Last week I had the pleasure of working with the staff of Indigenous Digital Excellence (IDX) for 3 days, training them in the effective use of iPads in education and how to teach Coding and Robotics to younger students. IDX is part of the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) in Redfern, and aims to increase digital skills amongst Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, to strengthen Indigenous participation in our digital economy. The staff are inspirational leaders and mentors and travel around Australia, to remote and regional areas, to engage Indigenous students in using digital technologies.
Our 3 days included intensive training in apps following the Apple Teacher curriculum, concentrating on Accessibility features of the iPad, Keynote, iMovie and GarageBand – apps that are particularly useful for story-telling and communicating with rich, multimodal texts and making use of the engagement of multimedia.
We also had a day on Coding and Robotics – how to teach students from Kindergarten how to think computationally, showing how to gradually increase and scaffold the learning to develop from block-based code through to syntax code. This included Swift Playgrounds – a fun app teaching Swift syntax language that smooths the transition from block-based code to syntax code – and the Everyone Can Code curriculum resources. All staff embraced the challenge and were coding in no time!
We also had a lot of fun coding with Sphero SPRK+. Sphero is so versatile and mobile, particularly important when IDX are going out on country and visiting regional areas, as it is easy to transport and very robust.
I really enjoyed my 3 days with IDX, they were enthusiastic and willing to have a go at new strategies and ideas, and I think their work is inspirational. I particular like the premise that IDX do not want to merely increase Indigenous digital skills, but are aiming for Indigenous Digital Excellence!