Abstracts of school grants 2011

Research Grants - 2011 Archive

Page archived at: Mon, 13 December 2011 10:28:16 +1000

New grants

Adolescent Rural Cohort Study; Hormones, Health, Education, Environments and Relationships: The ARCHER Study

Prof A. Bauman, Prof R. Booy, Prof D. Bennett, A/Prof N. Brown, Dr C. M. Chow, Prof R. Cumming, Prof G. Fulcher, Dr C. Hawke, Prof P. Hazell, Prof D. Handelsman, A/Prof R. Ivers, Dr P. Kelly, Prof A. Martin, A/Prof G. Morgan, Mrs K. Paxton, Dr M. Rawsthorne, Dr R. Skinner, Dr J. Starling & Prof K. Steinbeck

The ARCHER study is a longitudinal study to describe the hormonal changes of young people in puberty and determine how these changes interact with individual, family, community and environmental factors to influence health and behaviour. It will be the first study to describe the impact of the hormonal changes of puberty on adolescent behaviour and health and will potentially provide information for prevention and early intervention strategies to improve the health and wellbeing of young people and allow them to reach their full potential. The study will follow 400 young people aged 10-12 years across Orange and Dubbo, NSW for four years.

Project: Empowering teachers of middle years mathematics: becoming self directed learners
A/Prof J. M. Bobis, Dr J. A. Way & A/Prof J. A. Anderson

This project will provide innovative strategies to enhance mathematics teaching and learning of middle years students. It will develop a robust teacher learning development model that can be used by our industry partner and practitioners in the wider educational community to contribute to the development of teachers becoming self directed learners.

The making of market society on a world scale: social experience and social theory from the global south
Prof R. Connell

How does our social world change, when markets become dominant? This project explores the problem on a global scale-beyond Eurocentrism. Placing Australia in a broad world context, using both web-based and close-focus research methods on four continents, this project will pioneer a new approach to understanding modern society.

Maximising the potential of Australia's language resources: exploring and developing languages across sectors, schools and communities
A/Prof K. E. Cruickshank, Prof J. E. Wright (W’gong), Dr L. T. Tsung, Dr L. A. Morgan (UTS) & Dr H. Chen (W’gong)

Australia is resource-rich in languages; this project will explore strategies to co-ordinate and develop these resources across schools and communities. It is the first with an in-depth focus on key urban and regional sites, identifying how resources can be matched with more effective provisions especially in the area of key Asian

An Investigation of Ethnicity, Socio-Economic Status and Social Networks as Drivers of Childhood Obesity and Body Image Among Children and Adolescents
A/Prof M. Dibley, Prof L. Hossain & A/Prof J. O'Dea

This study addresses the problem of obesity and overweight in children and adolescents in Australia. It aims to build a longitudinal picture of relevant social, behavioural and environmental factors and includes a unique study of the role of social networks in determining and reinforcing understandings and prevalence of obesity and overweight.

Supporting delivery of trainers and training around the Early Years Learning Framework for remote communities: Resources, training packages, Training and on-going support
Prof A. Elliott & C. Tayler (CDU)

This project involves development of a core ‘training’/professional learning package and support resources –(2011),- plus on-going research and development (2011-June 30 2012) to support delivery of professional learning around the Early Years Learning Framework and National Quality Framework in remote and very remote early childhood settings in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

A cross-national study of the relative impact of an oral component on PhD examination
quality, language and practice

Chief Investigator: Prof A. P Holbrook (Newcastle), with Prof S. F. Bourke, Prof T. J. Lovat, Dr M. M. Kiley, Prof B. R. Paltridge (Sydney) & Dr S. B. Starfield

High quality doctoral degrees call for the most effective forms of assessment. This project investigates the role of oral examination in PhD assessment, common internationally but not in Australia, and is the first to compare the relative impact of oral and 'no oral' models on examination quality, language and practice.

PreService Teacher Delivery of Global Education 2011
C. Keeley

The proposal researches the in-school experience via the University of Sydney Practicum Program as the means to provide opportunities for pre-service teachers to implement Global Education information and initiatives.

Evaluation of the Green Valley and Liverpool domestic violence service
Dr L. Laing

An invited study of the effectiveness of domestic violence services for women with regard to the profile of their clients’ needs and circumstances.

Peopling educational policy: realising the new Australian English and mathematics curricula
Prof P. Sullivan (Monash), Prof P. Freebody, Prof J. Albright, Prof Douglas Clarke, Prof L. Farrell & Prof David Clarke

Implementation of Australian curricula in English and mathematics provides an opportunity for school systems to re-examine practice. This project will identify resources ad teacher learning opportunities needed to facilitate implementation of these curricula and use findings to develop interventions identified as likely to optimise implementation.

