Student wired to help in Fiji
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.’’
Technology time, Learning buzz, right and below: The students at a school on the island of Taveuni quickly picked up the technology lessons.