Improving the numeracy and literacy skills of residents in remote Indigenous communities is an essential part of any program aimed at significantly improving the wellbeing and future job prospects of community members and closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.
Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education and Charles Darwin University are pleased to announce the development of a new online literacy tool called Read English on the Web (REOW).
Batchelor Institute Associate Professor Lyn Fasoli says ‘Read English On the Web’ targets Indigenous adult learners with limited learning experience in formal settings, low levels of formal education and low levels of literacy in their first language.
‘The development of REOW was a collaborative project between Charles Darwin University and Batchelor Institute and was funded by the Australian Federal Government’s, Industry Training Strategies Programme for Indigenous Regional Projects,’ Associate Professor Lyn Fasoli said.
John Greatorex from the School of Australian Indigenous Knowledge Systems at CDU says the project originated from repeated requests made by people in remote communities, particularly homeland centres.
‘They are looking to use digital technologies for culturally appropriate education in English and computer literacy. The REOW program includes texts that support Indigenous homeland centre sustainability – such as how to apply for a driver’s license, how to send out an invoice, or how to fill in official forms,’ John Greatorex said.
The REOW computer program was designed by Associate Professor Kaye Lowe from the University of Canberra who says the main aim of the new online tool was to support Indigenous adults with low literacy skills to achieve literacy success.
‘With the support of screen readers, learners choose what to read, explore how reading works, engage in interactive reading activities, and learn basic skills in using the computer and the word processor. Adult learners are able to learn independently, privately, and at their own pace,’ Associate Professor Kaye Lowe said.
Associate Professor Michael Christie, from the School of Education at Charles Darwin University, says the program has many potential users including people training to be Indigenous education workers or health workers.
REOW is being trialled at the moment and will be ready to be rolled out in the New Year. The program can be found at www.cdu.edu.au/reow.