Using technology to bridge cultural, social & geographic isolation Project Overview Learning Areas Levels Years 11 -12 (Como SC) & Years 8-12 (Oombulgurri RCS) Description This project is based on a cultural exchange between two diverse communities in Western Australia: Indigenous students and members of the Oombulgurri Community in the Kimberley region and students at Como Secondary College in Perth. The purpose was to encourage students of each community to exchange and compare characteristics of their culture and, from this, develop a greater understanding of cultures that are different from their own. Keywords Culture, literacy, worldview, extended classroom, exchange, Aboriginal, virtual classroom, collaboration, Remote Community School. Software Microsoft Word, Internet Explorer, Messenger, Windows Movie Maker, Microsoft Powerpoint, Windows Sound Recorder. Authors Hugh Soord -- Como Secondary College, Perth Phil Lockhart – Oombulgurri Remote Community School, Kimberley region Objectives The aims of this project are to provide students and teachers with opportunities to learn collaboratively, broaden their worldview, and deliver outcomes in the areas of literacy, numeracy, and information & communication technology. The focus is on culture, cultural differences and community participation, Documents
Teacher Planning and Management During the 2006 school year teachers Hugh Soord of Como Secondary College and Phil Lockhart of Oombulgurri Remote Community School designed and implemented a technology led project called ‘Our Culture’ to promote cultural understanding and exchange between their students. The first objective was to establish relationships between the two groups of students. Using messenger, email and PowerPoint the students began sharing details of their life, community and cultural history. Instant messaging afforded the naturally shy Oombulgurri students with an anonymous way to communicate. Hugh and Phil shared resources and kept in almost daily contact planning and evaluating lessons. Students were given opportunities to develop their technology skills although they needed no encouragement to contact each other. Background & Planning: The project was initiated to 'connect' two diverse groups of students separated by 2000 km and develop a collaborative partnership between a teacher based at a remote and isolated school and one at a metropolitan senior high school. Over time the project evolved into a peer - mentoring relationship where higher standards of achievement were aspired to by both groups of students. Classroom Images: Despite a fickle broadband connection, Phil’s eight students from years 8 to 12 used computers for the first time in their lives to ‘speak’ with Hugh’s years 11 and 12 students.
Teaching Resources The remoteness of Oombulgurri means the students there have very few peers to compare their work to. This project raised their awareness of the quality of work being produced at other schools and set benchmarks for their own achievements and aspirations. Student Project Overview: Participation by both groups of students firstly required them to learn and understand the technology associated with the project. Whilst this was a relatively simple task for the students at Como Secondary College, the Aboriginal students from the Oombulgurri community had little or no experience of computer technology. Consequently, they were required to assimilate a considerable amount of information in a short amount of time. The students first interaction consisted of using email and messenger to familiarise themselves with the other group. A brief introductory digital video was shot and edited by each class. This was then followed by a series of concurrent lessons that required the students to interact with their counterparts 2000km away. In short, the exchanges of work and collaborative learning that resulted became largely student driven with levels of high motivation from both groups. This inspired independent research from the students in an effort to more fully understand their new found friends and learning partners. A powerful student driven peer mentoring situation developed and evolved during the project implementation.
Assessment and Standards Mapping the Standards: The project and its tasks have been mapped to outcomes described in Western Australia’s education system’s Curriculum Framework and Outcomes and Standards Framework. Learning with ICT project and Schools Learning with ICT projects: The project supports the Department of Education’s aims to improve teacher and student competencies in the use of ICT. Sample Student Work Examples removed in the interests of smaller file size
Teacher and School Information Phillip Lockhart lives in Oombulgurri Remote Community and co-ordinates and teaches years 8 to 12 at the school. He has had an ongoing interest in Aboriginal education. He is a qualified music teacher. Hugh Soord is a computing teacher based in Perth. He has taught for 26 years and has qualifications in Science, Computing and Instructional Design. His students are in years 8 - 12. Oombulgurri is a small remote Aboriginal community of about 200 residents in the far north of Western Australia. It is only accessible by air and the occasional boat. During much of the 'wet season' the community is inaccessible. The school caters for years K-12. There are 61 students at the school and 6 teachers. Como Secondary College is situated in Perth, the capital of Western Australia. The school consists of 845 students across Years 8 to 12 and 77 staff. It has all the facilities expected of a major senior high school, such as a gymnasium, performing arts centre and numerous computer laboratories.