I came across an excellent podcast from Sue Waters in WA, who recorded Robert Svanbery and Jane Looker, IT lecturers from Great Southern TAFE WA, talking about how PDAs are being used by health care trainers. Robert and Jane stressed how digital mobile devices are integral in the health care industry – for example, the use of MIMS drug databases on PDAs to determine dosage or contraindications (conflicts with other drugs or conditions), or the use of the Internet to upload images of various symptoms for diagnosis or second opinions on treatment, and many other applications are documented on a number of Medical/PDA sites. Giving health and nursing students experience with the same tools is vital if they are to go into industry properly equipped for the practices they will encounter there.
Health isn’t the only industry where PDAs and mobile devices are taking on a vital role and should therefore be a vital part of training. Some of my colleagues in CIT’s Tourism & Hotel Management faculty reminded me just last week that a growing number of restaurants use PDA-equipped, wireless systems to automatically record customer orders for the kitchen and for billing purposes. Just on the weekend, I saw a PDA being used to record orders at McDonalds in Canberra city, to more quickly process a long queue of customers. Other colleagues have related stories from the plumbing industry, where photos of a part or problem are sometimes sent “back to base” for identification, diagnosis, or quotation.
Vocational and technical educational organisations need to be responsive to this use of mobile technologies in industry, and quickly adapt training methods and resources to reflect the changes in the workplace.
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