Kalkie State School has partnered with Indigenous edu-tech company Indigital to deliver Australia’s first NAIDOC Minecraft Education Challenge.
Backed by the Telstra Foundation, Microsoft, Minecraft and the National NAIDOC Committee, the challenge is an exciting opportunity to combine the world’s oldest living culture with the latest in 21st century technology to deliver a fun and engaging program for school aged children.
In the challenge’s first year, 25 schools and more than 1000 young people will participate to create augmented reality characters and Minecraft worlds exploring the question: “How might we build sustainable schools, cities, towns or communities in 2030 using Indigenous science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM)?”.
For Kalkie State School Year 4-5 students, that means creating an immersive world that acknowledges traditional knowledge in a 21st century way.
“I knew that the kids would be really interested in this process, because I know that they love online gaming and the online world,” said Digital Technologies and STEM teacher Samantha Ephraims.
“So, we've done some research, and the kids have talked about what they'd like to have in this Minecraft world And we're pitching it towards Bundaberg 2030. The Bundaberg of the future, the improved Bundaberg of the future.
“But we said to go forward, we need to go back and see what traditional knowledge there is here in Bundaberg, you know, 200 years ago.”
Samantha said the students ran into a few early roadblocks, but the Bundaberg Minecraft of the future features a range of Indigenous related knowledge and ecofriendly ways to produce electricity.
“What we found was sort of surprising in that we couldn't find much at all. We contacted the library, we went the State Library, and even a professor at UQ university, and they all said the same thing that we don't have much photographic evidence,” she said.
“That was really surprising to these kids and they became really interested in making sure that we preserve artefacts and ideas and stories and heritage so that these things aren't lost.
“We've reached out to Indigenous people that we know and families and other people to try and find the information that we need about what life was like and how we can use that knowledge to impact Bundaberg and take it into a better place in the future, and the kids came up with things like farming and more sustainable farming practices.”
Sam said the challenge was an exciting opportunity for students to revisit the Indigenous history of Bundaberg and she was delighted students and staff at Kalkie State College took up the challenge to participate.
“As a school We're really committed to making sure that that our NAIDOC week reflected the fact that First Nations people are still here, it's a living culture.”
“We have so many beautiful kids in our school who have those indigenous roots themselves and we really like to cherish that, support it and just encourage kids to share their knowledge with others,” Sam said.
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