ADDRESS

University of South Australia

 

School of Education

Magill Campus
Adelaide, South Australia 5072

 

peter.buckskin@unisa.edu.au

IN COLLABORATION WITH 

© 2018 by University of South Australia

Commonwealth of Australia

CASE STUDIES

Six case studies were conducted to locate, identify  and analyse how Mathematics and STEM education programs or initiatives aligned with Indigenous students  funds of knowledge.

Importantly, each case study positioned real world contexts to demonstrate the need and relevance for culturally responsive approaches to become adopted more broadly in teaching and learning designs. Arising form these case studies was the emergence of a tool that describes  culturally responsive characteristics and strategies.

ASSETS

(SA)

“The case study is centred on the legacy of the Adelaide ASSETS Program to examine STEM Education for young Indigenous Australians. The program has now become a broader five-year project partnership between CSIRO and the BHP Billiton Foundation”

CURTIN UNIVERSITY (WA)

The Indigenous Australian Engineering Summer School (IAESS) program, fosters connections between students and further education opportunities at Curtin University. The program focuses on immersing students in the university experience and highlighting  pathways to higher education. 

WESTERN SYDNEY UNIVERSITY (NSW)

Western Sydney University Student Engagement Program provides programs that link students with connected learning experiences. The program aims to highlight opportunities at university for Aboriginal students and demonstrate pathways to tertiary education.

NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY (NSW)

Newcastle University employs a 'whole school' approach to engage 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait students and their engagement in learning. The Wollotuka Institute provides school and community engagement activities that give back to the community through reciprocal relationships. 

CHARLES DARWIN UNIVERSITY (NT)

This case study presents an opportunity to outline remote community perspectives and describe CDU’s community engagement strategy but also highlight broader questions that shape Indigenous participation in formal Western scientific programs and institutions.

UNISA COLLEGE

(SA)

This case studies views the College's pathways to study in both metropolitan and regional campuses. It is further underpinned by the University of South Australia's strategy for equity. With a joint collaboration with school the College engages students in STEM through workshops and tutorials

ASSETS

(SA)

Aboriginal Summer School for Excellence in Technology and Science (ASSETS)

Core features:

 

Engagement strategy:   Annual residential summer school (10 days)

Student catchment:       Australia-wide with merit-based student selection process

Age-group:                        Years 10-11

Funding source:              Philanthropic (including BHP Billiton Foundation)

 

Outcomes:

Of the 20 participants in the 2008 summer school, 14 were contacted in 2010: 7 studying at university; 1 working full-time and studying part-time; 3 in full-time careers; 2 trade apprenticeships; 1 traineeship with TAFE study.

Strengths: 

Free to students. Incorporates academic, cultural, social, identity components. Culturally appropriate accommodation. Delivery by scientists, Indigenous academics, mentors and Elders. Time on Country. High stakes final presentations to scientific audience. Now offered in three locations (Adelaide, Townsville and Newcastle).

Challenges:

Ongoing support for ASSETS participants during their final years of schooling through transition to university. Competition with other science summer schools. Requires ongoing financial investment to ensure continuity and sustainability.

From the report:

A significant observation of the ASSETS program is its strong focus on scientific learning and research that is responsive to contemporary issues, and the continued outreach/engagement activities with local Indigenous communities. The integration of Indigenous knowledges and Western content through scientific investigations improves fluency and speed of border crossing cultures.

A key ingredient to ASSETS‘ success seems to be coupling self-esteem and identity to the validation and celebration of Indigenous cultures using science.

It is clear the program succeeds in increased student cultural pride, enjoyment, satisfaction and self-belief from feeling valued and understood as an Indigenous learner.

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CURTIN UNIVERSITY (WA)

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The Curtin University (WA) Indigenous Australian Engineering Summer School (IAESS).

Core features:

 

Engagement strategy:   Annual residential summer school

Student catchment:       Mainly Western Australia (targeting remote areas)

Age-group:                        Years 9-12

Funding source:              Philanthropic (Engineering Aid Australia) and HEPPP

 

Outcomes:

2014 survey data found: 95% of the students said they felt IAESS was valuable; 90% said their perception of engineering had improved; 75% said it increased their interest in studying engineering at university. Started in 2010; now in 6th year; 20-25 students each year. Academically supported exciting and educational activities. First student from program now enrolled

in engineering.

Strengths: 

Pastoral care by Indigenous mentors. Opportunity for return visits. Culturally-appropriate engagement. Students provided with laptops or iPads to maintain connections with peers after completion of summer school. Rich connections with engineering industries. Focus on problem solving.

