Sunday, November 29, 2009

NIEC 2009: Successful and Sustainable Practice

Although the NIEC 2009 conference has now finished, I just wanted to share a few more presentations.

Cliff Downey and Sam Osborne discussed the Dare to Lead project through some best practice examples of their 'school to work' projects. They highlighted three projects that focused on Indigenous students gaining experience at different workplaces including R. M. Williams, Ernst and Young, and Ernabella. Particularly inspirational was the experience with Ernabella, where Indigenous students are undertaking TAFE-accredited courses in the construction industry. The students have since won a contract to build a house and training centre in the area.

Tom Calma, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice Commissioner and Race Discrimination Commissioner, was the keynote speaker for Wednesday. Calma proposed two lessons for the future of Indigenous education in Australia:
Lesson 1: Listen to us - implement regional education plans in consultation with local Indigenous people and honour them. Also ensure that policy makers don't focus on cultural differences.
Lesson 2: Ensure that there is equality of inputs when there is an expectation of equal outcomes. Calma gave an example of the Garrthalala homeland school, Arnhem Land.

And finally, Alicia Boyle, Desert Knowledge CRC and Ruth Wallace, Charles Darwin University gave a presentation about e-learning. Boyle and Wallace really emphasised that many types of learning are involved with using digital media and learning - and the need to start with a purpose, and not with the course says should happen or digital media. Boyle and Wallace gave the example of an Indigenous group of students learning about biodiversity. Rather than using a visualisation that was based on a tree diagram, the visualisation was redesigned to reflect Indigenous knowledge of the bush - that when a particular tree blooms, then the turtles come out, and then you know the eggs will be laid.

Here are three projects that Boyle and Wallace have been working on that are really worth taking a look at:
E-portfolios for Aboriginal Artworkers in Central Australia

Collaborative Online Learning


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