It is widely recognised that Indigenous peoples across the globe are responsible for the development of many technologies or, as Birrigubba Woman and STEAM Program Producer at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences Celeste Carnegie, says: “We are the original innovators.”.
Today, School Stream is going to dig deeper and look at a couple of the ways indigenous schools and communities are using technology to connect with culture. Thanks to everyone who shared their insights. Prepare to be inspired!
Indigenous Digital Excellence (IDX) – Building a digital roadmap
“What happens when digital technology is embraced by the world’s oldest living culture? We believe the answer is Indigenous Digital Excellence. Australia’s First Peoples are world leaders in embedding our wisdom and knowledge into digital technology to improve the wellbeing of all humanity.”.
IDX are also the facilitators of the FLINT program, which takes digital technology to remote communities and provides funding and skills in robotics, 3D printing, drones (to capture imagery of country), coding and developing apps to preserve language and culture for future generations. You can check out the IDX Facebook page to see some great drone imagery that was captured during a Digital Making workshop in the same community. Here is the Program Coordinator, Grant Cameron:
“We have been to 18 sites and have a strong national reach. We now engage local Elders to take part and use the technology as a way to bring the young and old together. Elders share knowledge and the young ones learn about tech and share with the Elders; a nice two-way learning experience.
I believe the reason why our program is so successful in most communities is the fact that we are not teaching in a mainstream educational way. We generally move all the tables aside and sit in a yarning circle and teach that way. There is no shame or silly questions and we teach in a very culturally appropriate way. We are not teachers but I like to think we are knowledge sharers.
We like to connect culture to the workshops that we run. For example, with the drones. We are using them to map and monitor country and run caring for country programs. I have found this is a great way to train up Indigenous rangers and engage kids and youth who may not be engaged in mainstream education for whatever reason. Our mob learns way quicker when it is hands on and we are on country.”
Barayamal – closing the digital gap
Driven by a belief that “First Nations entrepreneurship is the high growth and impact solution that will help close the disparity and opportunity gap between First Nations and non-First Nations Australians”, Dean Foley, a Kamilaroi man from Gunnedah, NSW, founded Barayamal, a not-for-profit aiming to:
“Inspire and support First Nations youth and budding entrepreneurs to achieve their dreams through entrepreneurship and technology so they can break the poverty cycle and create a better Australia for all who live in it.”
Through facilitating programs, events and opportunities across e-mentoring, podcasting, coding and more, Baraymal aims to close the ‘digital gap’ by providing a culturally appropriate and professionally supported learning space. You can see more about Barayamal’s other initiatives – including their Give Backathon – on their website, Twitter, and Facebook.
There are so many Indigenous people using technology in so many different contexts it was hard to know where to start! But we hope that you have found some inspiration from the people, programs and communities we have featured here, and we hope to share more in the future.