Challenges:

Long term financial sustainability. Availability of participants. Co-operating, rather than competing with other similar programs.

From the report:

The objectives of IAESS are to provide a challenging environment for Indigenous students:

  • to discover the benefits of the engineering profession

  • to provide a forum for students to meet engineering role models

  • to gain insights into the excitement and opportunities engineering can provide to Indigenous communities.

The IAESS program includes problem-solving tasks set which students work in teams to solve. The DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve and Control) framework is modeled for solving engineering problems.

There is clear evidence that the IAESS program has opened up Higher Education pathways for some participants, and that students value this investment.

Students have the opportunity to return over several years, building capacity for university study. Return visits also build capacity for participants to become future mentors.

 
 

WESTERN SYDNEY UNIVERSITY

(NSW)

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Western Sydney University School Engagement Programs.

Core features:

 

Engagement strategy:    School Engagement Programs

Student catchment:       Outer Sydney and regional NSW

Age-group:                         Starting Year 3-4, currently through to Year 10 (Year 11-12 program under development)

Funding source:               Primarily HEPPP funding and philanthropic

 

Outcomes:

Engagement program has not been running long enough to have students complete to university entry age. In 2015, 452 students from 22 schools participated in the Pathways To Dreaming program. A website was launched in 2015 featuring an interactive educational game called Lightning Runners which draws on traditional Indigenous knowledge and sustainability, linked to Heartbeat’s themes. Since 2010, over 1,300 students have taken part in Heartbeat.

Strengths: 

Range of inter-connected programs that build capacity for university study and familiarity with the university environment. Extensive consultation with communities, Aboriginal Elders and educators through an Engagement Plan which responds to community needs.

Challenges:

Sustainability post-HEPPP funding

From the report:

Beginning in Year 8 and continuing through to the completion of schooling, ‘Pathways To Dreaming’ is designed to engage Indigenous students in education … This initiative is not specifically STEM focused, but does include some STEM subjects.

The ‘Heartbeat’ program for Indigenous school students focuses on health, medicine and related sciences.

 

Examples of STEM-related activities offered within the ‘Heartbeat’ program include:

  • Healthy Food Choices: Students learn about the Food Pyramid. (Years 3/4)

  • Aboriginal Science: A walk and talk about the plants on campus – including their medicinal and bush tucker uses. (Years 5/6)

  • Chemistry: What chemistry is and what it is used for, including an experiment. (Years 5/6)

  • Sensory Physiology: Students are seated in a computer lab, looking at optical illusions, look at their own eyes and learning about colour blindness – exploring why people see particular things. (Years 7/8)

  • Simulation Lab: Students see the nursing simulation lab used for training. They learn basic life support simulation training and test their CPR skills. (Year 9)

NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY

(NSW)

Western Sydney University School Engagement Programs.

Core features:

 

Engagement strategy:    School Engagement Programs

Student catchment:       Outer Sydney and regional NSW

Age-group:                         Starting Year 3-4, currently through to Year 10 (Year 11-12 program under development)

Funding source:               Primarily HEPPP funding and philanthropic

 

Outcomes:

Engagement program has not been running long enough to have students complete to university entry age. In 2015, 452 students from 22 schools participated in the Pathways To Dreaming program. A website was launched in 2015 featuring an interactive educational game called Lightning Runners which draws on traditional Indigenous knowledge and sustainability, linked to Heartbeat’s themes. Since 2010, over 1,300 students have taken part in Heartbeat.

Strengths: 

Range of inter-connected programs that build capacity for university study and familiarity with the university environment. Extensive consultation with communities, Aboriginal Elders and educators through an Engagement Plan which responds to community needs.

Challenges:

Sustainability post-HEPPP funding

From the report:

Beginning in Year 8 and continuing through to the completion of schooling, ‘Pathways To Dreaming’ is designed to engage Indigenous students in education … This initiative is not specifically STEM focused, but does include some STEM subjects.

The ‘Heartbeat’ program for Indigenous school students focuses on health, medicine and related sciences.

 

Examples of STEM-related activities offered within the ‘Heartbeat’ program include:

  • Healthy Food Choices: Students learn about the Food Pyramid. (Years 3/4)

  • Aboriginal Science: A walk and talk about the plants on campus – including their medicinal and bush tucker uses. (Years 5/6)

  • Chemistry: What chemistry is and what it is used for, including an experiment. (Years 5/6)

  • Sensory Physiology: Students are seated in a computer lab, looking at optical illusions, look at their own eyes and learning about colour blindness – exploring why people see particular things. (Years 7/8)

  • Simulation Lab: Students see the nursing simulation lab used for training. They learn basic life support simulation training and test their CPR skills. (Year 9)

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CHARLES DARWIN UNIVERSITY

(NT)

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Charles Darwin University Whole of Community Engagement (WCE) Initiative.

