Have PDA, will travel!

Have PDA, will travel!

As part of my role in the Fresh Thinking Program I was fortunate enough to be invited to Pilbara TAFE to do a workshop on mobile technology (in particular PDAs). This definitely felt like a case of how much can you fit into 24 hours; and felt like going to two different seasons in the same State (Perth was cold and wet; Karratha was fine and hot).

I was very excited about the trip as it was the first time I have been into what I would call the “true Australian outback” (i.e. remote and arid areas of Australia) as opposed to the Australian bush. So I flew to Karratha on Sunday, arriving at 4.00 pm, and was meet by one of my online aquaculture students, Mike, who lives in Dampier which is 20 minutes from Karratha. (I flew back on Monday night and Mike was so committed to his studies that he sat next to me for the entire flight home to Perth).

Besides catching up on how Mike is going with his aquaculture studies, he was also nice enough to take me for a quick tour of Dampier and then showed me some Aboriginal rock art on the Burrup Peninsula. I think he may have thought it was funny when I was excited seeing kangeroos (yes I have seen lots of kangeroos but it was lovely seeing them with the scenes of the Pilbara in the background). The 4WD to the site was lots of fun – how I was totally amazed at how quickly the sun set.

That night I had a lovely dinner with Karen Higgins from Pilbara TAFE and then went to bed early for a change. Monday I spent most of the day in a seminar room at Pilbara TAFE Karratha’s campus and had a great time with their lecturers. I gained from listening to Karen’s section of the workshop and watching the lecturers in action. Their thoughts on using PDAs are very similar to mine which is why they were keen to have me come and visit. I am impressed by the work their lecturers are doing with mobile technology considering the heavy teaching load of most of the participants and I look forward to hearing how this years project goes.

Monday night I jumped back on the plane home to Perth (at 5.30 pm). Poor Diana from Pilbara TAFE was disappointed that I did not have any time to properly see either Karratha and Dampier. She was embrassed by me taking photos from the car window as she drove and has promised to send me some lovely photos for the video podcast I am going to create about my visit. I would love to visit this area again however with the resource boom, accomodation and airflights to the area tend to be booked out. There were lots of great things that I would have like to have done but with it being apparently the most expensive domestic airflight in Australia ($733 return from Perth to Karratha for a 2 hour flight) it is unlikely that it will be a holiday destination with the kids in the near future (considering it cost us a lot less to travel to Syndey – which is a 6 hour flight).

Oh BTW title have PDA, will travel relates to the fact that using my PDA I was able to remain connected to the Internet and my emails. BTW Question – how much of the great Australian outback can you fit in with only 24 hours, most of it spent in a seminar room or in the dark? Answer – not much I think I blinked and missed the Australian outback!!!!

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