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Bringing Digital Literacy to Arlparra with inDigiMOB

InDigiMOB pilot year

A program that was designed to develop and implement affordable and equitable access to digital technology and communications in remote Northern Territory communities has recently celebrated the wrap up of its successful pilot year.

inDigiMOB is an innovative initiative, run in partnership with Telstra, the Indigenous Remote Communications Association (IRCA) and the Northern Territory Government, that aims to expand telecommunications infrastructure in remote communities. Batchelor Institute partnered with inDigiMOB through its Alrparra learning centre, providing access to equipment, infrastructure, a vehicle and the support of the dedicated training coordinator.

inDigiMOB is about improving digital inclusion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote NT and emphasises informal, peer-to-peer learning that values the experiences and knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It does this by making available a flexible suite of resources that communities can take advantage of, according to their diverse needs.

Workshops and activities around digital skills and technology were delivered throughout the year and connectivity solutions were supported in the community. The informal environment created ongoing opportunities for community members to learn digital skills through recreational internet use on the centre computers; digital music-making; use of online services including government and financial; cyber safety; and more. inDigiMOB also delivered a number of specialist workshops at the Learning Centre, including GarageBand, iMovie and myGov.

The IT Training Coordinator Angela Voerman, a position that was co-funded by Batchelor Institute and InDigiMOB, played a key role in the program’s achievements.

“Mentors need to be part of the rhythm of life. Technology is a special thing in community. It’s hard to learn how to search or interact with new interfaces. Simple ways in are playing online games or scrolling through pictures of cars for sale. This is sometimes a way into formal study – wanting to learn to read and perhaps to write,” said Ms Voerman.

“We need to recognise the social context in which people learn and in which people teach or share what they know. Individuals do want to develop their expertise. People do want to teach, to share what they know and build things together, but they do not want to stand out or be seen as elitist by other community members. They need to engage when and how they feel most comfortable. Flexibility and opportunity are the key.”

Due to the success of this program, the Arlparra centre was able to expand its operations to include informal learning in addition to pre-existing education. This positive learning environment also became a pathway to enrolment in accredited training, with Batchelor Institute enrolments in Arlparra increasing by over 90 percent in 2016 compared to 2015.

IMG_2234Arlparra is the service centre for the wider Utopia community. The local community consists of five family houses and a number of campsites and includes around 150 people. The majority of the Utopia community, however, live on the 16 homelands and visit Arlparra for services, including access to the Learning Centre.

inDigiMOB focussed on two NT communities in 2016, including Arlparra and four other Alice Springs Town Camps including Karnte, Hidden Valley, Trucking Yards and Larapinta Valley.

Due to the success of its first year, phase 2 of inDigiMOB was recently launched to further expand the delivery of digital literacy initiatives and mentorship across more remote communities in the Northern Territory.

Batchelor Institute is a proud partner of this innovative partnership, which is delivering tangible positive outcomes to communities whilst respecting the needs and self-determination of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

You can read more about the program and the pilot year’s outcomes here

You can watch a video from last year’s launch below:

inDigiMOB Launch from IRCA Australia on Vimeo.