Students from Bwgcolman Community School on Palm Island, QLD visited the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) in June this year without taking a foot off the Island, thanks to the NCIE’s Indigenous Digital Excellence (IDX) team.
Using a virtual reality headset, students walked down George Street in Redfern, and through the gates of the NCIE, before checking out famous Sydney sites; the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.
For many participants it was the first look at life in a big city, a world away from their home on Palm Island.
The virtual reality (VR) experience was one of several workshops the IDX team delivered during their visit to the community. The trip to the Palm Island was the first for the team who have visited 22 communities across Australia since the Flint program began in 2016.
The Flint program seeks to spark the interest, ideas and talent of our mob in making digital technology. And if the excitement of the students at Bwgcolman Community School have anything to go by, it certainly achieved what the team set out to do.
In addition to VR students learnt how to code a robot and challenged one another to navigate a series of mazes set out by the team.
They also used a series of free apps to create a digital story and learnt about drones and what they can do to help care for country.
Check out some of the highlights from the workshops in this short video.
Principal of Bwgcolman Community School Beresford Domic said he welcomed the opportunity to run the Flint program at the school and said the program has been exceptional in putting the children and staff at Bwgcolman Community School, and those community members who participated, at the cutting edge of digital technology innovation in the 21st century.
“We at Bwgcolman Community School are determined to put our students in the best possible position to gain employment by attaining the skills for the future that these types of opportunities present.” Mr Domic said.
As part of the program the community will receive up to $10,000 worth of technology of their choice to use in the future, to continue to run workshops and ensure the community continues to drive participation in digital technology.
IDX Manager Grant Cameron said he was excited to work with the Palm Island community and cannot wait to return and continue to develop and work on the program.
“The community’s vision for Palm Island is really exciting. I think there is a lot of potential to use technology to ensure the future of Palm remains strong.”
“When we asked students what they want to be when they are older there were Doctors, Scientists and even students saying they want to work with technology in the room. Sparking their interest in technology now, can lead to employment opportunities in the future!” Grant said.
The team also worked with members of the Palm Island Community Company (PICC) Diversionary Centre interested in the use of drones to map country and to promote the Island for future tourism opportunities.
PICC Program Worker Brad Foster said the new skills will only enhance the work the team have been doing on community projects.
“Learning new skills is important for the boys,” Mr Foster said.
He said the drones were a big attraction for the team who are interested in its capability of taking aerial photos.
“Recording country provides us with information about flora and fauna on the ground and helps provide information on how best to manage and protect areas that need managing. These are just two activities that are positive to our project.” Mr Foster said.
Check out some of the highlights from the facilitator training in this short video.