Education and Arts

ARC success for ACU researchers

Researchers at Australian Catholic University (ACU) are celebrating after receiving seven Australian Research Council (ARC) grants – making 2014 the University's best year for funding success.

Four of the seven grants awarded to ACU were given to researchers from the Faculty of Education and Arts and the news came as ACU reflected on its first year of research intensification – a strategy which was developed in response to changes in the Australian Higher Education sector. The strategy aims for better performance in priority research areas to build and improve ACU's research reputation in both domestic and international markets.

Congratulations to our faculty staff members for their outstanding achievements.  The recipients for the ARC Awards and details on their projects are listed below. 

1.    ARC Discovery Early Career Research Award  
Associate Professor Vince Geiger - Awarded $361, 876

Numeracy has been a national education priority for more than a decade, yet there appears to be little progress in student's numeracy performance. A lack of numeracy skills leads to devastating social and economic outcomes for individuals. This project aims to improve students' numeracy capabilities through attention to the design of tasks intended to enhance numeracy across the curriculum, and the refinement of teaching practices with a view to improving student performance on both standardised numeracy tests and more realistic, contextualised tasks. The project aims to generate new theoretical and practical insights into effective numeracy education across the school curriculum

2.    ARC Discovery Awards  
Professor Morag McArthur, Professor Anne Graham, Dr Merle Spriggs, Dr Jennifer Chalmers, Dr Timothy Moore and Dr Stephanie Taplin - Awarded $335, 500

There is a growing consensus that children's involvement in social research is important, but considerable uncertainty remains around children's inclusion in research on sensitive issues, reflecting concerns about how to balance children's protection with their participation. Key to this are deeply embed assumptions and beliefs about children and childhood, especially concerning notions of capacity, agency, vulnerability, dependency and the like - this project aims to better understand and address the tensions between the protection of children and their participation in research and to explore how ethics committees, parents other gatekeepers and children themselves manage and navigate these tensions.

Professor Joy Cummings,  Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith, Professor Karen Harris, Professor Steve Graham,  Dr Elizabeth Dickson and Dr Amanda Webster  - Awarded $310, 900

The Australian Curriculum and Disability Standards for education create high expectations for education of students with disabilities. Teachers are to address the diversity of student learning needs in their classes and adjustment to school-based assessment that enable students with disabilities to demonstrate their learning. Recent reports identify inconsistent practice in schools and the need for evidence- based guidance to inform these adjustments. This longitudinal project involves researcher-teacher collaboration and aims to identify effective assessment adjustments for secondary schools students with disabilities develop system level protocols for adjustment and meet national goals of improved education outcomes for these students

Associate Professor Susan Edwards, Associate Professor Jocelyn Nuttall, Professor Susan Grieshaber and Professor Elizabeth Wood - Awarded $191,900

Tradition play-based leaning in early childhood education cannot account for new play: very young children's everyday play technologies, digital media and popular culture. This project uses recently developed web-mapping tool to create a pedagogical approach to new play. The pedagogical approach to new play comprises teaching practices and learning outcomes that capitalise on the educational potential of children's everyday play technologies, digital media and popular culture. It aims to enable teachers to work from a theorised and empirically validates perspective for connecting you ng children's everyday play with technologies, digital media and popular culture artefact to their 21st century learning needs