Because of Her, We Can Ebook Female Leader, Nola Turner-Jensen said, “Our aim was to establish a ground-breaking Indigenous education site that supports all educators to become accomplished teachers of ancient Australia.”
What drove you to change your existing early childhood education business and start Crackerjack Education as a digital platform?
My name is Nola Turner-Jensen, I am a proud Wiradjuri mixed heritage Australian. Janelle Latcham and I started Crackerjack Education six years ago. We believed my skills as an Indigenous author, educator and social worker and Janelle’s non-Indigenous expertise in Relationship Psychology could create something amazing.
Crackerjack is a self-funded company of two women with enormous dreams. Two women who researched what the leading education websites were doing across the world and decided they could do it better here in Australia. Lighting up in 2012, Crackerjack Education aims to be the channel between Ancient Traditional knowledge and the education systems of the world. Showcasing open, honest and awe-inspiring stories from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across this great country, Crackerjack Education will change the face of Ancient Indigenous knowledge in Education as we know it. Our vision is to support 10,000 Crackerjack education institutions by 2020.
Tell us about how you’ve consciously adapted your communication and writing style to be cross-culturally relevant.
For the people aligned to the Ancient Indigenous Belief System (AIBS), it is all about the journey. AIBS also believe in testing and refining information many times before it is ready to go. It is Macro to Micro.
The journey to Anglo Belief System people (ABS) is absolute job satisfaction and a way to show respect by letting the audience know all the information first. For time poor and future focused ABS people there is a requirement to check a proposal or information first to see if fits in with their outcomes before they normally will engage or commit time or funds. It is Micro to Macro.
One of the most difficult process areas AIBS members have is getting their message across clearly to ABS Australians. It was one of the happiest days of my working life when I realised that my messages weren’t getting through, not because I was an idiot but because I hadn’t adapted them for the different belief systems. ABS Australians require the outcomes up first. They usually need to know up front, whether to commit to something by analysing how it relates to them, first both as an individual in their role or how it affects the entire project.
As an Aboriginal Australian, I personally love the journey much more than the outcome – every time. I was missing the fact that not all belief systems work that way. This huge clash of Belief System process happens across tables all over the country every day.
All of Crackerjack Education’s resources are created by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are experts in culture, along with qualified educators and are aligned to the National Curriculum. How can teachers best incorporate these materials into their lesson planning?
Our aim was to establish a ground-breaking Indigenous education site that supports all educators to become accomplished teachers of Ancient Australia. We have a huge team of educators, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experts, bushtucker chefs, Elders and writers across Australia. Our two ways of knowing framework includes over 56 Teachings with Aunty lesson plans including hundreds of activity ideas and printouts, along with accredited online professional development to meet the needs of the Teaching Standards of Australia. Crackerjack has been developed to engage every Australian student across all ages and subject areas with our digital resources matched to both National and State Curriculums.
How did you evolve your business model, and develop a partnership with Blake Education, a leading Australian education publishing group who also provide well known education tools like Mathletics?
In 2016, I could see Crackerjack needed a partner to help us reach a national market and give us some authority in the education sector. I considered selling, but I thought why not put it out to the universe and see if there were any lead players in the online education arena who might be interested in our little company with big dreams.
So I researched the sector, found the key players and targeted them on social media like LinkedIn and to my shock, a few were interested. Blake Education is a very established education publishing company expanding their online presence, and our timing was right for them to come on board.
I have had to toughen up in my negotiation skills to balance Crackerjack’s cultural integrity and the expertise of Blake. It has been tough for both sides and we keep learning from each other all the time. Blake know our target market and how to run an international business. We know culture and how to present it positively. So, I am hoping we can work through our Belief System differences to have a profitable, effective business for many years to come.
The National Because of Her, We Can Ebook is a tribute to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. Right across Australia there are endless examples of strong and successful Indigenous women leading the way. This Ebook shines a light on 12 of our country’s Indigenous women, including four Queenslanders, who are leading and succeeding in business. These women show the strength, resilience, hard work, creativity and intelligence that are crucial elements in business success. Their stories, journeys and the lessons learned are as diverse as they are, but all offer inspirational advice.
The Honourable Di Farmer MP
Minister for Child Safety, Youth and Women
Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
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