Stu­dent wired to help in Fiji

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By ROSE CAWLEY

Seven­teen-year-old Jon Glen­don trav­elled a long way to vol­un­teer in Fiji.

The Cana­dian teenager is in New Zealand on a year­long Ro­tary In­ter­na­tional ex­change.

Ear­lier this year he spent more than two weeks on the is­land of Tave­uni in Fiji work­ing on Ro­tary’s Dig­i­tal Learn­ing Room.

The project saw schools on the is­land gifted tablets and the stu­dents taught how to use the tech­nol­ogy.

Jon, a keen pho­tog­ra­pher, was there to cap­ture the project but be­cause of de­mand he also spent a lot of time teach­ing.

He says the trip made him re­alise what a priv­i­lege it is to have ac­cess to tech­nol­ogy.

‘‘Tech­nol­ogy is some­thing that I al­ways took for granted, I grew up with it and al­ways ex­pected tech­nol­ogy to be right there but these kids had never re­ally used it, maybe 10 out of 35 stu­dents had used it,’’ he says.

‘‘We taught them re­ally ba­sic things like turn­ing the de­vices on but by the end of it they were mak­ing Key­note pre­sen­ta­tions.’’

Jon says the in­ter­na­tional ex­change has helped him fos­ter a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive of how the world works.

‘‘I still wake up ex­actly like I would in Canada, I’m still 20 min­utes late.

‘‘It made me see that the world is a re­ally small place. We all do the same things, just in dif­fer­ent places or in slightly dif­fer­ent ways.’’

Dig­i­tal Learn­ing Room fund­ing di­rec­tor Dave Birch says Jon is a shin­ing ex­am­ple of Ro­tary val­ues.

‘‘Ro­tary has sup­ported Jon as a young per­son with his stu­dent ex­change from Canada to New Zealand and in turn Jon is giv­ing back in­ter­na­tion­ally with his own skills in Fiji,’’ he says.

The dig­i­tal project has had a big im­pact on the is­land.

‘‘While we were there a mu­sic teacher at one of the dig­i­tal learn­ing room sites ob­served that be­fore the tablets they only had three key­boards, but now they had 35 more,’’ Birch says. ‘‘The school is now record­ing and up­load­ing its lo­cal award­win­ning cho­ral group on the in­ter­net.’’

Photo: JON GLEN­DON

Tech­nol­ogy time, Learn­ing buzz, right and be­low: The stu­dents at a school on the is­land of Tave­uni quickly picked up the tech­nol­ogy lessons.

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