Ongoing grants

Disciplinarity, knowledge and schooling: analysing and improving integrated, cumulative learning in classrooms
Prof PR Freebody; Prof JR Martin; Dr KA Maton

For Australia to enhance its educational and professional standing, it needs growing levels of intellectual expertise and flexibility among school graduates, who now operate in workplaces that are rapidly evolving intellectually and technologically. This project will contribute to research, debate, and practice, by focusing on sustained integrated knowledge-building, but it also aims to offer practitioners and authorities an enhanced, locally-grown evidence for educational decisions, practice, and policy. While the motivations for the project are theoretical, professional, and methodological, they arise from a recognition of the economic and cultural importance of intellectually strong citizens in an increasingly demanding global setting.

Learning through inquiry in higher education
Prof P Goodyear; A/Prof RA Ellis; Prof MT Prosser

This project can make a significant contribution to socioeconomic well-being. It addresses a major dilemma in higher education practice. It focuses on learning through inquiry - an approach to education that many claim is particularly appropriate for training graduates for knowledge work in the 21st Century. Our project makes a timely intervention by providing broad-based evidence that can inform debates about the future direction of this area of higher education. In practical terms, take-up of the outcomes of this project can improve the quality of Australian higher education, as well as the knowledge and skills of graduates entering the Australian workforce. It helps understand what is involved in promoting an innovation culture.

Professional learning for knowledgeable action and innovation: the development of epistemic fluency in higher education
Prof P Goodyear; Dr L Markauskaite

The ability to work effectively with complex knowledge, as a member of a multidisciplinary team, is essential for many areas of professional practice and in other areas of graduate work. Little is known about the abilities that allow individuals, teams and professional communities to work effectively with complex knowledge. The project will therefore help understand some key aspects of innovation and of knowledge-intensive work. This has implications
for individual employability, the competitiveness of Australian firms in a global economy and the ability of Australian organizations to innovate and improve, using the best available evidence. Project outcomes will be able to inform the enhancement of professional education.

Working from the ground up: a participatory approach to community regeneration in project title public housing neighbourhoods
A/Prof JL Irwin; A/Prof E Baldry; Em/Prof T Vinson; Dr S Goodwin
Collaborating/Partner Organisation(s):Department of Housing, TAFE Equity, Department of Education and Training, Health Promotion Service, Division of Population Health South Eastern Sydney and Illawarra Area Health Service

This research will discover approaches, strategies and interventions that contribute to sustainable changes in public housing estates. It will trial interventions and develop quantitative tools. The outcomes of the project will include stronger, more cohesive communities, opportunities for residents to actively participate in their communities, and the development of services through partnerships between the communities and relevant government, non government and private organizations. This will enhance health and wellbeing and increase education and training opportunities for residents.

Learning the complexity of scientific knowledge about climate change with computer modelling and visualization technologies
Jacobson, M. J., Markauskaite, L., Hu, C., NSW Department of Education and Training, and NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change

This project provides benefits to the national priorities of a environmentally sustainable Australia; and frontier technologies for building and transforming Australian industries. The project helps students in Australia more deeply understand the sciences that underlie environmental sustainability. Learning with modelling and visualization technologies will help students learn important scientific knowledge and prepare them for the use of frontier technologies that are becoming infused into the practices of scientists and professionals in many fields. This project also directly contributes to the national Digital Education Revolution initiative.

Rethinking timelines: a new methodology for describing and communicating history
Dr IR Johnson; Dr SM Robertson; Prof P Reimann; Asst Prof R Mostern
Collaborating organisations: Macquarie Library P/L; Australian National Maritime Museum

The project will lead to better ways of understanding historical events in context through active engagement of learners in the construction of timeline visualisations. It will contribute to the development of better strategies for collaborative content creation and quality control in web-based community resources, and facilitate creation of significant online collaborative databases by communities of interest, without the technical requirements and costs of one-off programming. It will add value to Australian online resources such as MacquarieNet, contribute to new methods of information visualisation in Australian museums and visitor centres, and generate national and international consultancies for the project partners.

Middle years transition, engagement and achievement in mathematics. The MYTEAM Project
A/Prof AJ Martin; Dr JM Bobis; Dr JA Anderson; Dr JA Way; Mr A Fraser
Collaborating Organisation: Catholic Education Office, Sydney

It is a Commonwealth policy objective that all students attain essential numeracy skills. In reality, 30% of 15 year olds do not attain these skills. Alongside this are declining enrolments in mathematics, a trend away from advanced mathematics courses, and an emerging 'skills shortage' in mathematics-related pathways. The MYTEAM project provides new solutions to national problems associated with disengagement, under-participation and underperformance in mathematics and empowers more individuals to aspire to and realise mathematics-related employment opportunities. Addressing such a shortfall in the labour market will have a positive impact on the future economy, the nation's social well-being, and individuals' pathways beyond school.

