The overview of this learning area invites students to “identify, explore, understand and analyse the interconnectedness between technologies and Identity, People, Culture and Country/Place. They explore how this intrinsic link guides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in sustaining environments, histories, cultures and identities” (ACARA, 2015). The Living Archive provides an opportunity for students to view how Indigenous people in the Northern Territory have incorporated technologies into their knowledge transmission, in the creation of hundreds of books in language during the era of bilingual education (Bow, Christie & Devlin, 2016). Dating back to the 1970s, when the printing process was comparatively basic, there is a huge range of technologies represented, from simple offset printing of line drawings and hand-written text, to typed text and two-colour printing, through to interesting and creative presentations done with desktop publishing software and equipment. Some stories can be tracked across the different eras, such as the story of The Little Frog, which appears in several different versions in a number of different languages (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Different versions of ‘The Little Frog’ from the Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages.


Source: Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages,

The Digital Technologies curriculum is an ideal place to encourage interaction and collaboration with Indigenous communities across the country. As in the Media Arts curriculum, there is space to create multimedia versions of the materials in the archive, with the permission and collaboration of the story owners. Numerous software packages allow creative combinations of text, image and audio files, and guidelines for a digital story competition promoted by the Living Archive project team in 2015 give step-by-step instructions on how to take a story from the archive and bring it to life, and seeking permission from the story owner to make such a derivative and upload it back to the archive (Living Archive, 2015b).

Other aspects of design technology that can be identified in the archive include instructional materials on design and traditional technologies, such as how to make a bark armband (Munkara, 1991), or a ceremonial hat (Egan & Gallagher, 2008) or other ceremonial items (Gallagher, 2009). Indigenous design technologies such as boomerangs, yidaki, woomera, etc., appear in many of the items in the collection, and can be explored for aspects of their design and purpose. More contemporary explorations of Indigenous engagement with technology can be found through projects such as Indigenous Digital Excellence (National Centre of Indigenous Excellence, n.d.).

Taken from Bow, C. (2016). Using authentic language resources to incorporate Indigenous knowledges across the Australian Curriculum. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts, 20, 20–39. Available from