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Students Share Aid Worker’s Tsunami Experience

7 April 2005

School Students Share Aid Worker’s Tsunami Experience

To mark 100 days since the Asian Tsunami, a Red Cross expert talks to students about his experience in Sri Lanka.

A group of New Zealand secondary school students are about to use their schools’ video-conferencing technology to get an inside view of the tragic effects of the Boxing Day Asian tsunami.

To help provide students with a first-hand view of the disaster and its aftermath, Telecom SchoolZone is linking the students by video-conference with New Zealand Red Cross expert Douglas Clark.

On Thursday April 7 –100 days after the Tsunami – pupils from Hato Petera College, Kuranui Primary, Northland College, Papakura High, Reporoa College and Zayed College for Girls will talk to Clark about his time in Sri Lanka helping with the aid effort after the Tsunami. He was the first New Zealander sent by the Red Cross to assist with relief efforts.

Clark was part of an international Field Assessment and Coordination Team (FACT) based in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo. His task was to help assess the damage caused by the tsunami, determine what assistance was required and coordinate the distribution of relief in liaison with other aid and Government agencies.

“We have been discussing the tsunami over the past few months in our Social Studies class. It will be such a valuable experience to ask questions of someone who was actually there, in the thick of it all, and get information straight from the horse’s mouth,” said Kathy Gordon, Social Studies teacher at Reporoa College. “It will really bring this tragedy to life and become more than just a topic at school or a news item they hear on television.”

The video-conference is the first in a pilot series developed by Telecom SchoolZone to explore how the technology can push the boundaries of learning outside the classroom walls.

Other events in the series include a focus on the 90th anniversary Gallipoli celebrations, a feature in the run up to the New Zealand Women’s Congress with Telecom Chief Executive Theresa Gattung and events with sporting celebrities later in the school year.

“We want to ensure that students are able to make the most of the broadband video-conferencing technology that their schools have made available to help enrich their learning,” said Miranda Cook, Education Portfolio Manager at Telecom.

“It’s a great thing when you can use technological advancements to enhance education and allow students to communicate with people like Lord of the Rings special effects expert Richard Taylor and other notable news-makers who they would never have been able to speak to before.”

SchoolZone is a high-speed managed Internet service launched in 2003 and now adopted by more than 450 schools throughout New Zealand.


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