I like a lot of things about ABC Open. I live in regional Australia and sometimes get frustrated about how easy it is to overlook regional Australians and people in the bush. I know, I know, there aren't as many of us to represent compared to metropolitan centres like Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. And I also accept that Australia is now an urbanised country and the days of the idealised "bush", as portrayed by iconic Australian writers, such as A. B. (Banjo) Paterson and Henry Lawson, are long gone. But, if you want to see me really get on my high horse, sit down with me while we watch what I see as "citified" versions of television shows or movies featuring country characters and settings.
VERY poorly scripted stereotypes – ugh! Rant, rant, rave rave, hissy-fit-eye-rolling, finishing with a little foot stomp....
Anyway, returning to topic...
ABC Open is really, really good because it gives a voice to the experiences of everyday people living in regional Australia. What makes it really special and how it achieves its authenticity is that it is regional Australians who are creating, publishing, and producing their own stories in various digital formats, including video, audio slideshow, and photographic narratives.
There are a number of projects featured on ABC Open. Some are open to anybody in Australia to participate, some focus on particular regions, some are completed (and these can be browsed online) and some are still ongoing. You'll find the deadlines shown on the website.
As a teacher, I can see a lot of uses for this project by the ABC. I really like the collaborative aspect; anyone can contribute ideas for projects and stories. In addition, the project’s producers offer to encourage participation by conducting workshops – online and off, to build skills. Their instructions are also given in an easy-to-understand step-by-step format; even beginners could make a video and upload it following these instructions.
- It’s giving a voice to Australians who DON’T live in the city.
- It’s completely collaborative – not only can anyone submit ideas for projects, as well as their own work, but ABC Open makes use of many of the web’s collaborative tools, including Facebook, Twitter, videos which can be shared by embedding, and websites such as Flickr and Vimeo are used to house ‘communities’ of people and their work involved in these projects.
- It teaches digital skills.
Have a look for yourself. Click here to browse the site. And if you think of any other creative way of using these resources please pass them on by commenting after this post.