Culturepad: connecting Aboriginal children, and school to Aboriginal language and culture through the use of technology
Centre for Schooling and Learning Technologies
Language is an essential feature of culture and identity, and important in instilling a sense of well-being and belonging for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Yet most Australian Indigenous languages are in serious decline, while English language literacy levels among Aboriginal children remain well below those of other Australian children.
This unique project aimed to connect Aboriginal children, their community and school to local Aboriginal language and culture through the innovative use of technology, while simultaneously developing skills in standard English. The project was set in two remote Aboriginal communities in the Western Australian Kimberley region.
An interactive digital tool known as CulturePad was developed running on an Apple IPad device to promote local language, English and digital literacy skills without the need for internet access. An essential feature of the app was that oral and written language and images were captured and recorded locally and made readily shareable within and between communities. These authentic voices and images fostered a sense of ownership among the Aboriginal educational workers participating in the project.
Preliminary findings have shown that CulturePad sustains the interest and engagement of Aboriginal children, teachers and community-based Aboriginal educators in oral and written language development, and has great potential as a catalyst for building stronger partnerships between schools and communities and improving Aboriginal students’ engagement in education in remote areas.