This was one of the exceptional examples I saw in operation where educational activity was supported and extended in many ways by appropriate strategies and software.
The project grew out of work being done by me in relation to educational uses of database and multimedia technology when I was working at the NT Technology Education Centre as a Lecturer and Educational adviser. Gapuwiyak school was one of the pilot locations. The project at Gapuwiyak grew and progressed from its start in 1990-91 and became known locally as Nadungay .
Key people in the development of this project were:
Graeme Sawyer ( email@example.com), Ian Morris ( firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dr Jeremey Russell-Smith (Botanist), Shirley Nirrpurranydji (Principal of Gapuwiyak School), Peter Blundell (Teacher and key facilitator), Gapuwiyak Council and Community, Teachers at Gapuwiyak School.
Curriculum issues and planning
The curriculum models behind this project are based on an educational philosophy that includes elements of curriculum integration, environmental education models, the school’s learning models, the importance of students constructing knowledge, starting with current knowledge, and a process which is now referred to a constructive multimedia
The basic model of the project was to build literacy and numeracy skills from a base in local information and knowledge and to expand the scope to a wider world view. The initial content focus was on the people and the local environment and expanded to the region and beyond with excursions and visits.
The initial focus of the project was to develop a process that facilitated the development of an information system for use in the school, which has a local perspective on the environment of the area and its importance to people. It was the process of building the system, or adding the content to it that developed the skills and understandings of the students. The technology was of primary importance in holding the information in a manner that allowed the students to construct knowledge.
The project has established connections between the education system, the scientific community and the traditional knowledge of aboriginal communities. A key part of the planning was to build bridges between the knowledge sets of the community and the school.
It is the educational processes involved in generating and recording information that have led to many successful activities, ranging from large camps, to visits to special places, to having people from the community come into the classrooms to talk to and do activities with the students.
Technology was a key factor in this project in that it provided for several essential elements of the project. Specifically Information Technology is of critical importance in the way it enables experiences from field trips and excursions to be brought back to the school to allow the learning outcomes to be developed. Information Technology also has a pivotal role in the learning process because of the way it allows students to work with information and to “build knowledge”.
Information Technology has played a major facilitation role in the tying together of all the different strands of information. Information Technology has provided a mechanism for accessing information within the school that normally would not be available within school resources. Information Technology has also made educational processes feasible within the school that could not be done as readily without the use of computers.
Information Technology has provided key elements of support to teachers that have been of great benefit. This includes the role of email in providing contact beyond the confines of the community.
The project began with the NT Animals Information system and progressed to the building of “Me Stacks” and an integrated set of “stacks” containing aspects of aboriginal knowledge. As this process was achieved the project progressed through a series of field trips, camps, excursions, mini projects and lots of hard work.