The School of Education and Professional Studies has been supporting the Department of Education, Training and Employment’s iDream program since inception in 2011. Instigated by the Indigenous Schooling Support Unit – Central Southern Queensland (ISSU-CSQ), the innovative iDream program is targeted for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from years four to seven. The iDream Challenge has been integrated into nominated Education Queensland schools across five regions of Central Southern Queensland; South East, North Coast, Metropolitan, Darling Downs South West and Central Queensland.
Students conceptualise, plan, script, film, edit and submit a short (maximum 5 mins) DVD addressing the topic nominated by the university, with the support of a school-based staff member.
Dr Sue Whatman and Dr Ali Sammel devised two challenges which were completed by schools from the various regions. For the Health and Physical Education (HPE) Challenge, students from Wamuran State school submitted the winning entry, which was to devise an Indigenous Games curriculum intervention or Games Day, drawing upon the Yulunga Indigenous Games Resource. Wamuran SS decided to “train up” the students from their school with the support of their HPE teacher, by showing peers how to play various community Elder-approved Indigenous games in HPE curriculum time, before hosting a gala Indigenous Games day. They filmed the team asking for permission from community Elders to teach and play various games from their local community, the HPE classes, the games day itself, and finished off with a novel ending of a pop quiz asking various participants how they enjoyed the day.
For the first Science challenge, students were asked to investigate both the scientific understanding and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander understanding of a chosen concept. The aim of this challenge was to encourage students to understand, value and respect both ways both of knowing. The winners, Slade Point State School in Mackay, investigated making a bush tucker garden on their school grounds. This provided a wonderful way to mix Traditional Knowledge and the Sciences.
The following year, Griffith University was asked to prepare only one challenge, for which Dr Sammel and Dr Whatman combined to come up with “What makes you healthy and well?” – a blending of Aboriginal and non-Indigenous knowledge about well-being. The winning school, Rosewood State School, prepared an interview with an Elder from Fraser Island (Butchulla country), Aunty Lisa Powell, who was based in their local school community to share her knowledge of traditional medicines and everyday ways to stay healthy.
In 2013, Dr Sammel and Dr Whatman once again combined to offer a more Science-focused challenge, which ultimately became known as “misunderstood creatures”. Students from around the state were invited to choose an animal or bird that normally receives “bad press” and to share Indigenous knowledge about those creatures and Western “science” knowledge. The winning school, Carole Park State School (whom we discovered were multiple winners of other iDream challenges due to the consistently high quality of their entries), nominated the crocodile as their misunderstood creature. They scripted a high quality DVD that included a crocodile dance performance from peers who were given permission to share their knowledge of the dance, as well as an intriguing blend of Aboriginal and non-Indigenous knowledge about the importance of the crocodile.
The iDream challenge is currently offline in 2014 as DETE reviews its Indigenous education programs. The School of Education and Professional Studies has nothing but high praise for the externally sponsored and superbly run program and is ready and waiting to offer up Challenge number 4 when iDream comes back online.