This term my Grade Two class is learning about Aboriginal Australia. In the past, I have taught this topic in a fairly standard way – books and worksheets combined with a few online resources. While the students were interested in the topic, I believe the whole concept of Aboriginal culture remained a fairly abstract topic for them.
This year, with the help of technology and connections to an Aboriginal community, we’re making the topic really come to life.
One of my students, Tom, is embarking on a four wheel driving trip around outback Australia. Read about his adventure on my class blog here.
Tom’s enthusiastic parents were able to make contact with the Kunawarritji community in Western Australia and have organised to visit the local school. They put me in contact with a teacher at the school who has been very positive about communicating with our class. We have been emailing back and forth with questions and we’re hoping to set up a Skype session for the students to get to know the children from the Aboriginal community school.
In only a few online interactions my students have already learned so much and are developing a respect and appreciation for our indigenous population. My students were absolutely fascinated by the culinary choices of some of the Aboriginal students (camel, snake, goanna etc) and could not believe that the school has a rule that states “no hunting”! The teacher described how it can be distracting to have students go off and hunt a goanna in the middle of lessons!
This is just another example of how technology can really flatten the classroom walls and make learning so much more relevant and authentic for the students (and teacher)!