The BRIDGE Program (Building Relations through Intercultural Dialogue and Growing Engagement) is currently the AII's largest program. The BRIDGE program has been operating successfully since 2008 and is managed by the AII in conjunction with the Asia Education Foundation. The Australian Government has committed to fund the Australia-Indonesia BRIDGE Project until 2015 with support from The Myer Foundation until the end of 2012.The BRIDGE program is an innovative education project which funds visits by Indonesian teachers to Australian schools and supports development of school e-twinning and an online collaborative curriculum strategy between Australian and Indonesian schools.
Senator Carr's visit to BRIDGE school in Denpasar
Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, Greg Moriarty, talks about BRIDGE
Australia-Indonesia BRIDGE (Building Relationships through Intercultural Dialogue and Growing Engagement) Program
Established in 2008, the Australia-Indonesia BRIDGE Project is an initiative of the Australia-Indonesia Institute (AII) and the Asia Education Foundation. To date, the project has established 80 Australia-Indonesia school partnerships and directly involved 320 Australian and Indonesian teachers. A further 1,000 Australian and Indonesian teachers and 90,000 Indonesian and 30,000 Australian students have been indirectly engaged in the program. The BRIDGE program has also led to the development of 20 online collaborative and technology training activities to support classroom-to classroom engagement and the establishment of 47 online school partnership 'Wikispaces' to support interaction.
BRIDGE recognises that intercultural understanding is essential to equip young people to live and work successfully in the twenty-first century as responsible local and global citizens. It aims to support students to develop intercultural understanding and to develop teacher skills and capacities to equip them to undertake this work in schools. BRIDGE is based on the principle that effective use of innovative technologies by teachers and students will build people-to-people links that develop communities of friends and learners across borders.
The program aims to:
- support teacher professional learning around the use of innovative technologies to develop intercultural understanding.
- provide opportunities for teachers, students and school communities to engage and learn with partner schools in Asia.
- support the uptake and implementation of the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians, the Australian Curriculum and the Digital Education Revolution.
The objectives of the Australia-Indonesia BRIDGE Project are to:
- create and support school-to-school partnerships.
- improve the intercultural knowledge and skills of all participants.
- improve the ICT knowledge and skills of all participants.
- build professional knowledge and skills, including strategies of effective teaching practice, among participant teaching staff.
- provide particular support to developing Basic Education Program schools in Indonesia.
Professional Learning Program in Australia
Two Australia-Indonesia BRIDGE professional learning programs will take place in 2013 (February/March and May/June). Selected Australian and Indonesian schools will each nominate two teachers to participate in the professional learning program. The Indonesian teachers will visit Australia for three weeks. The program includes:
- A two-day professional learning program on building knowledge and understanding of Australia for Indonesian teachers aimed at providing an overview of Australian culture, society, history and education systems.
- A five-day professional learning program focused on building relationships, intercultural understanding and use of social media in teaching and learning for Australian and Indonesian teachers to support communication and collaboration, building of school partnerships and the sharing of pedagogical practise.
- A 12 day school and homestay program that provides opportunities for Australian teachers and students to interact with Indonesian teachers, experience aspects of Indonesian culture across curriculum areas, establish the terms and nature of the school partnership, plan for future collaboration and share teaching experiences.
- A one-day debriefing to reflect on Indonesian teachers experience in Australia and share ways forward for online engagement.
Information on the BRIDGE program can be found on the Asia Education Foundation's website.