Schoolkids’ Dreamtime stories go hi-tech

Microsoft says it wants to expand the project nationally after the Sydney primary school students met with local Dharawal elders and turned the Dreamtime stories about animals and humans into an education tool.

The students used various apps including Minecraft to create learning cards and augmented reality software that can be used to teach other students.

Augmented reality superimposes a computer-generated image on real world objects and is used in Snapchat.

“One of the really important learnings for us has been that it’s only through a collaboration between industry and government and then schools that we really start to see impacts,” Microsoft Australia managing director Steven Worrall told AAP.

The program involving 20 students from five southwest Sydney schools was supported by the NSW education department and start-up Indigital, which uses mixed and augmented reality to translate and preserve ancient cultures.

Indigital was founded by Indigenous woman Mikaela Jade in Kakadu – a story all too rare in Australia’s male-dominated information and communications technology industry.

Worrall said the school project went some way to helping find new pathways for more people – specifically women and girls – into the technology space.

“(It’s) also to make sure we have more Indigenous people, people with disabilities, and people in regional centres working in IT,” he said.

He said the project also brought to life Microsoft’s reconciliation action plan, which seeks to empower Indigenous youth with tech skills and enable Indigenous innovation.