CSER Digital Technologies Education

Today is Indigenous Literacy Day – a national celebration of Indigenous culture, stories, language and literacy.



The Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) work with over 230 remote communities to engage children and their families in Indigenous literacy by gifting new culturally appropriate books to communities, through an early literacy program, and by publishing books written by the Indigenous community.

In this post, we share some examples of Digital Technologies lesson ideas that celebrate Indigenous languages, stories and literacy.

[Please note: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that the following content or links to external content may contain images and voices of people who have died.]

Digital Technologies celebrating Indigenous cultures

Find examples of digital technology that celebrates Indigenous languages, cultures and stories or share stories Indigenous peoples who are creating digital technology innovations for their community. Some examples are:

  • Old Ways New – a company of Indigenous Consultants and Technologists who draw upon Indigenous Knowledge, tapping into tens of thousands of years of culture, research, iterative design and innovation of technology.
  • Translation App to preserve endangered Indigenous Queensland languages.
  • Indigital – bringing Indigenous cultures digitally alive with an Augmented Reality App

Can your students recommend other examples of digital technology for celebrating Australian Indigenous cultures, stories and languages?


Our CSER team from the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia worked together to hold a joint event based in Yulara (Northern Territory), attended by teachers and Aboriginal Education Workers from the 3 regions. This event incorporated in-language discussion and workshops, facilitated by Indigenous translators. 

During the event, Education workers, Indigenous translators and CSER team members worked together to translate the instructions for a familiar Computer Science activity, “My Robotic Friend“, into Pitjantjatjara.

An adaptation of @THINKERSMiTH’s ‘My Robotic Friend’s’ resource with Pitjantjatjara language translation. (twitter.com/cserAdelaide/status/882448153974198273)

In this activity, students use Pitjantjatjara languages to construct their algorithms, that provide instructions for a peer to follow. This simple idea, of translating instructions (whether it be the Robotic Friend page or sequencing cards), could be adopted for other communities and Indigenous languages, by working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

From our free CSER Digital Technologies F-6: Foundations MOOC (online course), educators are sharing some wonderful ideas for learning about and celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and stories. In the post below, Maureen Harrison explains an unplugged lesson for exploring data representation in the Digital Technologies curriculum. Using an unplugged activity, students use Indigenous symbols to convey meaning to create and decode stories.



QR codes are one way of representing data. QR codes allow individuals to store information (such as a link to a webpage, image, video or word) and using a mobile phone, users can scan a QR code to be taken directly to that information. In our Digital Technologies, students can learn about how QR codes can store and retrieve information and then create their own QR Code experiences for another class, their families or the public. In the example below, Maureen from our F-6 Foundations MOOC, shares a lesson idea with her class using QR codes in a school garden.

maureen plant example

Taking this idea, students could create QR codes of key literacy words from a local Indigenous language, or create QR code trails that teach others about Indigenous cultures and stories about the land that they are on.

A popular lesson amongst primary school teachers for exploring algorithms, sequencing and Computational Thinking in the F-2 Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies is to have students navigate Bee Bots (or any robotic device) to images or words on a grid, mat or floor. Within a narrative context, after reading a story together, students can start by sequencing printed narrative cards or recounting the sequence of events on a worksheet. After determining the key events, students create algorithms (instructions) that tell the Bee Bot how to navigate to the key story events on the mat.


Popular stories include those with obvious sequences, such as the ‘Three Little Pigs’, ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ and ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’. However, this could provide a wonderful foundation for exploring Indigenous stories that are meaningful to the students and community in which they live. A great place for finding Indigenous stories is via the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. An alternative to using Indigenous stories, could be to have places of cultural importance represented on the mat. After discussing and learning about these important places, students can navigate their robot to the correct locations using their constructed algorithms.

The two books below are from the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) website. See their website for book suggestions, created by Indigenous peoples under their Community Literacy Projects initiative.

