How rock band Pearl Jam boosts Griffith’s northern digital literacy program

Rock band Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy Foundation has provided a $60,000 grant to accelerate digital literacy for the children of Laura State School in Cape York Peninsula, remote far north Queensland.

Oct 09, 2023, updated Oct 09, 2023
Griffith University gets funding from Pearl Jam's foundation (photo supplied)

Griffith University gets funding from Pearl Jam's foundation (photo supplied)

The funding would be spent updating digital technology at the school and providing professional development opportunities to staff, delivered by educational experts from Griffith University.

Pearl Jam was one of the most popular grunge rock bands in the 1990s.

The funding was sparked by researchers at Griffith who have been developing an artificial intelligence (AI) tool to help catalogue Aboriginal rock art while engaging Indigenous children in cutting-edge research and new cross-cultural pathways toward a passion for learning.

Project lead Professor Lynley Wallis said there were thousands of sandstone rock shelters throughout Cape York Peninsula and almost all had amazing rock art in them.

“Using AI to help catalogue the rock art images will help streamline documentation of the art, allowing more sites to be recorded,” Professor Wallis said.

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“We have been working with the Laura Rangers, Indigenous Elders and Laura State School to identify and catalogue these precious sites using AI and, while the project is underpinned by the need to protect the rock art in the future, it also aspires to connecting that heritage with the local community.”

The researchers are developing teaching modules, resources and tools which would provide a clearer understanding of how communities, researchers and schools could successfully collaborate to transform educational culture and practices.

These resources are being piloted at the Laura State School and target aspects of the Australian Curriculum related to technology where there is an established ‘digital divide’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students.



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