The New South Wales Department of Education has partnered with Microsoft to implement Australia’s first augmented reality and digital skills initiative.
According to Microsoft, the ‘Njulgang Project’ aims to bring Aboriginal learning to life.
Teamed with the directorate of Aboriginal Education and Communities, the department has committed to protecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and language. “The Njulgang Project is incredibly important,” said Steven Worrall, managing director at Microsoft Australia. “With many spoken Aboriginal languages at risk of being lost, it was important that we worked together to develop a culturally appropriate program that celebrated language, while equipping students with the skills, knowledge and collaborative environment in which to succeed.”
The project was launched to create a technology skills program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, giving twenty students the chance to learn about local culture and language from a group of Dharawal Elders. The students brought to life what they learned by creating an augmented reality language learning resource based on the Dharawal Dreaming Story. In doing so, they developed new skills using Microsoft tools such as Paint 3D and Minecraft: Education Edition, both of which are available to all students in NSW Government schools.
“The opportunity for our Aboriginal students to work closely with Dharawal Elders, Aboriginal digital entrepreneurs and Microsoft to bring this innovative learning resource to life is invaluable,” said Mark Scott, secretary of the NSW Department of Education.
“Not only has the programme ignited the students’ passion for science and technology, it has provided them with a deeper understanding of Aboriginal language and culture and introduced them to the soft skills that are fundamental to learning in the 21st century,” said Worrall.
Microsoft is now working on scaling the programme nationally, so that other schools and language groups can preserve and promote their culture through technology while providing more students with the skills they need for the future.
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