Max Lenoy is Kuku Yalanji on his Dad’s side from Mossman and the Gulf area. Through his Mother, he connects to Hughenden and the Djirrbal and Warungum mobs. Max is leading our SSiSTEMIK Masterclass in Digital Technologies at the Australian Catholic University at their Banyo, Brisbane campus. Max is an educator who has spent significant time teaching pre-service and master level courses. He grew up in the Burdekin region, North Queensland and decided on this career path to maximise the positive impact for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
“I became a teacher because I love learning as well,” says Max, “it was an opportunity to grow as a person because Mum always encouraged us to read and learn. Being from a single parent family, at first it was Funk and Wagnall Encyclopedias, our sole source of connection to the outside world. That love of learning drove me to become a teacher to help others developing their learning and love of the world, to travel the world and learn at the same time,” said Max.
It’s a similar journey that has found him working in the digital technology space, and led him to do his Masters of Education at Harvard University in the United States focusing on education and technology of education. His overseas studies took him to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a university recognised for its leadership in technology and management globally. He says it was eye opener back in the 90s when the use of technology like the internet was just beginning.
“There was a world of digital spaces back there in the 90s and technology and innovation and change using technology and I was extremely interested in it.
That keen interest has led Max to question how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures have also innovated as a means to thrive on this continent in our diverse environments. Now he explores how teachers can embed their technology learnings in a space that encompasses Indigenous knowledges and the Indigenous use of technology and innovative practices and processes.
There are not many Indigenous teachers at secondary and primary working in technology curriculum spaces.
Most people would say that they’re not very technological, in this world, but Max says about this interview process;
“Here I am connected to a cloud-based system, from my office here in Townsville talking to someone in Sydney and we can see each other. Most of us would never have even imagined that could happen 20 years ago.
He says this Masterclass won’t change the way people teach, but it will show teachers how Indigenous people incorporate their perspectives and the ways that Indigenous people use technology. Participants will get an opportunity to gain an insight into the rich resources of their local Indigenous peoples and knowledges and how this can then connect into a classroom. For example, he says they might investigate how Indigenous people designed a method of weaving and products made from that process, to teach coding.
“That is technological and computational thinking and our mob learning how to weave and make from grass products is a parallel way of learning how to think how a computer thinks. The way you weave is the same way we code, and Indigenous people have been weaving through the ages for thousands of years.
Computational thinking is not just about using a laptop or an iPad, an ongoing process of weaving is one way you can learn how to code. It’s not about electricity, but recognising that it’s about sitting down and working out the problem.
“For example, how to make a basket. What is the process to do that? How do I do that, and tighten and loosen it to make its shape. How do I finish it off? We learn by making mistakes and learning to fix it. It’s hands on. To learn a code, let’s go and work with an aunty or uncle and learn to weave a basket.
The Stronger Smarter Digital Technologies Masterclass is a two-day workshop with Max Lenoy and SSI’s Senior Project Officer Jesse King. It begins on Monday the 24th to 25th June 2019 at the Australian Catholic University, Banyo Campus, Brisbane.
Join the Stronger Smarter Yarn!
How are Indigenous ways of thinking intrinsic within the Digital Technology Curriculum? Join Max Lenoy & Jesse King on the 22nd of May @ 5pm AEST for a short half-hour yarn at our 1st #StrongerSmarterYarns webinar. To join in the conversation, register here: http://bit.ly/SSYDT1CM
REGISTER NOW online! Applications prior to 24 May attract a 5% early eagle discount.