First Adelaide Computing Education Conventicle

Well, my hosting duties are done and I’m relaxing at home, having hosted the first successful Adelaide Computing Education Conventicle! I’m absolutely exhausted and I have to jump on a plane very soon and so I crave your indulgence because today’s post is going to be a reposting of my welcoming speech to the Conventicle. My thanks to all of the guests, presenters and attendees – we started a new tradition well. I look forward to filling in the details over the next few days. Without any further ado, here is my speech:

“Welcome to the first Adelaide Computing Education Conventicle.

I would first like to acknowledge that we are meeting on the traditional country of the Kaurna people of the Adelaide plains, the original inhabitants of the land upon which the University of Adelaide was built, and who have shared with us a name for this building. Ingkarni Wardli means ‘place of learning’ or, my favourite, ‘the house of inquiry’ and is the first building in the University’s history to have a Kaurna name. I recognise and respect their cultural heritage, beliefs and relationship with the land, and I acknowledge that they are of continuing importance to the Kaurna people living today.

In the spirit of today’s events, I would like to share with you the history of the name of this building, to emphasise the importance of today’s meeting – a meeting of people who are dedicated to learning, to knowledge and to sharing what they know with other people. This building had a working name of “Innova21” but a new name was always sought and, after a great deal of discussion, the then-Dean, Professor Peter Dowd, decided to seek advice on a name from the Kaurna people.

It would have been very easy to look at what we, as outsiders, know of the Kaurna language and pick a name that seemed right – especially when the word for knowledge “Ingkarni” was so close to the word “Innova”. However, the Kaurna language is protected by its custodians, because of people with less than perfect understanding or, in some extreme cases, a desire to exploit by association, so we needed to seek approval before the naming. As it turns out, calling the building “Ingkarni” by itself would have been nonsensical and would have undone the intent of the namers, which was to recognise and respect the cultural traditions of the Kaurna, in their role as educators.

If you have ever had the good fortune to hear the Kaurna Elder, Uncle Lewis O’Brien, you will know that the Kaurna placed great value on education and were respected among the neighbouring communities as educators and conference leaders. When big decisions were being made, when important knowledge had to be shared, the Kaurna were generally to be consulted and would have an instrumental role in the process. What better name for a building that contains science and education than the name “House of Enquiry” from a people who were known for their knowledge and their importance in the sharing of wisdom?

Today, we gather to discuss our knowledge of education, to share our successes and to understand and to seek to address those areas where we are yet to succeeed. I would like to thank the Australian Council of Deans of ICT’s Learning and Teaching Academy, for funding both me and Simon under the Fellows program. I would like to thank the inimitable Simon for his encouragement to run this, and to thank our other interstate guest, Dr Raymond Lister, for being here today to share his research. I would also like to thank you all for agreeing to present, or to just show up and listen. It is far easier to ignore alternative approaches to learning and teaching than it is to sit in a room and prepare to discover that you might be able to do things differently, with greater effect. I welcome you all and I hope that this is the first of a long and fruitful cycle of Conventicles. It is now my pleasure to introduce Simon!”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s