The millennium child: new frontiers in understanding the adaptability of children and young people
A/Prof AJ Martin

Australian children and young people experience changes and challenges at micro (eg. educational, psychological, social) and macro (eg. climate change, globalisation) levels. Successfully resolving these relies to a large degree on their ability to adapt. At a broader level, for Australia to compete and innovate on a global scale and to most profitably fulfil its educational, social, economic, and cultural potential, it is essential that it nurtures children and young people who can adapt to and for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st Century. The Millennium Child Project scopes and progresses the concept of adaptability and answers important and complex questions relevant to a nation's capacity to adapt and thrive.

The role of arts education in academic motivation, engagement, and achievement
A/Prof AJ Martin; Dr MJ Anderson; Dr R Gibson; Dr DR Sudmalis
Collaborating/Partner Organisation(s) Australia Council for the Arts

Research is needed to examine the impact of arts education on students' motivation, engagement, and achievement. Findings will help better direct funding and policy to arts education that makes a real difference in the academic and non-academic lives of children and young people. In the school context, findings will link directly to aspects of arts education and achievement motivation that enhance educational attainment, reduce disengagement, and instil greater satisfaction with school life. At a national level, findings will provide an evidence base for the integrated development of cultural, educational and social capital that better enable Australia to contribute to leadership and advocacy in the arts internationally.

Accessing the cultural conversation: investigating participation and non-participation of young people as audiences of live theatrical performances in Australia
Prof JR O'Toole; Prof BV Burton; A/Prof RA Ewing; A/Prof AM O'Brien; A/Prof PJ Bundy; Dr KJ Donelan; Dr MJ Anderson; Dr J Hughes; Dr CE Sinclair; Mr NA Jordan
Partner Organisations: The Australia Council for The Arts, The Sydney Opera House, Sydney Theatre Company, Bell Shakespeare, The Brisbane Powerhouse, Queensland Theatre Company, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Arena Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, the Arts Centre, Arts Victoria, NSW Ministry for the Arts

In order to promote the healthy development of young Australians, where health in middle and late childhood is crucial (National Research Priority 2) a thriving arts sector is essential. For young people to see themselves as real participants in civic engagement with their society not as a marginalised group but as a legitimate sub-group of society, they need access to active participation in the cultural conversation, including live theatrical performance. For this, the arts community, policy makers and arts educators need to better understand young people's engagement with the major providers of theatre, and what factors inhibit or exclude them.

Writing in the academy: the practice-based thesis as an evolving genre
A/Prof BR Paltridge; Dr SB Starfield; Dr LJ Ravelli

National benefits of this project include: An improvement in the quality of research higher degree scholarship in the areas of the Creative and Performing Arts in Australian universities. A greater understanding of what counts as successful writing in practice-based doctoral theses in Australian universities. A research-informed basis for the development of training initiatives which target the specific needs of students writing practice-based doctoral theses in Australian universities. A research-informed basis for improving the quality of research higher degree supervision in the areas of the Creative and Performing Arts in Australian universities.

Developing Early Literacy in Informal Settings: engaging disadvantaged Aboriginal and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) families outside formal settings (LP100100213)
Chief Investigator: Prof A. Pennycook (UTS), with Dr C. M. J. Diaz, Dr K. E. Cruickshank (Sydney), A/Prof G. Alperstein, Dr L. A. Morgan & Dr P. F. Gibbons

The development of literacy in pre-school age children is a national priority. This research will address a major gap in the provision of support for literacy development in children and families who do not access formal pre-school programs. The outcomes of this research will benefit work in this area at both a theoretical and a practical level. It will provide a strengthened research base around reaching and involving children and families and will inform those literacy methodologies that seek to address linguistic and cultural difference.

Comprehensive support for collaborative writing: visualising argument, text and process structures
Prof P Reimann; Dr RA Calvo; Dr K Yacef

This project will provide benefits on a national level due to the importance of collaborative writing (CW) in business, government, and research. Most writing in professional contexts is, to some extent, accomplished collaboratively, but writing is taught almost exclusively individually. This research will yield a suite of integrated software tools to support all aspects of the CW team process, and the effectiveness of the main innovations will be empirically tested. This has the potential to contribute to the competitiveness of Australia's businesses and to the efficiency of its administrative systems. Further benefits include improved e-learning tools in the secondary and tertiary education sector, such as online team learning.