ALNF Living First Language platform wins international interactive tech award

by Freya Lucas

April 08, 2019

The Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation (ALNF) has won an award at the prestigious South by Southwest (SXSW) Innovation Awards in Austin, Texas. ALNF secured the Innovation in Connecting People category for the Living First Language Platform.

 

Both the award, and the Living First Language Platform will be of interest to the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector, with underpinning principles of the National Quality Framework and approved learning frameworks calling on educators to promote a greater understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing and being; and, to become co-learners with children, families and community, valuing the continuity and richness of local knowledge shared by community members, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders.

 

The Living First Language Platform is a direct complement to the ALNF offering The Early Language and Literacy program which is offered in both English and Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Languages, providing language support resources in both digital and physical formats.

 

The use of First Language with young children contributes to strong literacy growth in English, and aligns with international best practice in building strong oral language skills in the early years as a precursor for strong literacy and language development in the later years, the ALNF said.

 

The Living First Language Platform was developed to address “the urgent need to revitalise, preserve, and teach Indigenous Languages through the development of community driven, interactive and dynamic digital literacy apps”.


With an Indigenous language disappearing every 14 days globally, and with 50 per cent of Australia’s Indigenous Languages now lost forever, the development of the platform was considered an urgent priority by ALNF.

 

The platform includes the ability to:

 

  • Reveal the code of traditional languages by understanding their unique pronunciation and phonogram patterns.

 

  • Provide translations from First Language to English and vice versa.

 

  • Experience words as whole words, syllables, sounds and phonograms.

 

  • See how particular sounds are formed in the mouth.

 

  • Use the tool to explore words and sentences.

 

  • Record and experience stories and culture.

 

ALNF Director of Programs Eric Brace said receiving international recognition was “a win for First Languages in Australia” saying the award had “the potential to impact individuals and the community across the globe”.

 

“ALNF is incredibly honoured to be a recipient of this prestigious and competitive award, and continues to be deeply passionate about contributing to the vital maintenance, revitalisation and revival of First Languages,” Mr Brace said in closing.

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