Launch of Australia’s very first Indigenous digital skills training program  

[by Clarissa Carradine]

Image: supplied

In a first for Australia, an Indigenous designed digital skills training program was launched to teach students how to bring Indigenous culture, language and history to life through cutting-edge technology like augmented reality, animation and coding. This marks another step towards closing the digital divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Australia.

The Indigital Schools 10-week program launched for the first time in Australia on recently at Governor Stirling Senior High School in Perth, WA.

40 students at the school, across Years 7 to 11, took part in the program – 20 students from Follow The Dream (an academic and leadership program for Aboriginal students run by the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation and Department of Education) and 20 students from the school’s specialist ‘Artsmedia’ program.

Students met with the three Elders who have played a pivotal role in establishing the Indigital program in the area. In this and the following 2 sessions, the Elders shared stories relevant to the Midland area and Governor Stirling site. Over the remaining 7 sessions, and with the support of specially trained teachers, students used a suite of apps and augmented reality software – including Paint 3D, Minecraft and Blender – to create their own 3D stories and dreaming characters.

The program culminated with special events both at the school and in locations in the midland community to showcase the students’ final virtual reality designs.

This innovative and groundbreaking program not only ignited students’ passion for technology and science, but will also provide them with a deeper understanding of Aboriginal heritage and greater connections with Elders in their community. By building their digital proficiency, creative thinking and team-work skills, students will be better prepared to excel in their chosen career pathways and equipped to seize opportunities in the digital economy.

This inaugural program was established at the Governor Stirling Senior High School thanks to funding and in-kind support from the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation and Worley.

Mikaela Jade, Founder and CEO of Indigital, comments: “I am absolutely thrilled to see this wonderful community embrace augmented reality storytelling. My father was born in Western Australia and it is so fitting for me personally and professionally to see this program start on Whadjuk Country.”  

Ewen Lawrie, Program Coordinator of Governor Stirling Follow The Dream, says: “This program is a fantastic opportunity for students to develop a greater understanding of the local Aboriginal culture and history. Not only will they gain significant technology skills and grow their digital literacy, but they will be able to use cutting-edge technology to preserve these stories and share them with the broader community. I would like to give special thanks to Indigital, the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation and Worley for enabling this program to take place at our school and for our students.”

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