Day 1–Off to Vietnam

1

We had what seemed like an extra busy last couple of weeks so I think we felt extra relieved to get this break. We’ve not seen much of each other with me working late many nights and weekends full of activities in different locations. Before I’d even left the guys at work put a counter till I’m back. 

2

As the flight drew closer we were faced with the inevitability of a very full flight, no status, no premium class, no exit row. “It’s only 9.5 hours” John says at lunch on Friday. When I think about it, it must be 10 years since we’ve had to do a flight with cattle class legroom for that long a leg.

With a smooth and efficient packing effort we’re off to the airport in time for the flight checkin to open. It’s already a really long queue. I eventually realise we get to skip ahead as I’ve done the online checking already. With dagger looks from people in the queue we shuffle over a line. While the lady at the checkin explains it’s really full and we’ve got someone in between I ask how much to upgrade. My heart sinks when it’s more than what I’d told myself was my limit. After a looking at each other and waivering a bit … it’s done… let’s just pay the money.  The advantages of course are skipping through the massive security line, lounge access etc.

As we are waiting to board I look across at the queue of families with infants and there must be over 20 babies. We get our seats in our cabin with 18 others and I think already it’s worth it. I barely make it through dinner … all I want is sleep and the curl up on the lay flat bed till we hit Bangkok.

3

When we wake up in the morning I look across to John who has actually gotten sleep and he says “totally worth it”. We find our next gate and watch the sun rise over the plane. This next leg is less than 2 hours but it feels a lot longer. Getting into Hanoi, baggage, immigration etc are a breeze. Walk outside and bam! humidity hits you. I’m now wishing I’d packed my shorts in my carryon and changed into them.

We find our driver, who speaks no English, and fade in and out of sleep on the 3.5hour drive to EPRC.  We’re met by our co-ordinator who quickly shows us around before heading off for a few days. Back to our room to change into less sweltering clothes, a quick tour of the animals then a bit of a snooze before dinner.

We wander into town to or designated restaurant, and pick at the food then back to our room. Glad I took a torch or we could have stepped on this guy on our way back into our room.  Tomorrow we start bright and early at 6:30am.

4

Young ICT Explorers–Judging wrapup

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Yesterday I took part in judging the year 7-8 students for the Brisbane entrants of Young ICT Explorers. I’ve been involved in this event for quite a few years now and it always brings a smile to my face what the students come up with. It’s now a nation-wide competition with students from primary all the way to high school in teams from 1-4 entering anything they want to show that involves ICT.

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The top 3 for the day in the 7-8 category show the true diversity of the event.

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BinGo – These two young ladies created an app to scan your rubbish using RFID to encourage users to recycle more.

GPS Buoy – This gentelman created a GPS tracker that can be added to a life buoy to help track passengers overboard.

Electronic Roll – This gentleman created a windows application that used facial recognition to sign in students and mark them off the rolls.

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This group created an app to help students with math that also involved a jumping mat.

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We had robots

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Phone apps

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Arduino everywhere

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And environmental projects everywhere.

What’s great it to feel the buzz of excitement as the kids share their projects and support each other. It’s great to see students come back year after year with bigger and better things. I think that is a big kudos to how welcoming the YICTE team make the students, teachers, parents and volunteers feel.

Thanks for having me again! Looking forward to next year already.