Closing the Gap with tech

Technology poses unique challenges to Aboriginal culture that you might take for granted.

Socio-economic limitations might entirely prevent some Indigenous Australians from accessing the web or having a mobile phone in the first place.

However, there are many more unique challenges between digital technology and Indigenous culture that new apps like inDigiMOB are tackling head first with education.

Unique challenges for Indigenous culture

Once online, tech can cause tensions among families, for example, when social media apps conflict with kinship laws.

Fraud and theft are also being enabled by the lack of education around the use of tech. One man stole several thousand dollars from vulnerable Aboriginal clients, by signing them up to dodgy phone plans and selling fake iPads.

Creating the inDigiMOB app

Image: inDigiMOB app

It’s issues like these that incited the creation of inDigiMOB, the mobile app that aims to make online education easily accessible in the Northern Territory – and around the country in future.

We spoke to the app’s project manager, Ben Smede about what the app means for the Indigenous communities in regional Northern Territory.

The purpose of the inDigiMOB app

“The inDigiMOB program works across remote communities in the Northern Territory and employs local Indigenous Digital Mentors to embed digital skills and knowledge in communities and within projects of local importance,” says Ben.

“The inDigiMOB app has been developed through the program and one main achievement is the way Digital Mentors play a key role in developing appropriate resources for the app and disseminating ICT information and skills throughout their communities.”

Ben and his team are developing the app as a portal for easy access to:

Tips on using smart phones and devices more effectively

Help to manage data, save money and access services

Knowledge of how digital technologies work

Help to stay safe online

Learning tools created in Aboriginal language

Fun and informative content created by communities.

“The number of resources on the app will grow as the inDigiMOB project rolls out across more remote communities in the NT and as more Indigenous Digital Mentors are engaged to support peer-to-peer learning on their communities.

“This ensures digital literacy needs are responded to appropriately and the resources on the app are tailored to suit different communities.

“Currently there are resources in Arrernte and Warlpiri languages. As the program expands into new communities the app makes it easy to customise the learning materials into any local language.”

Want to learn more?

Check out these apps that have created handheld pocket guides for preserving the languages, art and country of our nation’s first people.


Welcome to Country

Pre-invasion, there were over 500 settlements of Aboriginal Australians across the country.

Acknowledgements of country, and respect for elders past, present and future is paramount to Indigenous culture. The app is a way for all Australians to preserve this cultural history, and for non-Indigenous Australians to pay their respects to and increase education around our founding culture.


First Voices

When white settlers invaded Australia, almost half of all Indigenous languages were wiped out.

Some 20 of these languages are still at risk of ‘extinction’. This keyboard is helping to recover lost languages, and strengthen current languages, through translation that can be easily used on social media, or documents and emails.


Indigenous Australian: Art Gallery of NSW

closing the gap with tech

Immerse yourself in the rich artistic history of the Aboriginal artists exhibited at the Art Gallery of NSW.

The collection features several artists from different regions around Australia, with insights into the stories behind the artworks and interviews with the artists.

artificial intelligence
Eliza Brockwell

Author: Eliza Brockwell

Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.



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