James Nash State High school students Smanatah Cora (left) and Alinta Lewis at work on the new MARVIN program with Gordon Browning (seated centre) and (back from left) Aunty Olive, Ken Meldrum, Cheryl Greinke, Aunty Dot and Tanya Easterby.
James Nash State High school students Smanatah Cora (left) and Alinta Lewis at work on the new MARVIN program with Gordon Browning (seated centre) and (back from left) Aunty Olive, Ken Meldrum, Cheryl Greinke, Aunty Dot and Tanya Easterby. Craig Warhurst

Indigenous parents take on MARVIN

GYMPIE’S Indigenous parents and community organisations are leading the way in seeking to enhance learning outcomes for their children by becoming trainers in MARVIN (Messaging Architecture for the Retrieval of Versatile Information and News).

The management group has been successful in obtaining funding from the Parental and Community Engagement program (PaCE) through the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. Cooloola Human Services Network will auspice the project.

The PaCE Program is a community driven program which focuses on the development and implementation of creative and innovative approaches to improve the educational outcomes of Indigenous school students through enhancing Indigenous parental engagement with schools and education providers.

Indigenous parents and key stakeholders are excited about the project that will see the world- renowned MARVIN Train the Trainer workshops and presentations being conducted in Gympie for Indigenous parents. Parents will become Trainers in MARVIN to engage with other parents, students and education providers to improve the educational outcomes of Indigenous school students to support closing the gap in literacy and numeracy.

MARVIN software uses 3D animated characters to communicate messages that are relevant and acceptable to community and school based audiences.

The interactive characters can be programmed to speak local community lingo, helping users to comprehend and accept the message conveyed by MARVIN.

“MARVIN was developed as an educational tool to help people communicate important messages about health and education within indigenous communities by people in the health industry and government agencies,” Project manager Tanya Easterby said.

MARVIN users are able to develop their own presentations by collecting local images, selecting characters, adding voice recordings, typing in messages and creating storyboards. MARVIN software animations can even be translated into multiple languages by converting text-based documents into sound files.

Another interesting feature of this animation software design is that it recognises that students and teachers and people had different learning styles.

So, by creating an animated education tool that met different learning styles all at the same time was important. People could read the content, they were able to listen to the content or they could see what the character was doing as an animation tool to enforce that content.

“Because the characters are not ‘real people’ they are great for discussing topics that are culturally embarrassing or taboo,” Gympie’s Indigenous Health Worker Gordon Browning said.

A partnership with the Australian Government means workshop participants can access a free licence to use MARVIN.

Gympie Times


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