Academic staff in the School of Education at Southern Cross University engage in a diverse range of educational research projects, many of which relate to learning and teaching in formal educational contexts from early childhood through to higher education. Here are a some research project highlights.
Science Enthusiasm in schools
Dr Marianne Logan and Adjunct Professor Keith Skamp have recently published their longitudinal study into the interest of science for students over a four year period. Their paper, 'The Impact of Teachers and Their Science Teaching on Students' Science Interest: A four-year study' published in the International Journal of Science Education in May 2013, charters the interest in science of 14 students from Year 7 to 10. Their research found that the methods used by science teachers has a significant influence on the interest of students studying the subject.
With a crisis in school science in Australia due to declining numbers of students choosing to study the subject, these findings could influence practices in the classroom.
Professor Martin Hayden travels to Vietnam regularly working on projects about recent policy developments in higher education. This work has resulted in a book published by Springer in 2008. His work creates many opportunities for the future, and he is now providing advice and support to several distinguished young Vietnamese academics to visit Australia to broaden their understanding of higher education systems.
Information and Communication Technology and Teacher Professional Development
Dr Renata Phelps and Associate Professor Anne Graham, through a collaborative initiative between Southern Cross University and the Catholic Education Office, Lismore (funded through the Australian Research Council 2004-2007), have been involved in researching and developing a holistic and flexible whole-school approach to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) professional development for primary and secondary school teachers. Technology Together is not just about ICT skills training. It acknowledges the importance of school culture and meets individual teachers 'where they are at' on the technology learning ladder. Technology Together is about developing teachers' capability - their ability to go on learning and adapting to technological change. Technology Together has been published by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) (2013). The book, together with the Participants' Zone of this website, provide a wealth of practical ideas and resources to support planning, implementation and evaluation of ICT professional learning in your school.
Adjunct Professor Bob Wright is involved in several research projects including the following:
- Chief Investigator on the Australian Research Council funded Linkage project entitled, Intervention in the number learning of low-attaining 3rd- and 4th-grade students. The Industry Partner for this project is the Catholic Education Office, Melbourne. This project involved working with an intervention teacher in each of 25 primary schools in Victoria, over the course of one school year. Each teacher's work included intensive intervention teaching of eight low-attaining students. This project is now in the analysis and publication phase and has resulted in six publications and two additional papers submitted. As well, the project has lead to additional collaborative work with CEO Melbourne.
- Collaborating on a project entitled Evaluating Math Recovery with Student Outcomes. This two-year project is led by Prof Paul Cobb at Vanderbilt University and is funded by the Institute of Education Sciences.
- Collaborating on research and development at the National American Indian, Alaskan and Hawaiian Education Development Center, in the United States. The NAIAHEDC aims to advance the teaching of mathematics and literacy at K 5 grade levels, in schools with high proportions of Native American students.
Professor Wright is also the first author of three books on the assessment and teaching of early number, two of which are in their second edition. These books are published in London by Sage.
Science and Environmental Education
Adjunct Professor Keith Skamp is currently involved in a number of research projects linked to his interests in science and environmental education. He has advised the NSW Department of Education and Training in its development of an Education for Sustainability (EfS) framework for NSW schools, after also completing, for the NSW DET, an extensive review of the international literature in research and best practice in environmental education and EfS. Professor Skamp has, with colleagues from the University of Liverpool, been researching students' conceptions, and willingness to act, about global warming. This is a cross-national study (Greece, Spain, USA, England and Australia) across Years 6 to 10.
Professor Skamp has completed research articles on the use of learnscapes as a pedagogical tool in environmental education and was research leader for the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Water Resources funded project: A Review of Air Quality Education, which was published in 2007. He is also the editor and main writer of the highly successful book, Teaching Primary Science Constructively (2008), now in its third edition, having sold in excess of 25,000 copies.
Updated: 06 May 2013