Sunday, February 1, 2009

Settling into life in Brisbane

Life has been mad for the last ten days or so, but I am starting to feel settled into my new temporary life in Brisbane.

Australia Day, South Bank, Brisbane

Finding my feet
The weather is much hotter than I am used to, so now I can understand people's attachment to their air conditioning units. I am hoping that all my excess fat will melt away.

I am living in one of Brisbane's suburbs and enjoying having access to big city facilities. I thought I had died and gone to heaven yesterday when I found a bookshop that specialises in historical romances, which I admit I read, much to my family's disgust. It has taken me a while to get the hang of the bus system, and have ended up in a number of places that were in the opposite direction to where I wanted to go. But now I zipping around like a long term Brisbane resident.

Factory Outlet right next door to my workplace-what more could a girl want!!

Internet access

I am still in the throes of organising permanent access to the Internet, and I have felt very isolated because I have not been able to fully interact with communication tools such as Twitter. But in the meantime, I have managed a few Skype and MSN calls back to my family in New Zealand. This has been a useful reminder of the problems and challenges that face people who do not have Internet access.

Internet at work
My access to the Internet at work is restricted ie staff are not given full and free access to all web sites. This begs the question why an organisation would wish to do this; is it a genuine concern about security or a desire to control how staff interact with the Internet? Whatever the motivation, it seriously restricts use of tools that otherwise I would use on a daily basis, such as YouTube, Slideshare etc. And is a barrier to showing people how they can utilise social networking sites for professional development, communication, learning and so on.

eMentoring project
The project I have been employed to manage is an exciting one. I have to develop an eMentoring program that matches mentees and mentors in the aged care and community care sectors in Queensland, and support them as they enter mentoring relationships. This project includes developing an eMentoring handbook and CDROM, delivering education workshops and supporting people as they learn about Internet technology to communicate with each other. I'll blog about this as I go along, and will be very interested in hearing feedback.

Aged Care Queensland, Jindalee - my new work place

Sharing the love

The staff in the community care section of Aged Care Queensland are very keen to learn about social networking, and very enthausiasic to explore and integrate tools into their every day working lives. They are also very supportive of the philosophy of sharing, networking and collaborating, so I am going to have great fun introducing them to tools such as Google Documents, wikis and Skype, as well as concepts such as Creative Commons license.

New work space

The next five months are going to very busy and challenging, but it is a great joy to work with people who want to learn, experiment and are willing to give things a go.

How are things going with you? How is your new year shaping up?


M-H said...

It's good that people are keen to learn, but it's going to be a big challenge if their access to technology is so limited. I'm afraid that inadequate internet access is a standard issue in health-care in Australia - it happens in NSW too. Security is often cited, but of course, as you point out, this is a furfee.

We're following your adventures with interest!

Buckeyebrit said...

Hey Sarah, glad to hear you are settling in. Quite a contradiction that they have the foresight to enlist your expertise but the organization has such a narrow perspective with regard to internet access. They clearly need you!

Dot said...

Nice to see you posting again - and you look very bright and well! Best wishes for the months to come.

Anne Marie said...

Great to hear from you! Boy, that is limited internetn access!

Good luck with it all:)

Pam said...

Interesting that people portray 'freedom' but then place a restriction on what you have access to and when. I hope that you feel you have enough time with them to get your teeth into the project.
I`m glad to see you smiling and pink is definately your colour. I`m home now and back on skype.

Sarah Stewart said...

@M-H I don't know if there is a genuine conern about locking people down, or if it is a lack of understanding about how resources can be used. Yes, YouTube is seen as a teenage waste of time and may be restricted but we know it can also be an extremely valuable source of information for health care staff and should be made avaliable, and health care organisations should be adding material that they know is of good quality.

@buckeyebrit I think it is probably a lack of understanding, and they have never had a memeber of staff like me requesting the access that I am wanting. My strategy is to demonstrate how tools can be usefully deployed for communication and collabroation. My immediate boss is extremely suportive which is fantastic.

@dot I feel I have lost a bit of ground. I need to get my blogging motivation going again and re-connect with readers. Otherwise, life is great. Don;t know if I'll want to go back to Dunners! Loving the single life too much :)

@Anne Marie I tell you, I've been going mad. But I think I'm nearly sorted. A saluatory lesson for me.

@Pam Yes, I think is my colour as I am getting older. I am also liking pale green which I have never ever worn before. I think your colours must change as you get older.

Allison Brown said...

As soon as you said you found a place the specializes in Historical Romance I knew you were talking about Rosemary's - I miss that place so much.

Have you looked at the site yet - great tool to help find things in any Australian city

Sarah Stewart said...

@Allison Yep, its got to be the best book shop I have ever been too! :)

Helen said...

Great to hear you have settled Sarah. Now for the important questions - who are you barracking for in the cricket?


Sarah Stewart said...

To be truthful, Helen, I don;t care less about the cricket. But rugby....that's another story... so it would have to be New Zealand before Oz, and if England are playing, then its England :)