The Fourth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF4)
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Lawrence Mahon

SWIRL and Talking Books: A Tool for Cultural Enrichment

Lawrence Mahon
School of Education, Victoria University

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     Last modified: September 11, 2006
     Presentation date: 11/02/2006 4:15 PM in NT Trelawny
     (View Schedule)

SWIRL (Story Writing In Remote Locations) - a literacy enhancement -work skills, as well as computer literacy program for Aboriginal children in remote Northern Territory Aboriginal communities attempts to take the gift of literacy to remote Aboriginal communities, without the baggage that demands adherence to western cultural ideals which normally accompany that literacy.
This paper will describe, with examples, the processes that have developed with the SWIRL project in its eleven years of operation.
Children and community members, along side Victoria University student teams, develop culturally appropriate digital and conventional literacy artefacts, which remain the property of the communities, and may be used to assist children in those communities learn about aspects of their cultural heritage.
Spin-offs from the SWIRL project include many students returning to remote areas of Australia to teach full time upon their graduation. SWIRL participants tend to stay three times longer in remote communities than those recruited through conventional channels. Reasons for this will also be discussed.

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