Rachael Earl, from Trinity Catholic College, visited the US and UK as Australia’s International Gateway for Gifted Youth junior commissioner.
Rachael Earl, from Trinity Catholic College, visited the US and UK as Australia’s International Gateway for Gifted Youth junior commissioner. The Northern Star

Rosy future for Australia's only IGGY commissioner

VISITING the offices of Google was a dream experience for Australia's only International Gateway for Gifted Youth junior commissioner Rachael Earl.

But meeting a blind boy in the United States who could use an iPad to perform normal classroom tasks was perhaps a bigger game-changer for the 15-year-old Trinity Catholic College student.

Rachael was one of 10 teenagers internationally who were selected by the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom last year to collate a research report, which has now been released

It details how the internet can be used as a tool for education in schools throughout the next 10 years.

Rachael said her experiences in the UK and US - including meeting the iPad- wielding student - were a great basis for her work.

"One thing I was mostly focused on was giving people with disabilities the same opportunities," she said.

Her meeting with the boy was a defining moment, as she realised the internet, and information technology as a whole, could meet the educational needs of disabled students.

Now it was over, Rachael said she would remember her once-in-a-lifetime experience for years to come.

"It felt so good to finally have the report finished... and for it to be seen by so many people," Rachael said.

"It's kind of a relief to be finished, but kind of sad too. It was a lot of work, but I'd definitely do it again.

"The experience has made me want to travel so much."

She said her parents, teachers and principal were very proud of her contributions to the report.

Rachael said she switched her planned career path from psychology to paediatrics after speaking to a fellow commissioner and medical student during the trip.

"I want to help people and I love kids, so it's perfect for me," she said.

Gifted with drive and motivation, there's little doubt Rachael will succeed.

The report can be found at http://www.iggy.net.

 

THE REPORT RECOMMENDS:

  • Advance pupil development through teacher training by 2020.
  • Emphasise the role and relevance of the internet in classrooms.
  • Encourage integrative teaching approaches.
  • Emphasise online safety, cultivate digital citizenship and responsibility.
  • Pupils with learning difficulties to benefit from technological advancements.
  • Invest in young(er) pupils for a brighter future.


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