A few days after I delivered my keynote at the Australian School Library Association, I received a wonderful email from Lyn Walsh. She asked permission to adapt the presentation for her work with the Amata Anangu School. Because my talks are all CC licensed I told her to go right ahead – with the stipulation she help me out with a blog post as well. It’s a good reminder to me – and maybe others – that while we can talk all day about shiny new tools there are some schools and students who are in very different circumstances.
I’m still collecting myself after five incredible weeks in Australia – learning from librarians and educators, researching Learning 2.0 programs and immersing myself as best I could in each unique place we visited. More soon.
Here’s what Lyn provided, headed up by a shot of one of her adapted slides.
Blog entry by Lyn Walsh, 17.10.09.
“21st Century learning, Anangu tjutaku” is an adaptation of “The Hyperlinked Library” for the context I work in, Amata Anangu School, a remote Indigenous school on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in the NW of South Australia. The APY Lands are approximately 1500kms from South Australia’s capital city of Adelaide, require a permit for entry and are accessible only by dirt road.
Amata from the top of surrounding hills, Retrieved from school website http://www.amata.sa.edu.au/
I work as a tutor in the Anangu Tertiary Education Program (AnTEP). AnTEP is basically a teacher training program run from UniSA in Adelaide, but delivered locally for Anangu people who work in the schools on the APY Lands or who wish to take up tertiary study without moving to the city.
Pitjantjatjara and/or Yankunytjatjara is the first language for adults and children alike in these communities, and most people have limited literacy skills in English – hence the adaptation. English is actually a foreign language for Anangu [Anangu is the word Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara people use when talking about themselves], which is usually only spoken in the school and even then not that often. Michael’s powerpoint was already great for my ESL/EFL students, with the use of images and concise, short English sentences, but I’ve personalised it further for the school where I work with local photos and added first language. I haven’t had a chance to have the Pitjantjatjara checked by Anangu as yet, as I’m presently away from the community, but will do so upon my return.
Teacher librarians are a scarce commodity in these small community schools, with libraries being operated by ‘Library Managers’ with limited time allocation disallowing comprehensive Resource Based Learning (RBL) programs. My powerpoint is therefore also aimed at non-Indigenous classroom teaching staff and principals, in order to garner their support, but my primary concern is for the education of the Indigenous staff. Non-Indigenous staff come and go to these schools (on average staying for less than 2 years), but the Indigenous staff in the schools are the ones who need the knowledge about building Information Literate School Communities, as encapsulated in the AnTEP vision statement above.
I am hoping “21st Century learning, Anangu tjutaku” will become a useful tool to facilitate thinking and learning amongst my AnTEP students about how to best support the needs of Anangu, so that, although they “got left behind in the old literacy, [they] are not going to get left behind in this one.” I will also share this resource with AnTEP tutors in the other 8 Anangu schools across the APY Lands as an idea for the manner in which the AnTEP program can be digitalised and become available online for students to complete their study in a more independent fashion than currently occurs.
Web 2.0 provides exciting possibilities for a global learning community, but I believe it is diminished if remote Indigenous peoples don’t also have the opportunity to join in with the conversation.
I have uploaded my powerpoint to a moodle which the Lands schools are beginning to use:
and it is currently listed as “Learning for the 21st Century”. You may need to go to
and register to get in. It’s in Resources, AnTEP resources.
Anangu Tertiary Education Program (AnTEP) VISION
AnTEP exists for the benefit of Anangu through its training of Anangu Education Workers (AEWs) and future Anangu teachers.
It seeks to produce graduates who will provide a stable and effective AEW and teaching force in Anangu schools, and who are also able to contribute (in a creative and constructively critical way) to the educational debates and decision making processes that occur in Anangu schools and Anangu communities as they seek to participate in the wider Australian society.
1 Sarra, C. (2008). The strong and smart revolution. Australian Educator (Issue 57), p 21.