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Monash education expert says tech is changing the way kids see and think about money

Tamsin Rose, October 15, 2018 10:19AM Herald Sun

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Elle Laxamana shops in Bourke St, Melbourne but, nowadays, many people shop online and have their goods delivered. Picture: Tony Gough media_cameraElle Laxamana shops in Bourke St, Melbourne but, nowadays, many people shop online and have their goods delivered. Picture: Tony Gough


Reading level: red

Not so long ago online shopping didn’t exist, credit card transactions* needed to be signed for and cheques* were commonplace.

But technology is changing the way we spend and see money and a Monash University education expert says financial education needs to keep up.

Close-up senior female hands taking Australian banknotes from purse media_cameraAustralian cash.

Education lecturer and author of Lessons in financial literacy task design: Authentic, imaginable, useful, Dr Carly Sawatzki, said technology was evolving the use of money in daily life.

“The way that we are using money in the real world is changing because the technological advancements in banking are just so rapid*,” Dr Sawatzki said.

“Kids these days don’t see their parents transacting* in notes and coins.”

Dr Sawatzki’s research showed most students understood that money was a finite* resource but that education at school and at home needed to keep up with the changes.

She said year three and four students should be focusing on using Australian currency and being comfortable with cash and value.

Kids should be encouraged to order food and predict* what their change might be, or work out the value of deals at the supermarket.

Year five and six students should be learning to make decisions about the price of real-world things, like catching public transport and topping up travel cards.

Money talks for school kids media_cameraA student with calculators. Picture: Jason Sammon

The Monash lecturer said year seven and eight students could be introduced to buying and selling second-hand goods on sites like eBay and Gumtree.

“Often families are buying and selling online anyway so often it’s about involving kids in that process as a good way of introducing that to them,” she said.

“It’s a good way to help kids do some research online.”

Internet streaming subscription* services such as Netflix and Spotify have no physical payment system so it’s easy to forget they are being paid for.

Australian Money media_cameraAustralian currency.

“The money is out of sight but it shouldn’t be out of mind,” Dr Sawatzki said.

“There needs to be money in the account to pay for it and we need to be able to afford it.

“We do need to teach kids to be mindful in how they are deciding to use their money and to be safe in how they are transacting if they are using online services.”


transactions: buying or selling something

cheque: an order to a bank to pay a stated sum from the drawer’s account, written on a specially printed form

rapid: quick

transacting: carrying out business

finite: limited

predict: guess what will happen in the future

subscription: a deal to receive something by paying in advance



1. How were credit card transactions approved before PIN numbers?

2. Which university does Dr Carly Sawatzki work for?

3. What did the research find about money as a resource?

4. What age group should be using online shopping or GumTree as a learning tool?

5. What should Year 3 and 4 students be learning about money in school?


1. Money talks

You might have heard the following sayings about money.
Write a sentence or two about each one to explain what you think it means. If you don’t know, guess.
• Money doesn’t grow on trees.

• Money can’t buy you happiness.

• They’ve got more money than sense.

• Put your money where your mouth is.


Think about all of the things you do in a day.
Many of them probably cost money, even if you don’t actually pay for it on the day.
Write a list beginning from when you wake up until you go to bed and include all of the things that you do, use of consume that cost money.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Critical and Creative Thinking, Big Write, VCOP — Vocabulary

2. Spending money

Choose three items from a supermarket catalogue.
Try adding the amounts together in your head and write down your total.
Then add your three amounts using pen and paper.
Finally, check your total using a calculator.

Round the total to the nearest $0.05.


How many different combinations of coins can you use to make exactly $1?

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: Mathematics


After reading the article, with a partner, highlight as many wow words or ambitious pieces of vocabulary that you can find in yellow. Discuss the meanings of these words and see if you can use them orally in another sentence.

HAVE YOUR SAY: How do you think people will pay for things in 50 years’ time? What devices could we invent?

No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking.







Extra Reading in money