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Research Reports

DERN provides access to quality assured and current information resources around the use of digital technologies and digital media in education. These resources are annotated and linked to relevant categories to enable access to collections of similar resources under specific topics.


Social media and student outcomes: teacher, student and employer views

Posted on 01 Dec 2017 with 0 comments
Social Media

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Accessing and posting on social media has become a daily habit for many Australians. Social media is used by individuals to keep in touch with friends and family, by groups to inform their members of relevant information and by organisations to market their services and products. However, is there a role for social media in vocational education and training (VET)? This report looks at how social media is being used within the VET sector as a tool in teaching and learning. The researchers conducted interviews with teachers, students and employers across three different registered training organisations (RTOs) to determine the types of social media most useful in teaching and learning, how they are being used, and whether the outcomes for students are being improved.


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Digital rights in Australia

Posted on 30 Nov 2017 with 0 comments
Internet use Privacy Safe use Trends

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Digital Rights in Australia explores questions about the nature of our rights now and into the future. The analysis covers rights issues in four areas: privacy, profiling and analytics; government data matching and surveillance; workplace change; and freedom of expression and speech regulation. It explores the ethical and legal challenges faced in using digital, networked technologies and debates about how to best manage their transformative impacts. 


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Screen time, all the time: Do smart devices in classrooms help kids learn?

Posted on 30 Nov 2017 with 0 comments
Early childhood Safe use

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Australian parents are anxious about screens in their children’s lives. In December 2015, the Australian Child Health Poll, a quarterly survey run by the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, listed excessive screen time as Australians’ number one concern affecting the health of children and teenagers. The author cites interviews with parents and concludes with a question as to "whether what schools need to be doing is teaching kids how to not use screens all the time". 


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Developing a measure to understand young children’s Internet cognition and cyber-safety awareness: a pilot test

Posted on 17 Jul 2017 with 0 comments
Early childhood Safe use

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Early Years journal cover

This study developed and pilot-tested an interview schedule that focuses on the Internet thinking and cyber-safety awareness of Australian children aged 4–5 years. The schedule shows potential to elicit children’s understandings of the Internet and cyber-safety awareness. Adjustments are required to allow more contextualised responses from children.


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Investigating teacher presence in courses using synchronous videoconferencing

Posted on 02 Nov 2016 with 0 comments
Learning environment Pedagogy Teacher capacity Virtual classrooms

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Through a mixed methods, collective case study approach, this research examines high school courses delivered by synchronous videoconference, and how high school students experience teacher presence in this environment. The researchers discuss the challenges of building of relationships and rapport between the teacher and students in synchronous online teaching. They focus on the skills and strategies required by a teacher to develop ‘presence’. 


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iPlay, iLearn, iGrow

Posted on 03 Sep 2016 with 0 comments
Early childhood Mobile learning

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This report presents the findings from a project that used tablet technology with young children (aged 2 to 6 years of age) in three different early childhood settings. The project was designed to explore the possibilities for learning in each setting to determine if the use of tablets is appropriate for this age group


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The ABC of gender equality in education: aptitude, behaviour, confidence

Posted on 22 Aug 2016 with 0 comments
Digital literacy Gender and ICT Internet use

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Evidence in the report makes clear, gender disparities in performance do not stem from innate differences in aptitude, but rather from students’ attitudes towards learning and their behaviour in school, from how they choose to spend their leisure time, and from the confidence they have – or do not have – in their own abilities as students.


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Internet usage and educational outcomes among 15-year-old Australian students

Posted on 11 Aug 2016 with 0 comments

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Children in rich countries are using the Internet for social networking and gaming at very high rates, particularly in Australia. This study addresses whether these activities affect educational achievement in mathematics, reading, and science using the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s 2012 Program for International Student Assessment data set. The results suggest that using online social networks reduces academic achievement. Conversely, playing online games increases scores. It is argued that although both activities are associated with a high opportunity cost of study, video games potentially allow students to apply and sharpen skills learned in school. Skipping school, failing an academic year in the past, and being indigenous are also important predictors of underachievement. It is suggested that monitoring, counseling, and tutoring students who are at risk of failure may useful.


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Towards a model of how learners process feedback: A deeper look at learning

Posted on 27 Jul 2016 with 0 comments
Assessment online Learning environment Learning systems

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Drawing on a literature review from cognitive psychology, neuroscience and education, this research article describes a Learner Processing of Feedback in Intelligent Learning Environments model of how learners process feedback. It presents findings from a pilot study as a preliminary test of the model. Seventeen learners participated in an experiment using the intelligent learning environment known as Crystal Island. A range of data was collected, including a pre-test measuring prior knowledge, think-alouds, log data, video recordings, biometrics and post-task questionnaires. The authors discuss these findings and steps forward to further validate the model using physiological measures.


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Evolving classrooms: unlocking teachers’ perceptions and how they impact digital literacy practices

Posted on 05 May 2016 with 0 comments
21st century skills ICT in education Learning environment Social Media

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This US study by Crystal Beach from the University of Georgia, set out to ‘understand how teachers’ perceptions may impact how digital literacy practices are considered and used within their classrooms’. In other words, the study aimed to understand how perceptions of literacy education are being affected by the literacy practices of teachers and students in and out of school contexts.


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