Author: Joanne

The iPad once again tops kids’ wishlist for Christmas, the after effects

This week I was interviewed on ABC News breakfast about the after effects of thousands of children receiving a technology device for Christmas. While Santa happily gave many children a device for Christmas there are still many concerns.  I explained that apart from the entertainment and educational value that interest children in these devices, technology is a sought after commodity in our current society and children want to be part of it. A continuing concern of parents is the long-term effects of children consistently using technology from a young age. I explained that as this is still a fairly new phenomenon, we don’t we have research to indicate what these effects might be. However, we have research in other areas which give us important points to think about. A screen (technology device or TV screen) is very seductive for people- adults as well as children, and we can spend hours and hours completely absorbed by what is happening on the screen. If a child continually uses a technology device alone then it is likely that at that time they are also disconnected from the social environment in which they are using the screen including the people and conversation around them. This is a serious concern and can effect their ability to connect with others and develop relationships with their family and friends. The key is balance. Ensure children are...

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The benefits of technology for family life

I was a guest on James Valentine’s radio show (ABC 702 Sydney) today. We spoke about the positives of technology for family life. A very important contribution technology can bring to family life is that it helps families to communicate with each other. Callers rang in about the value of Skype for staying connected with children or family overseas. One grandma even said she cooks with her young granddaughter via Skype. The granddaughter cooks while grandmother chats to her and gives her cooking advice. Another benefit we talked about was that technology offers many opportunities for family members to share things they see online and have a chat about them. From this perspective technology provides a medium for families to know each other’s interests and to acknowledge and share their interests. This is a huge benefit to families and one which we can embrace to enhance family...

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Is technology harming family life?

Why do you think children spend so much time online? Often we blame the lure of technology, the endless sites children can engage with, or that children don’t have any self-control. However, our actions as parents can also be a reason children spend so much time with technology. Read my latest opinion piece on the topic below. This article was published in The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and the Canberra Times.   Is technology destroying family life? By Dr Joanne Orlando I was out with my children last week and couldn’t help but smile as the voice of a toddler on a swing called out ‘higher, higher’. Normally a scene like this would conjure up images of a mother and child laughing and bonding together, but as we live in the internet age it wasn’t so idealistic. As it turned out, Mum was so engrossed with an online conversation on her mobile that she didn’t even notice her young son calling out for attention. Needless to say, he didn’t ever get that higher push, and he ended up playing on the slide where he didn’t need his mum to have fun. Electronic devices are making our lives richer, more accessible and more exciting, but are we now spending more time with technology than we are with our loved ones? Once upon a time the biggest technological nuisance for the...

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Is the NAPLAN actually helping children to learn?

While Australian government wants us to be committed to NAPLAN, how does asking every child in years 3, 5, 7 and 7 to sit for this test actually help students to learn? Following USA and UK in this approach to old-fashioned testing may unfortunately lead us along their same dysfunctional education path. Read my opinion piece on the topic published in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age.   Money for score rewards only bores. By Dr Joanne Orlando The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy is not only a standardised test but an ideology working its way through the Australian education system. It transports classrooms back to the 19th century, when rote learning and the regurgitation of rudimentary facts were rewarded above all else. So when Julia Gillard says the government will reward quality teachers – and that NAPLAN test results are one of the criteria – it sends a shiver down my spine. NAPLAN is on track to becoming the key determinant of a good teacher, which is a travesty in the age of the ”education revolution”, where ideas and creativity should be the cornerstones of success. As a former teacher, and now an academic in education, I applaud the government for its commitment to rewarding good teachers. How our teachers teach is vital, even for those without children. But how we identify those high- quality...

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Is technology in schools helping children learn?

The Australian government has spent millions of dollars putting technology into schools, however is it paying off? Are children learning more? If we want to enhance children’s learning then putting computers in classrooms is a good first step. But it’s the easiest step. If we genuinely want this technology to help students then we must look beyond the rhetoric of the computer companies and the politicians. Read my opinion piece on the topic published in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age.   Free laptops all very well but how best to use them in testing times? By Dr Joanne Orlando The rhetoric of computer companies is that laptops in schools will transform how students are taught. Unfortunately, the federal government has succumbed to this rhetoric without thinking about the practicalities. Since the Rudd government launched its Digital Education Revolution, more than $400 million has been spent to provide every Year 9-12 student and teacher in government secondary schools with a laptop for the next four years. We were told laptops would revolutionise teaching methods and students would be learning the necessary skills to perform the jobs of the future. But like so many recent education policy announcements, things aren’t always as they seem. Research tells us initiatives that focus primarily on the provision of computers are not successful because the computers aren’t used to their full potential. A...

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