Mamas and papas go digital with aid of high tech devices

Monday June 08, 2015 Written by Sarah Wilson/Climate Change Newsletter Published in Outer Islands
A school student helps a mama from Tukao village during the training session. A school student helps a mama from Tukao village during the training session. PHOTO: Celine Dyer

Mamas and papas on Rakahanga and Manihiki got into the ‘tech zone’ earlier this month with a computer tablet training workshop. 

The training was run by a Rauti Para team from Climate Change Cook Islands, including Dr Teina Rongo, Mitchell Tutangata and Celine Dyer.

The team workshop was a part of climate change awareness and training under the ‘Strengthening the Resilience of Our Islands and Communities to Climate Change’ division. 

The training on Rakahanga involved both young and old, with the age of participants ranging from 17 to 75 years. A total of 38 people took part from from a total population of just 77. 

On Manihiki, Tauhunu was the first village to receive the training, and attracted 31 participants aged 17 to 81. Five Rauti Para from Tukao also attended.

They learned simple operations such as turning the tablet on and off and performing easy tasks like writing their profile, looking up sites on the internet and setting up their email addresses. 

Senior students from the Tukao School also took the opportunity to practise on their computer skills and helped the mamas and papas with their training. Government workers also joined in to improve on their computer skills.  

Climate Change coordinator Celine Dyer says the people were grateful for the opportunity to learn how to use the tablet, particularly the Rauti Para who had never used or touched a tablet. 

Dyer says to be able to communicate and exchange photos on facebook with families and friends living overseas was a big achievement and the highlight of the training. 

She says it is important for the elderly to transfer their knowledge to their children, and then on to their grandchildren, and being able to use the internet ensures they can still do this with children overseas.

“Overall, the people were happy that the training was focussed on them and thankful that they could continue practising their new skills on the five tablets on loan to the village,” she says.

Five tablets were left at the Tukao administration for people to borrow and continue with their learning. The devices will be returned to Rarotonga when a tere party travels to Rarotonga for the Te Maeva Nui Celebrations in July.

The team also visited the local school on Rakahanga where Dr Teina Rongo spent some time with senior students working on a reef monitoring project.  

The aim is to generate student interest in science subjects by applying classroom knowledge to practical use in the marine environment.  

Within the week, the students managed to build a quadrant which they will use to do reef monitoring to assess the condition of their local reefs.  

The students will choose some sites around the island and with the help of resident Marine Officer Tuteru Taripo, will continue to monitor their reef system as a science project. 

The reef monitoring will become a long term science activity for the school, particularly for senior students.

Dyer says it’s amazing how much ‘in sync’ the students are with their environment and their island.

“These Pa Enua students are survivors, and their knowledge of their environment will make them very resilient to Climate Change,” she says.

Dyer says it’s particularly important to get senior students more interested in science to encourage them onto possible careers in the field.

“We are surrounded by oceans so we need more scientists here in the Cook Islands.”  

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