Core features:

 

Engagement strategy:    Various programs, including Whole of Community Engagement(WCE) initiative

Student catchment:       Within a national and international student body, WCE is specifically focused on remote Indigenous communities

Age-group:                         Senior schooling to post-school

Funding source:               WCE funded via HEPPP

 

Outcomes:

WCE aims to increase remote Indigenous student access to CDU’s VET and Higher Education courses. Community-based forums, staff and community relationships are well-established.

Strengths: 

Partnerships with a diverse range of institutions. Programs engage dual epistemological scientific approaches within a ‘both ways’ philosophy. Local communities, knowledges and potential students are engaging with the university.

Challenges:

Strategic marketing attracts high-achieving Indigenous students to interstate universities. Lack of appropriate subsidies to mitigate the high cost of living in Darwin for students attending university, among other concerns. The WCE program sits within a long-term plan that is unlikely to remain viable without HEPPP funding.

From the report:

Charles Darwin University (CDU) currently works in partnership with the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education (BIITE) through the Australian Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Education (ACIKE) and is founded on Batchelor’s  ‘both ways’ philosophy (Huijser et al 2015; Ober & Bat 2007; Yunupingu 1999) of working between and across Indigenous Knowledge and Western science spaces.

The ‘Whole of Community Engagement’ initiative is a research informed process aimed at increasing remote Indigenous student access to CDU‘s VET and Higher Education courses.

As part of the field work for this case study, an experienced mathematics educator and professional association member were interviewed to explore the geographical and cultural issues that face young Indigenous Northern Territorians living remotely who have interest and aspirations in pursuing STEM in Higher Education. In this sense, this case study focuses more closely on the remote Indigenous community context than the nature of Indigenous participation in the university‘s more-mainstream courses.

The CDU/Batchelor model stands as a unique approach to Indigenous engagement in Higher Education through resisting language and impulses towards notions of deficit and disadvantage and instead, adopts an approach that builds on the strength of Indigenous communities, languages and knowledges in their approach to teaching and research in a dual epistemological context.

 

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA COLLEGE

(SA)

UniSA College student Indigenous Pathways Program and Engagement Program.

Core features:

 

Engagement strategy:    Multiple strategies. Alternative pathway to University. Collaboration with schools to co-design  targeted STEM programs;                                                        workshops on specific STEM themes; STEM tutorial program

Student catchment:        Primarily northern and western suburbs of Adelaide

Age-group:                         STEM engagement strategies target Years 10, 11, 12

Funding source:                HEPPP funding

 

Outcomes:

UniSA College is establishing an Indigenous Participation Pathways Program in Mt Gambier, Ceduna, Port Lincoln, Whyalla, and for the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankkunytjatjara (APY) Lands students as a new way of delivering Foundation Studies. Introduced the AIME (Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience) program, and in 2015 there were 350 student mentors.

Strengths: 

Underpinned by a University-wide equity strategy. Focus on engaging with groups who are under-represented at university. Enrichment program for secondary Mathematics/Science teachers to build capacity. Year 12 STEM Tutorial Program: free revision programs in Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics Studies, and Biology offered to students from low SES schools. Links developed with the South Australian Aboriginal Sports Training Academy, using sport to engage Indigenous youth with mathematics and science.

Challenges:

Sustainability post-HEPPP funding.

From the report:

The UniSA Connect team engages with secondary schools and the community to inspire further study and educational attainment, particular in the areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and career development.

One of the key activities of the UniSA Connect team has been developing enrichment programs that consist of two-hour UniSA College workshops, or one-day or two-day programs for students. Examples are workshops on geospatial sciencephysics, and 3D printers.

The UniSA College provides an exemplar of an equity strategy that includes the following elements:

  • Offers one of the last truly open access Foundation Studies program in Australia which provides entry into pre-university preparation courses and then into a range of undergraduate degrees including STEM courses.

  • Provides a platform for offering professional development for teachers. UniSA College has prioritised STEM and hence has multiple projects with mathematics and science teachers.

  • Provides introductory events for prospective students including career awareness, enrichment activities on specific-STEM themes, and provides support for UniSA’s version of the ‘AIME Program’ (Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience) with the extra support from the ‘Deadly Alumni’.

  • Facilitates and supports the development of equity initiatives with schools and Divisions and especially with those responsible for STEM courses.

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