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Learning Spaces

Learning Spaces: Youth, Literacy and New Media in Remote Indigenous Australia OPEN ACCESS

Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: ANU Press
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  • Book Info
    Learning Spaces
    Book Description:

    “This work offers us the rare opportunity to step inside innovative uses of technologies, mergers of global technologies into local knowledge, and community advocacy of local history and ideology…The young people who move through these pages are motivated and proud of having had the opportunities that make possible their linking together of historical knowledge and contemporary means of communication and performance. The means illustrated here have enabled them to develop skills that will help them move into the future as adults engaged with the health and life of their own communities, connected to their language and culture as their way of being in the world of the local so as to know the world of the global.” Professor Shirley Brice Heath Stanford University, USA

    eISBN: 978-1-922144-09-6
    Subjects: Education
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Table of Contents

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  1. Foreword (pp. x-xii)

    We live in an era of innovations and cutting edges. Changes come too rapidly to be noted by those of us who do not live with them on a daily basis. We may ask whether or not it matters that the world does not see or take note of the ways that habits of communication shift, while governments and age-old institutions, such as education, remain relatively unchanged in their patterns of operation or their expectations that their beliefs and means need not change.

    Where are the adaptations and adoptions taking place, and why do they draw international attention? Adopters and...

  2. In 2007 we—Inge Kral and Jerry Schwab—embarked on an ethnographic research project in partnership with The Fred Hollows Foundation and The Northern Territory Library. Then, as now, low school attendance, poor English literacy scores and the educational and social disengagement of young people in remote Indigenous communities was portrayed as a ‘crisis’. While we acknowledge that mainstream education is an effective learning pathway for some, our combined experience in working with Indigenous communities in remote Australia suggested that there were many Indigenous young people in those communities for whom mainstream education appeared not to hold the answers to...

  3. In Australia today, public and policy discourse promotes schooling and vocational training as the primary pathway to realising successful futures for remote Indigenous youth. However this ideal model appears to have little resonance in many communities where there are few job opportunities and a considerable number of young people are voting with their feet by walking away from institutional learning. This is distressing not only to educators and politicians, but also to many Indigenous families who are continually told, and firmly believe, that ‘school’ should provide the knowledge and tools—including English literacy and numeracy—necessary for economic participation and...

  4. If remote Indigenous communities are to overcome their economic disadvantage and political marginalisation they will require skilled individuals who can facilitate a strategic articulation with mainstream Australian society. Similarly, if young people in remote communities are to become competent, mature adults able to shape their own futures and the economic and social viability of their communities it is essential that they have access to learning experiences that will contribute to the formation of a positive sense of self, strong cultural identities, and independent learning and literacy skills.

    In most public commentary and policy debate, schooling—and the attainment of English...

  5. Though we want to emphasise again that we don’t believe a single replicable model is possible—or desirable—we have identified what we believe are a series of design principles that can be of value in building or facilitating learning spaces:

    Design Principle 1:

    A space young people control

    Design Principle 2:

    A space for hanging out and ‘mucking around’

    Design Principle 3:

    A space where learners learn

    Design Principle 4:

    A space to grow into new roles and responsibilities

    Design Principle 5:

    A space to practice oral and written language

    Design Principle 6:

    A space to express self and...

  6. This book has reported on findings emerging from our efforts to answer three central research questions.

    How can early school leavers and disaffected young adults in remote communities be reengaged with learning?

    How can literacy be acquired, maintained and transmitted outside school settings?

    How can learning and literacy be fostered across the lifespan?

    Our search for answers to these questions involved a rich and productive collaboration with a range of Indigenous young people from remote communities, many of whom were themselves concerned with these questions. That collaboration resulted in an ethnographic study of learning, highlighting the many ways in which...