The mosquitoes are big along the Murray River but last week there was an even bigger buzz in town when students in Robinvale had the opportunity to fly a drone over the school, town and flood waters. In collaboration with VACL, Brendan Kennedy and the Aboriginal community in Robinvale were the successful recipients of the IDX Flint Program administered by the National Centre for Indigenous Digital Excellence. IDX Flint is a program that sparks the interest, ideas and talent of young Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders in making digital technology.

FLINT Manager Grant Cameron, Learning Experience Designer Celeste Carnegie and Programs Coordinator Claude Williams travelled to Robinvale from Sydney to host three days of mentoring, activities and workshops at the Clontarf Academy at Robinvale P-12 College. Aboriginal students in higher grades were given the opportunity to fly a drone, build and program lego robots, use 3D printers and code trackways for ozobots. Students then taught these skills to the younger classes in self-led group activities. One of the highlights of the week was certainly watching how eager and capable these older students were in quickly using these new skills in leadership roles to teach others. The community were also treated to some basketball skill building with multitalented Wiradjuri sportsman Claude Williams, who played with the Sydney SuperSonics among many other significant sporting achievements in basketball, rugby and cricket.

"This is future Koorie education at its best, the possibilities of this to teach language are endless. It really broadens the horizon of what we can do, bringing the old ways and new technology together," said Brendan Kennedy. 

The community in Robinvale are now deciding which equipment they will keep in their community for ongoing digital learning experiences, language education and cultural projects. The possibilities are limitless in the imagination of children and they are the ones who can take digital excellence to new levels. We’ll be following their lead with great interest!

Applications for the next round of the IDX Flint Program will open soon – keep your eye on their website for details!

IDX News Article

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In September 2016 VACL staff travelled via the flood diversions to Robinvale to work with VACL board member Brendan Kennedy and the Tati Tati, Mutti Mutti, Latji Latji and Wadi Wadi communities.

In a series of workshops over three days, a group of children were given the opportunity to create artwork, take photographs and record language words and songs for an upcoming app to be released featuring languages from North West Victoria.

Using iPads, cameras and art materials the children set out to illustrate close to 100 words for the upcoming Tyalingi App. The group were also recorded singing burpi, niti, partingi, thinangi (heads, shoulders, knees, toes) as part of a suite of songs which will also feature in the app. Children were then given the opportunity to individually practice and record Tati Tati, Mutti Mutti, Latji Latji and Wadi Wadi words with Brendan.

Brendan Kennedy runs the Robinvale Language Program Yakila Yarna Thalingi (Learning to Speak Language) at Robinvale P-12 College.

For more information on Yakila Yarna Thanlingi click here

Songs from Brendan Kennedy's book Wangilatha Wangu nga Kiyawatha will also feature in the upcoming app.

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Last month, Paul travelled to Sydney to participate in the three day Indigenous Digital Excellence Summit. Day 1 was packed full of presentations ranging from entrepreneurs who've utilised digital technology to achieve business success, academics spoke about the number of Indigenous people completing IT courses (which is very low) and what the future of jobs looks like and how we need to be prepared for this. Paul also spoke from the viewpoint of using digital excellence in revitalising culture demonstrating the iPad Apps which we developed last year.

The next two days were focused on constructing and working towards the development of a National Indigenous Digital Excellence Strategy. The strategy will focus on areas such as Employment, Health, Entrepreneurship, Education and Culture. Experts from the digital industry joined the group on the last day to provide their professional contributions with the closing address left to the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to give priority to this important strategy and a commitment of future funding to see it realised.

As a bonus, Paul gave the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull a brief tour of one of our Apps which were on display after the summit!

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Friday, 23 October 2015 14:37

An inspiring week at Puliima

The Puliima National Indigenous Language and Technology Forum took place in Melbourne this month. The event attracted over 230 people from nations across Australia as well as international guests. Energy and enthusiasm filed the William Angliss Institute as participants exchanged ideas and shared passion for language and culture.

In collaboration with KIWA, VACL hosted a KIWA SLAM workshop in the two days leading up to the conference, where a language app was produced by participants from across Australia in collaboration with the facilitators. The app was produced in six languages; Bundjalung, Dharug, Ngarrindjeri, Wonnarua, Gathang and English, and will be released on the app store soon. Other workshops and practical demonstrations explored how to create iBooks, dictionaries, recordings and teaching resources in language.

On the Wednesday and Thursday attendees were spoilt for choice with three streams of presentations that focused on community, education and technology. More than 30 presentations were offered detailing the diverse projects communities and organisations are working on with the aim of keeping language alive.

VACL participated in presentations on Learning from Experience with Vicki Couzens, Kris Eira and Tonya Stebbins from the Meeting Point Research Team based at VACL. The Ankety Map - Review of Digital Tools for Language Work presentation was made by Paul Paton from First Languages Australia and the waqdamba-nganjin wurrung presentation was made by Emma Hutchinson, Paul Paton, Mandy Nicholson and Joel Wright from VACL.

Highlights included international guests from the Santa Fe Indian School who spoke about language revival in New Mexico and presentations by the Youth Champions; nine young people who each spoke about language projects they are working on.

On the Wednesday evening of the event the famous Australia's Got Language was held with 12 acts taking to the stage. The show included outstanding performances of song, dance, poetry and comedy.

The summit enables discussions around projects, products and equipment to do with language and technology both nationally and internationally. Participants networked and collaborated on important issues at the forefront of the field. Puliima provides a stage to share successes and challenges while being reminded of the strength contained within the bigger movement dedicated to preserving and celebrating language. The word 'puliima' means 'making voice' in Awabakal language from Newcastle and Lake Macquarie where the Puliima conference started in 2007.

To download factsheets from the Meeting Point Project click here

To download the FREE app Walking on Country developed in the KIWA SLAM workshop visit the VACL App Store here

Don't have access to an iPad or iPhone? See videos of the app Walking on Country in each language at VACL's vimeo site here

Scroll down to see video and image gallery

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