Empowering Cultural Connection through Immersive Learning

Unveiling 'Sky Country': Harnessing Immersive Technology for Aboriginal Education

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at Riverbanks College B-12 participated in the ‘Connection to Sky’ XR project where they presented a student based workshop using their Lumination Learning Lab to show stories of ‘connection to sky’. Students planned, designed and created the learning experiences inside the Lab and were also tasked with delivering the workshop to other students from other schools at the Aboriginal STEM Congress.

This resulted in improved student learning outcomes. Students saw 60% increase in confidence to present in front of peers and 53% increase in skills using immersive technology, all led by student agency.

Background: 'Connection to Sky'

The ‘Connection to Sky’ XR project, led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait students at Riverbanks College B-12, delved into the profound connection between Aboriginal and Torres Strait People and the celestial realm. The initiative aimed to demonstrate how technology—specifically HHVR and merge cubes—could be utilized to tell stories of ‘Sky Country.’ This endeavor involved creating CoSpaces on ‘Dark Emu,’ a merge cube for reflective editing, and utilizing HHVR for exploring stellarium, incorporating Aboriginal and Torres Strait constellations.

The cultural relationship with ‘Sky Country’ is pivotal in the formation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait heritage as it emphasises the connection between land, sea, and the celestial sphere—an aspect often overlooked.

What Students Said

“I am more confident talking in front of people and more confident using the VR/AR content.” Koby, Student at Riverbanks College B-12.

“My team has helped me a lot to gain courage and be able to speak on my own in front of a lot of people.” Alyssa, Student at Riverbanks College B-12.

Koby and Alyssa are two of many students who expressed the invaluable role a Lumination Learning Lab had in bolstering confidence and accessibility to immersive technology for their project on ‘Connection to Sky’.

Empowering Student Agency and Immersive Learning

The project handed students the reins to design their learning experiences using immersive technology. Through skill training and ideation sessions, students not only planned but also executed the workshop, becoming ambassadors for their cultural narrative. This endeavor enabled them to run workshops for diverse student cohorts, amplifying learning outcomes.

The Lumination Learning Lab played a pivotal role, fostering an environment conducive to exploration and creativity. The low-risk, high-engagement setup empowered students to embrace immersive technology, nurturing their agency in crafting educational experiences.

“[The Lumination Learning Lab] is definitely going to boost student outcomes, and it is a nice system. There’s lots of support.” Rowan Hearne, Senior Leader – Learning Technology and Data was heavily involved in supporting the Lab implementation at Riverbanks College B-12.

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Presenting at STEM Congress: A Roadmap to Engagement

At the Aboriginal STEM Congress, Riverbanks students showcased their workshop, utilizing handheld tech. Students gained more confidence using XR technology through this project, with an increase of 53%. This enabled students to lead and successfully engage with fellow students, emphasizing the project’s impact on student agency and adaptability.

Sophie Thorpe, a Year 7/9 Digital Tech Teacher at Riverbanks College B-12, was with her class at the Aboriginal STEM conference and saw the impact the technology had on the students in preparation for their presentations, “The impact of this has been amazing because they’ve been so empowered. They’re really proud of what they’ve made, and they’ve made it all themselves. All they were taught was how, and then they just went ahead and made the rest themselves.”

Extending the Lesson: From Presentation to Creation

Returning to Riverbanks, students involved in the project ran their own lessons with their peers, providing students with an opportunity to demonstrate their own learning.

Koby, Student at Riverbanks College B-12, enjoyed the ability to collaborate and present the final project in front of his peers. “We’re working as a team, doing it all as a team. Once we got rolling, we couldn’t be stopped.”

Utilizing Tilt Brush, students expanded their storytelling abilities, fostering leadership and collaboration with classmates by guiding their peers through immersive experiences that they have created. The Lab facilitated high engagement and discussions, amplifying the dialogue around ‘Sky Country.’

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Expanding Aboriginal Studies through the Lab

Creating a Deeper Cultural Connection

Looking ahead, there’s immense potential to deepen Aboriginal studies using the Lab. This is one of only many projects that can be created for student learning. Ideas include leveraging Google Earth to explore the night sky and sacred sites, and employing creative tools like Tilt Brush for storytelling and artistic exploration, providing an innovative approach to Aboriginal education.

Using a Lumination Learning Lab, Riverbanks students not only embraced immersive technology but also celebrated their heritage, bridging cultural narratives with cutting-edge educational tools. In fact, 67% of students preferred using the Lumination Learning Lab to develop their project compared to a traditional classroom.

Sophie Thorpe – Year 7/9 Digital Tech Teacher, Riverbanks College B-12 sees the value in the Lab for student agency and learning outcomes. “Students can see what’s actually possible out there and see these future careers and see themselves as STEM thinkers of tomorrow.”

The increase in preference from student’s to use the Lab enabled better engagement in the project. The Lab transformed learning experiences but also empowered students to become custodians of their stories, fostering a deeper appreciation for Aboriginal culture and ‘Sky Country.’

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Measuring Learning Outcomes for Students

To measure student learning outcomes in relation to confidence, skill, and creation, our Learning Designer, Jolanta, surveyed students once their project was complete. Jolanta also spoke directly with teachers and school leaders about their experience using their Lumination Learning Lab pre, during and post project to develop the outcomes of this case study.

Results and Learnings

This study demonstrated the application and benefits for student learning outcomes using immersive technology, namely a Lumination Learning Lab. This resulted in key learning outcomes students have gained during the ‘Connection to Sky’ XR project.

“I think we need to start incorporating this learning into schools because it’s the way of the future.” Sophie Thorpe – Year 7/9 Digital Tech Teacher.

Increasing Confidence

Students who participated in the project saw a 60% increase in confidence when presenting in public. This skill is imperative for students as it is required to succeed, moving into more senior years at school and also an important skill future employers look for when hiring.

Upskilling Students

Students saw a 53% increase in skills using immersive technology during the ‘Connection to Sky’ XR project. As XR technology is being utilised more in industry, students are gaining crucial skills that will prepare them for future studies and career opportunities.

Student Preference with a Lumination Learning Lab

During the ‘Connection to Sky’ XR project it was obvious that students had a preference to use their Lumination Learning Lab to create and present their projects. Of the students that participated in the project, 67% preferred using a Lumination Learning Lab compared to a traditional classroom.

“Kids want to come into the Lab…they love it and want to be in here.” Rowan Hearne, Senior Leader – Learning Technology and Data.

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Learn More About A Lumination Learning Lab

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