Indigenous stories

Another example from our Digital Technologies F-6: Foundations MOOC is from Katherine Jackson, who shares a lesson idea in which she harnesses a Code Club Australia Scratch project for the Gadigal language, and has students remix it for the Palawa kani language.

Katherine post

Below is a screen capture of the NAIDOC Week Language Quiz Scratch project, available to be viewed and remixed by Code Club Australia.

NAIDOC scratch Code Club project, scratch.mit.edu/projects/167731908/

NAIDOC scratch Code Club project, scratch.mit.edu/projects/167731908/

This is one example in which students explore Indigenous languages within Scratch using visual programming. However, Scratch is just one platform that can be used to create programs. Younger students could use software such as ScratchJR and older students could use App creation software, such as App Inventor.

Maitland Lutheran School is using a humanoid robot (NAO robot) as part of the process of building respect and understanding of the Narungga language and culture. A native Narungga speaker is working with Maitland Lutheran School to build the confidence of the teachers and students to speak the Narungga language and then students are programming their robot, Pink, to speak in Narungga. The video below (7:56) talks through their unit of learning.

For more information about the robotics project, and how it aligns with the Australian Curriculum, please visit the ACARA website.

These are but a few ideas we share for Indigenous Literacy Day. Educators could invite students to consider, design and/or create digital solutions that celebrate Indigenous culture, stories or languages. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students could create digital projects that align with their own stories, culture and land that have deep meaning for their community.

Please note: Please be mindful of conventions and practices in regards to using Indigenous images, stories and cultural knowledge as well as sensitive to the sharing practices and conventions of the communities in which Indigenous students belong. 

Engage and inspire!

Continue to inspire all students (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) in Indigenous cultures, stories, languages and literacy throughout the year and continue to inspire others!

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation encourages you to engage on social media: “Advocate for us on social media and tag @IndigenousLiteracyFoundation on Facebook and @IndigneousLF on Twitter with #ILD2017″.

Do you have inspiring ideas for connecting the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies with Indigenous stories, languages and cultures, or examples of Inspiring digital solutions? We would love to hear from you. Tag us on social media @cserAdelaide (Twitter) or via our CSER Facebook page.

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It’s National Literacy and Numeracy Week in Australia.The Digital Technologies subject area provides the perfect context in which to engage students in Literacy and Numeracy activities.

Image: literacyandnumeracy.gov.au

National Literacy and Numeracy Week is an annual event promoting the importance of literacy and numeracy to future learning, life participation and work opportunities. Digital Literacy was first included in 2016 as part of the week to raise awareness of the importance of digital literacy as one of the foundation skills for the workforce in the 21st Century.

The Australian Government National Literacy Week has a Teacher Page, full of interesting activities, including activities for exploring digital literacy. Examples include the use of free online resources from Code Clubs Australia, CS First, CS Unplugged and eSaftey Australia. These resources are excellent for aligning with the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies.

Linking Mathematics & English with Digital Technologies

Our F-6 Digital Technologies: Extended MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) course explicitly links with the F-6 Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies and opportunities for integration with English and Mathematics. This short-course 4-unit course was launched in partnership with Google Australia and, builds on our very first F-6 Foundations MOOC, providing teachers with a deeper exploration of algorithms and visual programming activities.

Our online courses are centred around a free online Community of Practice, in which teachers are sharing fantastic ideas for connecting the learning areas together in a dedicated course Google+ Community. Educators participating in our free online courses are generating a wealth of ideas for linking Digital Technologies with the English and Mathematics learning areas. Below we highlight two examples from our “English Connections” unit.

Fiona Gordon, CSER F-6 Extended MOOC

Choose own adventureTwo example educator posts from our F-6: Extended course community

We encourage you to pop in and have a look at the course content and our rich community of Digital Technologies resources. Register for our online course: https://csermoocs.appspot.com/f6extended

Digital Technologies Hub Resources

The Digital Technologies Hub have been curating hundreds of resources to support Australian teachers with the Digital Technologies curriculum. This searchable database allows teachers to easily search by Digital Technologies topic, year level, as well as by those linked to other learning areas. If you’re looking for Literacy and Numeracy activities with a Digital Technologies flair, have a look by selecting “English” or “Mathematics” on their search page here.


