Speakers – Digital Inclusion Strand

Digital Inclusion in the Bush – exploring best practice models to facilitate accelerated digital inclusion across rural and remote Australia

The release of the Australian Digital Inclusion Index in 2016 provides a clear insight into the the demographics of those most in need of digital inclusion interventions, and will enable the development of collaborative and targeted approaches to digital empowerment in regional, rural and remote areas. This stream will look specifically at the challenges and barriers to creating a fully digitally enabled Australia, and explore the best practice models that are proving successful.

Theme Chair:  Apolline Kohen – Chair Broadband for the Bush Committee

Mini Menu: Featured Speaker, Keynotes and main speakers, ProgramDelegates – accommodation info, Registration

Mr John Geijsman. 

Community Liaison Librarian, State Library of Western Australia.


John has worked for the State Library of WA for almost 10 years in a variety of roles with his most recent roles including Community Liaison Librarian: Better Beginnings, and eLearning Librarian. For the last few years, John has been involved in the State Library’s Storylines project, as well as the Ideas Box project, among others. In his spare time, John is an avid LEGO collector and blogger, as well as a husband and first time father to be.

John’s contribution: Launching Western Australia’s first Ideas Box 

The State Library of Western Australia took the Ideas Box, a portable ultra-modern compact library on wheels, to a community in the West Kimberley.  What happens when the kids in the community are let loose on iPads, android tablets, games and books? The short answer, the Principal could not get them to go to lunch. Join me as I give a brief overview of Libraries without Borders, the Ideas Box and the State Library of WA launch of the Ideas Box in Yungngora Community.

The Ideas Box is a portable, ultra-modern compact library on wheels conceived by Libraries Without Borders (Bibliotheques Sans Frontieres) from France to provide vulnerable and isolated populations access to books, technology, and information. The Ideas Box fits on two pallets, and the contents are customisable for each community. The State Library installed the Ideas Box in Yungngora Aboriginal Community near Fitzroy Crossing.

Discussion questions:

  1. What happens when packages like the Ideas Box are taken into communities?
  2. What kind of community engagement would you expect from a socially or culturally isolated community?
  3. What is the first step in trying to engage a remote community in WA?
  4. What are other options for reaching communities with limited or no internet connection?
  5. How do you increase Digital Literacy without the internet?

Hitnet – robust, co-designed technology in remote Australia.

Julie Gibson

Julie Gibson, Director & Co-founder
Nickeema Williams, Community Connector


Julie is a ‘technologist at heart’ having spent many years working in corporate IT before joining Hitnet in 2005. She now manages the evolution of Hitnet’s technology platform while ensuring Hitnet remains a thriving social business. She’s passionate about creatively using technology to scale and further Hitnet’s social impact.

Nickeema joined Hitnet in 2015 to take on the vital role of liaising with communities to bring the My Place modules to life.

Nickeema Williams

As an artist, designer and photographer living and working in Woorabinda, her creative talents are being well used to address the issues facing Indigenous people.  She’s been heavily involved in exhibiting at the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair for the past few years.

Hitnet co-designs and innovates with remote Indigenous communities to develop technology that is robust, useful and simple to use.  The Hitnet WiFi hotspot, turning a touchscreen kiosk into a digital hub, is a recent example.  Hitnet codesigned with young people in Cape York, a mobile landing page with easy links to useful everyday online activities. This has provided a safe, curated, free online experience for remote Indigenous people, using locally stored content wherever possible.

Digital readiness of remote Indigenous researchers, are we there yet?

Aurelie Girard

Aurelie Girard and Valda Shannon

Whole of Community Engagement initiative, Charles Darwin University

Aurelie Girard has been working in the digital world for over 10 years and was exposed to the rapid-changing technology her entire life (GenY). Aurelie is the project coordinator of the Whole of Community Engagement initiative since 2015. She is currently undertaking a Master of Education international with CDU and her areas of research are language, literacy and Indigenous researchers and digital technology.

Valda Napurrula Shannon Wandaparri is a Walpiri/Warumungu woman who has been living and working in Jurnkurakurr since 1992. Valda’s most recent work has included writing culturally relevant programs for the Mental Health Association of Central Australian Suicide Prevention initiative which led her to draw on culture to connect with communities. Valda presented her work on the importance of addressing suicide through cultural practices at the United Nations Indigenous Forum in 2014. Her focus is ‘Walking in confidence in two worlds’ and embedding Indigenous culture within education, employment and processes to strengthen community cohesion through improved communication and information sharing.

Valda Shannon

In recent decades Indigenous research, has shifted from research ‘on’ to research ‘with’,  and shifted from ‘research ‘for’ to ‘by’. It makes sense that active participation of Indigenous peoples and researchers creates clarity and understanding of the research and findings.  A 2014 study (AITSIS and AIGI)  said use of digital technologies in Indigenous research is an enabler and a barrier, particularly within action research projects, which is the common way that research is conducted. What are the consequences of this?

We will share some stories about what it is like being an Indigenous researcher. We will focus on the experiences of the Indigenous researchers in collecting, recording, analysing and sharing data, communicating and working within and across research teams to meet research output and project requirements. We will highlight digital literacy barriers and enablers faced by remote Indigenous researchers. We will share what software, hardware and techniques we use and see if the audience uses alternatives. We will focus on the impact of poor broadband and connectivity as one of the factors impacting on people’s participation. Can Indigenous people develop digital literacy when their online experiences are limited?

We will use a roundtable technique to ask our audience what they have experienced and what barriers they have found. We will use a collection activity to gather ideas about potential solutions.  These will be fed into the key ideas of the forum.