Sunday, September 22, 2019

indigi digi 2020

- Brief outline of a Digital Technology course with indigenous themes

Indigenous themes
indigenous art, languages, stories, kinship systems, astronomy, fire and water

Software and a few Exemplars
Initially Scratch leading into Culturally Situated Design Tools, SNAP and App Inventor (others as appropriate). These are relatively easy to learn block coding languages.

Scratch is a popular block code language which enables the user to manipulate rich media (sounds, music, animation) with simple combinations of commands. Indigenous icons can readily be imported into Scratch and stories built around them.

The metaphor that has developed around Scratch has been low floor (easy to get started), wide walls (diversity in projects) and open windows (collaboration). This metaphor translates readily to indigenous cultural themes of grounded, experiential learning, the diversity of the Land and using your own language for communication and collaboration.

SNAP is a more powerful version of Scratch, better suited to Culturally Situated Design Tools in the longer term

Culturally Situated Design Tools is an approach pioneered by Ron Eglash et al and adapted for aboriginal central desert art motifs (dotted circles with textured backgrounds) by Bill Kerr. The picture below shows one variation of a myriad of possibilities (developed with Scratch):

With App Inventor students can develop phone apps for android phones. For example, I have developed an Arrernte Language app to help those learning the language to pronounce the words. With this app someone learning the language can sit with a fluent speaker and if they mispronounce the words the fluent speaker can record a better version.

Other resources Computers, micro:bit, indigenous icons, QR codes, Android phones, indigenous dictionaries. This is a low cost list which can be further developed depending on interest and needs.

ACARA The focus is on coding, algorithms, decomposition, design (the core issues of ACARA’s Design Technology Curriculum)

Cross curricula themes will include art, indigenous language, science and maths depending on the time available.

Educational Philosophy: Meaningful collaboration
  • Coding to make something that is meaningful to the user
  • Students join an online coding collaborative community. Encourage remixing of projects, learning and building on the work of others
  • The learning process becomes imagine, realise, critique, reflect and iterate
WHO? Variations of this course can be developed for the indigenous cohort from Years 3-12, depending on what the school sees as most valuable / useful.

Time: Time intensive will work better, ie. 4 periods a week is better than 2 periods a week

Rationale: For various reasons most indigenous students have missed out on a Computer Science pathway up until now.

Issues relevant to schools and other educational institutions:
  • Many schools are not compliant with the ACARA Digital Technologies Curriculum
  • The computing revolution, Schumpeter's creative destruction, is ongoing and continues to transform society. The nature of this transformation needs to be elaborated but clearly there is a need for many schools to improve their computer science or computational thinking delivery.
  • Driving down the high tech highway looking in the rear view mirror is a real problem. Many schools use computers in useful but mundane ways (think Power Point, roll marking and report writing) rather than creative ways
  • Teachers who understand educational computing deeply can and do use computers in creative ways that engage nearly all students. In the hands of such teachers computers can be used to integrate and transform the curriculum
  • Think STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) rather than STEM. Think STEAM for the 99%, computing education needs to include all social groups
Proposal for an Australian Indigenous Version of Culturally Situated Design Tools

Arrernte Language App

ACARA Digital Technologies

Index of recent articles about computers and education by Bill Kerr

No comments: