A former park ranger from Australia has developed a storytelling app to teach the younger generation about the country’s indigenous people. Mikaela Jade, founder of Indigital, Australia’s first indigenous edu-tech company, said it is fitting that the technology is presented at Expo 2020 Dubai, with its theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.’


Jade, herself a Cabrogal from the Dharug-speaking Nations of Sydney, said: “Looking at the knowledge that we have in the past, looking at what our old people knew about [our culture] and projecting that into the future through technologies, and imagining what we can do with all that knowledge, is so exciting. And to have it at Expo 2020 with 192 countries thinking about the same thing is phenomenal.”

She held a workshop showcasing the app on Sunday, 12 December, at the Terra Auditorium in the Sustainability District.

The edu-tech start-up was formed in 2014. It specialises in technology development and digital skills training in augmented and mixed realities, artificial intelligence, machine learning and the Internet of Things, among others. The company aims to close the digital divide between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples by providing a pathway into the digital economy.

Jade, who worked as a park ranger for 21 years at the Great Barrier Reef, the Ningaloo and Kakadu National Parks, and in Canberra, said: “It seems like a good idea to be able to mix our old culture and our language and law with technology like augmented and mixed reality.” Jade said through the programme, which is linked to the Australian educational curriculum, school children work with elders in the community, who decide what stories from the past they want to share with the next generation.

Jade said: “Language and story…they share that with the children and then we use that story to create three-dimensional augmented reality characters to share their story. [The school children] are learning new digital skills, [while] learning about their culture and language.”

She said 7,500 students have benefited from the programme: “It is doing so good, so far. The students love it.”

Jade said they are currently working with the Māori people in New Zealand and the Saik’Uz in Canada to introduce the programme there.

By: Maureen Dracket-Fuller & Delroy Constantine-Simms