Photo: Aunty Aileen Blackburn (left), Grant Cameron with Elders and members of the Orbost Community following a Drone workshop with the IDX Flint program.

The Flint workshop in East Gippsland was the sixteenth community that IDX have delivered the FLINT program to so far. It’s a privilege for us as a team to visit and meet each community we work with. We get to learn about local cultures and activities as much as the Flint communities get to learn about what they can do with technology we bring.

Our first visit to Victoria was in the North West earlier this year where we spent time with the amazing team in Robinvale through the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages.

This time we were welcomed in the South East Victoria by Moogji Aboriginal Council and Aunty Aileen Blackburn, a local elder and expert in cultural heritage, land management and community development.

This was a three-in-one workshop for us – we got to work with three different groups in three different locations.

Photo: IDX Facilitator Celeste Carnegie demonstrates 3D printing technology to Uncle Kevin Murray, Aunty Aileen Blackburn and members of the Orbost community.

DAY 1:
On the first day we were welcomed at Moogji in Orbost by the local facilitators who would be part of the workshop for the rest of the week; six local community members, men and women who were all Indigenous and aged from early 20s to early 60s.

The facilitators get introduced to the technology before the community workshops so they can learn to use it and start to think about how it can best be used in their communities for learning, employment, cultural maintenance and…fun!

During the day we covered 3D printing, the basics of CAD software, robotics (always a massive hit) and we also introduced the VR (virtual reality) using the tilt brush platform – also a massive hit .

Photo: Aunty Aileen Blackburn uses the HTC Vive Virtual Reality system.

DAY 2:
The next day (after the tasty hot cooked breakfast from Uncle Dave) we met the workshop participants and focused on drones and how they can be used as a resource for land management and mapping, and for monitoring local sites.

This is something the community was very passionate about especially Aunty Aileen’s son Travis, an Indigenous ranger, who could see a need for drone programs in the region.

We also began the conversation about the technology kit they would choose and why. Each Flint community gets to decide on a customised tailored kit of equipment and educational resources to the value of $10,000 to work with after the workshop is finished.

They were very interested in a land management package and could see huge potential in Drones and their capability to map and monitor culturally significant sites across the Gippsland region and are keen to facilitate cultural programs and engage local young people and elders. The idea of being able to record sites from a new perspective, take footage of waterways and have visual recordings of country, was something they have been thinking about for quite some time now, so the Flint program in Gippsland came at a great time for these community members.

Photo: Students from the Cann River P12 College using the Infinity One laptops and Lego MindStorm robotics kits.

DAY 3:

Our second location was Cann River P12 College one hour’s drive towards the coast to work in the College with a group of 25 students of all ages.

It was excellent to see the older students work together with the younger students acting as mentors to the younger ones. The group was really engaged in the robotics workshop and, they had the opportunity to use Google tilt brush platform where they were able to be very creative and be completely immersed within VR.

Photo: Grant Cameron (IDX) and Aunty Aileen Blackburn at the Eden Wharf.

DAY 4:
On the last day we hit the road again, this time heading north up to Eden in southern NSW, two hours drive away. Through Aunty Aileen’s contacts at the Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council and the Twofold Aboriginal Corporation, we got to work with eight women from a Koorie women’s group from the corrections system.

They group was on block release and they were able to undertake various cultural workshops with Eden Land Council as well as be part of the Flint program.

At first the women were shy and quiet but after a technology intro and demo they relaxed and got right into the robotics workshop and then the VR. It was great to be able to get them involved and we spent a long time talking with them about future possibilities. Their feedback was, “…we need stuff like this in jail, it’s so therapeutical and a great platform to be creative.

The Flint program will be back on the road in March 2018.