School technology for research and innovation

One of the main objectives of the school's Digital Innovation and Knowledge Management team is to support and enhance development of novel educational technologies. This allows researchers and teachers at the Sydney School of Education and Social Work to stay at the forefront of the evolution of technology-supported education, nationally and internationally.

The team's manager consults regularly with researchers to help them plan their grant applications, so that the funding will adequately cover any technology component. As well, the research-supportive infrastructure described under the headings below is maintained by the team.

LearnLab research-supportive learning and collaboration system

Academic staff at the Sydney School of Education and Social Work are in a position unique among the University's academics: they frequently need to gather and collate information from their teaching environment as part of their research activities.

For research projects that require data collection from online courses, the school's Digital Innovation and Knowledge Management team has developed its own research-supportive learning management system, called LearnLab, which is built on the popular Moodle system.

LearnLab supports synchronous and asynchronous online learning – including chat, forums and wikis – as well as, more importantly, allowing the activity information collected by these tools to be stored and analysed for research purposes.

The Master of Learning Science and Technology program is delivered flexibly through LearnLab and contributes to the school's ongoing research in technology-supported learning.

Educational Video Annotation (EVA)

EVA – a school product created entirely by the Digital Innovation and Knowledge Management team and funded by several grants – is an online video teaching and learning system that features:

  • collaborative time-based multimedia annotations

  • synchronised web-based video and annotation delivery

  • automatic indexing and navigation for annotation/cue points.

EVA can be used in a variety of educational settings to allow students to learn from performance or procedural videos in areas such as medicine, teaching and sports, or to collaboratively analyse expert- or student-created video work in areas such as film and media studies.

Survey tool

The school offers a variety of options for online survey creation, depending on the requirements of the project. Staff seeking information about this service should refer to the school intranet page that describes research and innovation technology.

Location-aware mobile learning

The Digital Innovation and Knowledge Management team, in conjunction with their colleagues at the school's Centre for Research on Computer Supported Learning and Cognition, received grant funding that enabled the development of a platform to support location-aware mobile learning. This innovation, dubbed Iris, is becoming well known for its utility in investigating mobile-learning support in schools. Contact information regarding user support for Iris is available from the school intranet page that describes research and innovation technology.

Write, review, polish

Glosser is an essay-writing and review-support tool developed by school professors Brian Paltridge and Peter Reimann, in collaboration with the Learning and Affect Technologies Group (LATTE) within the University's Faculty of Engineering.

The application merges novel text-mining technologies with expertise in education and linguistics, resulting in a tool that provides students engaged in group writing with prompt, informative feedback about essay structure, coherence, topic coverage, relationships between concepts and participation. The purpose of Glosser is to initiate reflection and discussion about the quality of a work being authored collaboratively, as well as about the writing process itself.