In August and September this year six men from the community of Canteen Creek, in the Barkly region of the Northern Territory, took on the challenge of learning skills in using computers, mobile devices, searching the internet and publishing their own multimedia creations via social media.

The program run by CAT, delivered a group of ‘digital domain’ units from the Certificate I in Information and Communications Technology Training package. The group of units offers a really useful blend of office productivity skills (Intro to PC, Word and PowerPoint) alongside a well thought out set of elective units designed to introduce learners to the world of social interaction via the web.

 This mix of units allowed learners to gain basic ICT proficiency, but with an emphasised focus on developing the rudimentary skills needed to manipulate multimedia.  Basically all learners demonstrate their capacity to edit and mix [Mash] Music, spoken word, video footage, photos and graphics into programs such as Photo Story 3 and PowerPoint. And as a group exercise they undertook team work on a video edit to be uploaded to a YouTube channel.

 All students’ sign up for a Gmail account and those who choose to open a Facebook account do. Abstainers nonetheless also learn to contribute and communicate multimedia via their email account and into a Community Facebook page.  Again the focus is on basic manipulation of multimedia prior to publishing/contributing over Internet channels.

Two distinct advantages of this Training Package delivery on remote communities are firstly it provides a personally enabling medium over which students can socially, globally interact, and secondly the multimedia editing, manipulation and conveyancing skills covered in this course demand good spatial awareness skills without the need for high level reading and writing skills.

 All but one of the students now has a Facebook account and all have a gmail account. Every morning they all logged and checked Facebook and email accounts, checked the news and dealt with any requests. This models responsible social interaction over the net while uncovering the personally liberating capacity that today’s networked society provides. As stated by the trainer Fred Richardson, “I still find it, I don’t know, charming, that two blokes will sit next to each other messaging each other over Facebook! And it’s great to hear of students who have travelled into Alice or Tennant and dropped into one of the Internet Cafes to check what is happening in their world.”