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Selwyn Village

9th July 2018

The need

Your beloved grandmother sits alone in a rest home. Dementia means she doesn’t recollect much of today, but has strong memories from her youth. She grew up in a different time with none of the technology we have these days. Having been in an aged care facility for a few years now, and with diminishing short-term memory, you’re concerned she is becoming isolated and lonely.

Selwyn Village, a retirement community overlooking Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour, has been caring for residents for over 60 years. Drawing on the best aged care practices from around the world, Selwyn offers “lively communities filled with companionship, fun and variety1”. On-site medical staff provide round-the-clock support and health care.

Your grandmother lives at Selwyn Village, where the team has noticed her story is common to many residents in rest homes. So, they set out to address social isolation and loneliness by using a unique piece of technology … and became world leaders in the process.

“We were looking for something that could benefit the wider community [and] help close that intergenerational gap [by using] the SMART Boards® for the elderly. The benefits have been amazing … It’s been a beautiful journey.”

Orquidea Mortera Group Diversional Therapist

The Canon solution

Canon New Zealand partnered with Selwyn Village to provide three SMART® Board 6000 series interactive whiteboards, making the retirement community the first in the world to use the technology for recreational purposes.

Originally designed for an education environment, Orquidea Mortera, Group Diversional Therapist at Selwyn Foundation Group, saw an opportunity beyond the classroom. Orquidea believed that the SMART® Board would positively change the way that the people in Selwyn’s care could communicate, interact and engage with others.

The highly intuitive SMART® Boards transform rooms into collaborative spaces, suiting Selwyn’s participative care model. Residents, volunteers, staff and families come together and use the internet-connected interactive whiteboards to explore places from around the world, including conducting virtual travel to residents’ places of birth. For your grandmother living with dementia, seeing a picture of the place she grew up in triggers memories. You watch as her face lights up as she shares the story of meeting your grandfather on the promenade, dancing to a band playing in the rotunda, and their wedding day.

You’re not surprised to learn that use of the SMART® Boards in Selwyn Village is boosting elders’ confidence when using technology, increasing social connectedness, generating high levels of engagement with spontaneous activities and giving residents a sense of fulfilment.


A key element of any deployment, implementation into Selwyn Village was of particular importance to enable staff, residents, volunteers and families to utilise the SMART® interactive display technology. The primary focus was on training and adoption for the care providers who would be using the interactive technology to run regular sessions with the residents.

Canon ran several training sessions centred on using the interactive displays for common applications such as Google and Skype, along with the SMART Learning Suite program. This program includes an education-focussed gamification2 module, which is ideal for aged care and cognitive-based learning environments. In conjunction with Selwyn Village, Canon ran an interactive session with a group of the residents to help further enable the technology in action with the care providers.

Portability was also important for Selwyn Village, as the SMART® Boards move between rooms and buildings. Motorised height adjustment allows the whiteboards to be lowered so that residents in wheel chairs can participate. Canon delivered trolleys to meet these requirements.

Key elements of the implementation included:

  • A project management plan
  • Delivery schedules
  • Specialist deployment
  • Interactive technology introduction
  • Ongoing software training program


1  Source: Selwyn Village, accessed 27 July 2018
2 Gamification: the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (such as a task) so as to encourage participation (source:, accessed 27 July 2018)

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