Research Projects

Research Projects

Featured research project

Conceptualising digital play: The role of tablet technologies in the development of imaginative play of young children.

Dr Irina Verenikina and A/Prof Lisa Kervin, in collaboration with A/Prof Colette Murphy, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

Digital mobile technologies such as tablets mark a turning point in leisure activities for young children yet the influences of these technologies on children's development are not understood.
The findings from this study will provide a foundation for the use of digital mobile technologies to enrich children's development through play.

The BRiTE (Building Resilience in Teacher Education) Project

Dr Noelene Weatherby-Fell
BRiTE is a two year project beginning in August 2013 which aims to create a series of online modules designed to develop pre-service teachers’ capacity for professional resilience. Building on the previous ALTC project, ‘Keeping Cool’ (PP9-1370, 2012), BRiTE modules will provide teacher educators with a curriculum resource that can be imported into learning management systems which are aligned with new teacher education accreditation requirements and the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST). Each module will include clear learning outcomes, a case or scenario relating to the APST, structured authentic learning activities involving reflection and problem solving, and suggestions for implementation.

Project Title : Exploring the participation of first in family students in university with particular reference to how this impacts upon intergenerational choices around, and perceptions of, higher education

Dr Sarah O' Shea
This project provides a more nuanced understanding of the university experience for first in family students. Many of these students are older often with family commitments, the study is particularly interested in exploring how returning to education impacts on the educational trajectories / choices of other family members. The study is significant because mature age / first in family students are often at risk of attrition and also, represent a growing student cohort; hence UOW needs to be actively engaging with this group to improve retention and explore the possibilities for intergenerational educational participation. The project investigated the student experience of this cohort of students as well as how their attendance at university has impacted upon family members. The outcomes of this project are duo fold; being both to better comprehend the intergenerational implications the decision to return to education can have and also, to develop strategies designed to both better support mature age students and actively engage family members who may be considering attending university.

Social cognitive investigation of senior leadership teams in Catholic schools

Dr John McCormick and Dr Kerry Barnett (UNSW)
The Social cognitive investigation is a collaborative project involving the Wollongong and Southern Sydney Catholic Education Offices and their schools. The research is multiphase, involving multilevel modelling of quantitative data, and future gathering and analysis of qualitative data. The principal aim of the research is to identify key aspects of leadership motivation, leadership processes, and effectiveness of school senior leadership teams, and to develop systems to assist in improvement of school outcomes.

Assessment Matters: Neural Correlates of Cognitive Load and its Effect on Spelling Performance

Dr Steven Howard
A fundamental aim of educational assessment is to maximise accuracy and consistency in measuring students’ abilities. In pursuit of this aim, the current study combines neuroscientific and behavioural methods to examine their contributions to a child’s performance. Specifically, the project will test performance on three different spelling assessments (adapted from Australia’s NAPLAN test, UK’s GAPs and commercially available standardised spelling assessments). Out-of-scanner testing will be used to further investigate the relationship between brain (i.e., neural networks) and behaviour (i.e., assessment results). It is expected that the results will provide evidence that: spelling assessments differ in the cognitive load they place on test-takers; spelling performance decreases with increasing cognitive load; and working memory performance explains important variance on assessments that have a higher cognitive load. The Assessment Matters project will have important implications for the design of educational assessments, especially given the high stakes often associated with student performance. 

Our supervising teachers: A national profile of school-based teacher educators

Dr Wendy Nielsen
The purpose of the research is to explore the use of a new online tool, the Mentoring Profile Inventory [MPI]. This project is part of a larger effort to create a national profile of supervising teachers in Australia. The larger vision of the project aims to give teacher education programs new insight into how supervising teachers conceptualize their responsibilities and capacities in working with preservice teachers on practicum. This work is part of an international collaborative project with colleagues in Canada, Spain, China, France, New Zealand and Thailand.

Who do you think you are? Exploring the experiences of students transitioning from TAFE to Higher Education.

Ms Theresa Millman (Doctoral Candidate)
Learning inclusivity in the new millennium calls for education that makes a difference. One of the key outcomes of this change is the ‘second chance’ learner who are increasingly enrolling in both TAFE and HE. This study seeks to investigate how re engagement with learning can be a transformative experience that changes lives, however the extent of this transformation and the impact on learner identity is yet to be determined. This study seeks to investigate this impact and explore the potential for the adult learning experience to influence the development of individual agency and personal change, particularly in the areas of identity and aspirations. There are a number of expected outcomes from this study including highlighting the challenges of transitioning student. In bringing this understanding to the fore, it is hoped that the findings of this study will add to inter-sectoral dialogue. 


Last reviewed: 16 November, 2016