Always Was, Always Will Be

This year the National Library of Australia is celebrating NAIDOC Week (8-15 November 2020) by hosting the inaugural NAIDOC Minecraft Education Challenge.

Delivered in partnership by Indigital and Indigenous Digital Excellence (IDX), an initiative co-founded by the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) and Telstra Foundation, and backed by Telstra Foundation, Microsoft, the National NAIDOC Committee, and the National Library of Australia.

Watch the Awards Ceremony


During NAIDOC Week at the National Library, the Indigital team will work with kids who will take inspiration from Young Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe, Welcome to Country by Marcia Langton, Birrarung Wilam by Aunty Joy Murphy and Pipps and Dronie by Paul Mead to create characters in Augmented Reality. They are exploring the question:

‘How might we build sustainable schools, cities, towns or communities in 2030 using Indigenous science, technology, engineering, arts and maths?’.  

Kids will learn how to create aspects of the stories in Minecraft Education Edition to create culturally grounded games. They can take home their digital creations to show their family and friends. 

They will be guided by some of Australia's foremost Indigenous technologists Mikaela Jade and Matthew Heffernan. 

The Challenge is taking place at 25 schools and at the National Library, with kids between 3-8 years are invited to create augmented reality characters and Minecraft Education worlds. 

Invited schools must choose one augmented reality character and one Minecraft World to submit to The Challenge for judging. Find out more about the Challenge, prizes and how to register. 

The Challenge is anchored on Australia’s National NAIDOC celebration – the largest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander celebration and brand behind the Aboriginal flag. This year's NAIDOC Theme is 'Always Was, Always Will Be'.

Winners announced online: 18 November 2020 at 1pm

Join us online to hear the winners announced as well as a panel discussing access to cultural teaching and digital futures. Panellists include Jane Mackarell (K12 Director, Microsoft Australia), Jackie Coates (Head, Telstra Foundation), Luke Briscoe (Manager, IDX), Matt Heffernan (Developer, Indigital), Dr Marie-Louise Ayres (National Library of Australia), and John Paul Janke (National NAIDOC Committee). A livestream of the event will be available via the National Library’s Facebook page.  

Wednesday 18 November 2020 
1pm - 1:45pm 
Livestream via the Library's Facebook page

Judging criteria and panel 

Each school will submit one augmented reality character, one Minecraft world and a completed form that demonstrates students have: 

  1. Addressed a local challenge (cultural, environmental or social) 
  2. Highlighted the new digital skills they have learned through the Challenge (via a nonplaying character story, signposts within the Minecraft Education Worlds or a Minecraft Education portfolio); and  
  3. Showcased what they have learned about Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander cultures. 

Judges include a panel of representatives from Indigital, IDX, Telstra, Microsoft, NITV and the National Library of Australia. 

Who are Indigital? 

Indigital is Australia’s first Indigenous Edu-tech company, specialising in technology development and digital skills training in augmented and mixed realities, artificial intelligence, machine learning, internet of things and geospatial technologies. 

Their mission is to close the digital divide between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, by providing a meaningful pathway for Indigenous people into the digital economy and the creation of future technologies. Together, we can use digital technologies to express 80,000 years of human knowledge for generations to come. 

Indigital designed and developed their Schools program and the Minecraft Education Challenge to empower the next generation with the skills and confidence to participate and shape future digital economies. 

About Indigenous Digital Excellence (IDX)

Indigenous Digital Excellence (IDX) is an initiative co-founded and designed by the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) and the Telstra Foundation to unlock digital world opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The IDX Initiative seeks to inspire, build and connect the next generation of Indigenous entrepreneurs and digital makers through sustainable community led programs and collaborations. Through its flagship national program IDX Flint IDX seeks to inspire the interest, ideas and talent of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in making digital technology.