Monday, October 24, 2016

mLearning for Aboriginal Pre-service Teachers in Remote Communities

Greetings from mLearn 2016  at UTS in Sydney, where Philip Townsend is speaking on "A Theory of Enhancement of Professional Learning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pre-service Teachers in Very Remote Communities through Mobile Learning". He pointed out that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have a much lower completion rate than the general population. The Community Based ITE program, specifically for students in remote areas, has an even lower completion rate than other forms of education. Philip has devoted his PHD research to finding if mobile devices can improve completion rates.

Philip pointed out that indigenous students have cultural obligations which can take them away from their studies for extended periods. A mobile device may assist, but who pays for the device and network access? In a remote indigenous communities prepaid access is typically used and the account may be shared with others. Also the institution has to offer an on-line strategy as part of the education. One important points was that Philip asserted that mobile devices are compatible with indigenous communities: this is not a technology which will be abandoned after the novelty wears off. Also he mentioned the Cooperative Research Centre for Remote Economic Participation.

I suggest that addressing the needs of remote students can assist all students. If we make courses flexible enough for the remote students, these courses will also be better for city and campus based students. For the last four years I have been an on-line distance education student and have been teaching this way for seven years. To me this is just normal education, which can be enhanced, where possible, with supplementary face-to-face classes.


Townsend, P., Halsey, J. R., & Guenther, J. (2016). Mobile Learning Congruencies with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Philosophies. In Publishing Higher Degree Research (pp. 25-32). SensePublishers. Retrieved from

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