the Palawa Creation and Truganini’s story. Everyone sat together to listen and learn. The session was a moment of powerful truth telling that brought together all generations, as well as Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in the room.
Step 4: Interpreting cultural, knowledge, language and law
Guided by Aunty Julie and Todd students discussed in a yarning circle what character, element or object they wanted to create from the stories they had heard. The group talked about why they had chosen their selection, how it fitted in to the cultural stories, and if there was known language for it. The students then began to draw their character, object or element in two-dimensions guided by Aunty Julie and Todd.
Step 5: Creating 3D Characters, Objects and Elements
The Indigital Schools program leverages technology and software that is accessible and affordable to schools. Using Paint 3D the students took their 2D drawing and began to create their 3D character, object or element to form part of their Augmented Reality experience. Everyone got involved including Aunty Julie who described herself as ‘the least tech savvy person in the room’.
Step 6: Recording language and story
Using the Indigital Schools Audio Recorder students recorded a 90 second story they had written incorporating language that they had been taught by Aunty Julie and Todd. “I chose fire because in the story I felt like I was standing at Truganini’s lagoon looking at her sitting by the fire, preparing her food, and weaving her marineer shell necklaces” Through cultural storytelling students had been emotionally transported to the past, and had placed themselves next to Truganini.
Step 7: Coding Country with Minecraft Education Edition
Using Minecraft Education edition the students interpreted country and worked with Aunty Julie to create a special place on the island known as Truganini’s lagoon. The students discussed cultural features and refined text for signposts. They then entered into Minecraft as world builders, an opportunity for them not to just play Minecraft, but help to shape the player experiences. They became cultural game builders.
Step 8: Bringing it all together in AR
The last step is the most exciting! It was time to bring their Augmented Reality experience together. Using the Indigital App students stitch their 3D creation, Minecraft structure block and audio recording together to create an AR experience to demonstrate their learning and share with fellow students, family and community.
Looking to the future
The program not only equips students and educators with the skills for the future, but long lasting connections to people and place. At the end of the week students, Elders and educators came together to celebrate what they had achieved, reflect on their shared values and aspirations, and how they see themselves in a digital future.
A special thanks to Aunty Julie Dunlop and Todd Sculthorpe for sharing knowledge, language and story. Thank you also to the staff and students at Bruny Island District School for participating in the program. And to Adrian Emerton and Ian Tyley for capturing the experience for us to share.
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Augmented or Reality?
As the team said their farewells to the students, teachers and community, a special visitor walked across the school yard. Burrigin the echidna!
You can meet Burrigin – the Indigital Augmented Reality (AR) mascot using the Indigital App.