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Get Ahead Kids - Vol. 3, No. 3 - May/June 2011

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Learning Innovations & Technology

By June Alexander

One of the wonderful benefits of technology is the opportunity to engage with the world from the comfort of home.

These days my office is my kitchen. My desk is a century-old oak table that belonged to my grandparents. I sit at the table with my up to date laptop and start my day's 'work'.

If I need inspiration I pause and look out the 'office' window over beautiful Corio Bay near Geelong. Or I pick my cat up for a cuddle. And then I get back to 'work'.

I engage with friends and colleagues around the globe via the Internet. Communication flows via e-mail throughout the day and night.

Meetings are held via Skype. Research is accomplished on the web. News is spread on blogs, Facebook and Twitter.

Technology has enabled me to write three books, two of them with international collaboration, in as many years. It has enabled me to learn and connect; it has enabled me to hop on board a literary wave of change that has yet to sight the shore.

When I departed a 38 year career in full-time journalism in 2007, I planned to write my memoir, a book I had been dreaming about since childhood.

I thought the process would be relatively easy. My diaries, kept diligently since age 12, would be my major resource.

I did write my memoir - A Girl Called Tim - and on the way discovered the book was only part of the story - the very process of writing was leading me on a new adventure.

Technology means that staying at home to 'work' is no longer an isolating experience.

If I feel like a chat I make a cup of tea and sit at my laptop, click on Skype and say 'hi' to my friend and mentor, Hazel Edwards, who also has a home office.

We often share our experiences with the latest technology. We laugh and learn together.

We find 'going online' an increasingly productive way of communicating with each other and with our readers. Pick a topic, any topic, and you will find people with like interests around the world. If you need an answer, tap into your Internet search bar for instant answers.

My special interest is eating disorders - a theme that runs throughout my memoir.

I found websites set up by mothers of children who had developed eating disorders. Two of my favourites are: and

The parents were inspired to raise awareness by sharing their experience to help others. Technology makes this possible. Time and distance become irrelevant.

Another site, set up by a young woman recovering from Anorexia, is a wonderful blend of personal experience and scientific knowledge:

Like Hazel, I have established a website which is like a shop front, not to one street, but to the world.

Technology provides tools for recreation and for creating a business it provides communication for people suffering illness, and for loved ones who are far apart.

It allows the creation of a community of friendship and support, no matter where you live.

My latest venture is the creation of E-books - books that can be read electronically. Books have suddenly become weightless.

My toddler-age grandchildren sit on my lap and tap on the keyboard. They already know how to find ABC for Kids, and other sites for children. We play educational games, watch short videos and look for books to purchase on line. I send them e-mails. Won't be long and they will be showing me what to do.

Don't get left behind. Hop on board and enjoy the ride.

All you need to do is start tapping.

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