Digital makeover for Dreamtime

Oxley High School student Kelsey Strasek-Baker at The Story Within.The past met the future in Tamworth recently with an exhibition of student work that used ground-breaking, digital technology to tell the stories of the Dreamtime.

New England regional director, Jim White said the Digital Elder Project, The Story Within, brought together student works from 16 schools that combined ancient understandings of Country with the multimedia world of information and computer technology.

"Our [region's] public schools value the collaboration of the local community connection and are ideally placed to preserve the long-held understandings of Country," Mr White said.

"We are making the most of connections - old and new."

Mr White said the project harnessed student connections with new technologies and with Elders in their communities.

"They are using technology to tell time-honoured stories. It is not only making the past real for the next generations of Aboriginal young people, but it is building understanding for us all and particularly for teachers who are coming into our New England Region communities."

Mr White said the Digital Elder Project was a valuable vehicle for bringing cultural protocols, the significance of artefacts and sites and the importance of storytelling and family relationships to the attention of staff and students.

He said the project also reinforced aspects of the curriculum, fostered the engagement of students, facilitated leadership and strengthened partnerships that benefited student outcomes.

A two-day conference on Aboriginal education, On Country, was held to coincide with the exhibition launch with acclaimed journalist and artistic director Rhoda Roberts the keynote speaker.

The conference aimed to explore the links between teaching and learning in schools and teaching and learning that transmit culture in Aboriginal communities.

It is also examined good educational practices and ways of achieving positive outcomes for Aboriginal students, as well as fostering Aboriginal education through culturally appropriate policies and practices.

Among the conference activities was a workshop at the botanical gardens in Tamworth where participants toured the Kamilaroi section, which is currently under construction, and heard a talk about a display of artefacts, including tools, weapons and household items.

Photo: Oxley High School student Kelsey Strasek-Baker at The Story Within. Photo by Barbara Levick.

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