Have an idea to share?


Are you running Literacy and Numeracy activities with a Digital Technologies spin? We’d love to hear from you! Share with us on Twitter @cserAdelaide or Facebook #csermoocs.


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Have you ever enrolled in our F-6 MOOC?

  • Did you enrol back in 2014, or more recently?
  • Did you start and never complete?
  • Have you completed the course and received a certificate?
  • Are you still working through the course?
  • Did you enrol just to have a peek?

If you answered yes to any of the above… we need you! This is your opportunity to let us know about your professional learning experience and about your continued experience with implementing Digital Technologies!

We would like to invite you to participate in our online survey. We are seeking responses from people who had enrolled in the MOOC, starting from our first release in 2014 until today. We are seeking responses from people with a variety of motivations for joining our MOOC, and from people with a variety of experiences.

We would like to know what worked, what didn’t, what you found useful and the impact that it has had on your professional practice, whether that be in the classroom, teaching pre-service teachers, in a leadership capacity, or something else.

Your responses will help us to better understand your experience in our course, how we can improve our courses, and what continued support teachers require to implement Digital Technologies in the classroom.










We would expect that this survey would take 15-20 minutes for you to complete. We know that this is a large commitment of your time, however we would greatly appreciate your support so that we can work towards improving and expanding our program.

This research has been approved by the University of Adelaide Human Research Ethics Committee (approval number H-2014-103). If you wish to discuss with an independent person, please contact the Human Research Ethics Committee’s Secretariat on phone (08) 8313 6028 or by email to hrec@adelaide.edu.au

We greatly appreciate your time and your feedback.


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In partnership with Education Services Australia (ESA), CSER Researchers are currently working on a project exploring guidance and resources for the F-10 Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies. So far the team have developed a framework to help teachers with the interpretation of the ACARA achievement strands, along with a curation of initial assessment materials suitable for immediate […]

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Join CSER’s Lauren Stanhope and Toni Falusi for a 2-day intensive workshop introducing the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies for Years 7 and 8. Over the two days participants will sign up and explore the 7-8 CSER MOOC (or CSER MOOC of your choice), investigate robotics, coding and computational thinking through hands-on activities which include: Using […]

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It’s Book Week so why not check out children’s books that explore Digital Technologies and STEM. Books are a wonderful way to engage children in Digital Technologies. For ideas on how to integrate Digital Technologies into the English curriculum, refer to our F-6 Digital Technologies: Extended MOOC Unit 3 – English Connections. Some titles to […]

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CSER’s Associate Professor Nick Falkner and Dr Claudia Szabo are jointly delivering a workshop for EdTech SA on 7 November 2017. In the context of the Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum, the workshop will explore: the design and development of a classroom project around application development, and discuss the range of Digital Technologies related skills from […]

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We’re calling on you to inspire educators, parents, counsellors and school leadership and to spread the message about the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). 75% of jobs of the future will require STEM skills, yet many students today are shying away from STEM subjects. One challenge is that “STEM” is often perceived as an abstract […]

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The annual National Science Week is here!  National Science Week is Australia’s annual celebration of Science and Technology. Running each year in August, it features more than 1000 events around Australia, including those delivered by universities, schools, research institutions, libraries, museums and science centres. These events attract a wide audience from children to adults, and […]

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The IAC education program provides 25 different sessions that put the spotlight on future-focused STEM learning. Student workshops will inspire and excite our primary and secondary students towards a career in STEM-related fields. Teacher sessions will equip R-12 teachers to enhance student achievement, engagement and excitement in STEM learning. To find out about the 2017 […]

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