Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures Illustrations of practice

What do a humanoid robot and the recently awakened Narungga language have in common?


Maitland Lutheran School is an independent, co-educational primary and middle school located in the farming district of Maitland, Yorke Peninsula in South Australia on the traditional lands of the Narungga People. The school has an enrolment of 237 students, of whom 16% are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

This illustration of practice shows how teachers embed the local Narungga language into the Digital Technologies learning area in Years 3 and 4 (with some Year 1) through the guidance of a fluent Narungga speaker and the use of a humanoid robot.

The school participated in the 3-year Humanoid Robot Research Project. This was a collaboration between the Association of Independent Schools, South Australia and universities from around Australia.

OI2: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities maintain a special connection to and responsibility for Country/Place

OI4: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies have many Language Groups

ICT Capability (Level 3)

  • Creating with ITC | Generate, plans and processes | use ICT to generate ideas and plan solutions
  • Creating with ITC | Generate solutions to challenges and learning area tasks | create and modify simple digital solutions, creative outputs or data representation/transformation for particular purposes

 Critical and Creative Thinking (Level 3)

  • Generating ideas, possibilities and actions | Seek solutions and put ideas into action | experiment with a range of options when seeking solutions and putting ideas into action

Technologies (Year 3-4)

Digital Technologies | Knowledge and Understanding

  • Identify and explore a range of digital systems with peripheral devices for different purposes, and transmit different types of data (ACTDIK007)

Digital Technologies | Processes and Production Skills

  • Define simple problems, and describe and follow a sequence of steps and decisions (algorithms) needed to solve them (ACTDIP010)
  • Implement simple digital solutions as visual programs with algorithms involving branching (decisions) and user input (ACTDIP011)
  • Explain how student solutions and existing information systems meet common personal, school or community needs (ACTDIP012)
  • Plan, create and communicate ideas and information independently and with others, applying agreed ethical and social protocols (ACTDIP013)


Languages (Year 3-6)

Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages | Language Revival Learner Pathway (LR) |

  • Communicating | Socialising | Participate in guided tasks that involve following instructions, making things, cooperating with peers, planning for and conducting shared events, activities or school performances [Key concepts: collaboration, planning, performance; Key processes: compiling, planning, rehearsing, making] (ACLFWC153)
  • Communicating | Informing | Convey information on specific topics using formats such as oral or digital presentations, displays, diagrams [Key concepts: Country/Place, community life; Key processes: creating, presenting, profiling] (ACLFWC156)
  • Understanding | Systems of language | Distinguish and produce the speech sounds of the language, understanding how these are represented in writing [Key concepts: punctuation, upper and lower case letters, diacritics, (ACLFWU163)



In what ways can both Aboriginal students and non-Indigenous students benefit from the learning that brings together a sleeping Aboriginal language and skills such as problem solving and coding through cutting edge digital technologies?

How does the collaboration with an Aboriginal language speaker help to build pride and cultural empowerment in students and community?

What other technologies can be used instead of a robotics to deliver similar outcomes, for example Claymation, Scratch, little robots and cheap motherboards?





Information about the Humanoid Robot Research Project can be found athttp://www.ais.sa.edu.au/humanoid-robot-research-project/

Referred paper ‘The Impact of humanoid robots on students’ computational thinking’: http://www.ais.sa.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/Pages/STEM/Impact-of-humanoid-robots-on-students-computational-thinking.pdf

Springer International published  ‘Involving Everyone: Coding and Decoding Languages’  in Tomorrow’s Learning Involving Everyone IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2017.  Published by Springer International Publishing AG 2017. A. Tatnall and M. Webb (Eds.): WCCE 2017, pp. 579–588, 2017. Published 2018

ACEL Australian Education Leader Vol 39 No 4, article by the Humanoid Robot Project Team on ‘Humanoid robots awaken ancient language.’ Published 2017.

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