Co-creating digital resources for informal language education: Home tutors and migrants learning and teaching in a rural community

Year: 2016

Author: Kettle, Margaret

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Migration and settlement are increasingly impacting on regional and rural communities as skilled migrants take up jobs in abattoirs and other workplaces. The Queensland 2011 census data show that 20.5% of Queensland’s population was born overseas with rising overseas-born populations in metropolitan and regional areas (DATSIMA, 2012). Almost 1 in 10 of Queensland’s residents was born in a non-Main English speaking Country (non-MESC) with about 423, 840 Queenslanders speaking a language other than English at home. This paper describes a Living Lab research project involving a volunteer home tutoring program for Brazilian women in a rural town located two hours from Brisbane. Living Lab methodology emphasises “co-creation and appropriation of innovations by users often in a (online or offline) community setting” (Ballon & Schuurman, 2015). The Lab presented here was part of an ARC Linkage project (LP130100469) designed to identify new ways of enabling regional and rural residents to develop their digital skills and confidence. In the town, the project focused on the co-creation of ways for home tutors to use digital technology to design and deliver informal English language lessons to their Brazilian ‘clients’. The home tutors, researcher, clients and TAFE-based Australian Migrant Education Program (AMEP) coordinator met monthly in the town library to discuss digital innovations in home tutoring and to receive input from the researcher ‘expert’. This paper presents the principles of Living Lab methodology and the ways they facilitated growing digital competence and confidence among the tutors seeking ways to teach English. It highlights the tutors’ commitment to lifelong learning and community building, and provides an example of informal education in a rural setting undergoing cultural and linguistic change. Ballon, P. & Schuurman, D. (2015). Editorial introduction: Living Lab: Concepts, tools, and Cases. info, 17(4). Retrieved from of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs (DATSIMA) (2012). Diversity figures. Retrieved from