Christian Education Research Centre


Recent Submissions

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    The Mything Link: The Feminine Voice in the Shifting Australian National Myth
    (2016-01-01) Fitzsimmons, Phil

    This paper is grounded in the axiom, that if narrative tells the clearest truth about the conscious layers of humanity and the truth a culture holds at a particular time, then it is poetry that provides the clearest revelation of the unconscious lies that a culture clings to as it changes. This is no more evident than in the poetry of the Australian poet, Chris Mansell, and in particular her poems, Where Edges Are and The Good Soldier. Her poetry not only reflects the crisis of national identity Australia is currently embroiled in as it “struggles to free itself from residual colonial ideologies,” (Huggan 2007:ix), but the role of woman in this societal shift and their place in the ‘landscape myth’ of the ‘lucky country’. Up until recently the Australian national myth has at its core a narrative dominated by the laconic outback male ‘cattle drover’, who is able to survive in the desert landscape of the outback through sheer determination and subduing the environment and native inhabitants. His wife also surfaces in this mythic schema as a quiet, intelligent, bored and subjugated partner. However, this ‘outback survival narrative’ is being eroded as Australians begin to contemplate their national identity. This national questioning is reflected in poetry and literature, in which there is a subtextual metaphoric shift from ‘desert isolation’ to a proxemics myth related to the sea. Mansell’s poetry is arguably one of the clearest socio-psychological ‘places of mythic voice’ whereby the actual pain of female liminality as ‘archetypal echo’ in the Australian myth is morphing from out of a ‘belly of the whale’ experience’, into a driving force whereby new “myths, metaphors, symbols, rituals and philosophic systems” (Deardorff 2004:13) are being generated. Through Mansell’s poetry and mythic imagery, a lie is changing into a potential for living.

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    Applying Contemporary Early Childhood Theory & Pedagogies to the Process of Intentionally Scaffolding Children's Emergent Spiritual Awareness
    (2014-01-01) Ludlow, Sandra

    This chapter reviews literature on contemporary early childhood theory, and pedagogy, and uses it to suggest implications for best practise in nurturing children’s spiritual awareness and faith formation in faith -based early childhood settings. The paper suggests alternative pedagogies to traditional approaches overreliance on whole group Bible story pedagogy for three to five year olds. Reflections on lived experiences will be used to illustrate the findings of the literature review.

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    Can the Use of Web 2.0 Tools Help Deliver 21st Century Learning?
    (2014-10-01) McLeod, Bobby; Beamish, Peter

    It has long been recognized that people need to be literate to function optimally within society. The 21st century has seen technology increase the complexity of environments, so that a literate person must now possess a wide range of abilities, competencies, and literacies. These have often been referred to as “21st-century skills” and while many of them are not new, the extent to which individual success depends on having such skills is new. The current study seeks to explore ways in which technology can be used to increase literacy and enhance 21st century skills in students.

    1193 students attending Sahmyook University in Seoul, South Korea were placed in small groups and asked to make a movie in English. This constructivist, real-world, group-based project required students to collaboratively negotiated their way through a variety of language, technical and social challenges using a wiki. We can conclude from this study that collaborative projects, supported by web 2.0 tools, can deliver worthwhile learning.

    Students reported that the project; was interesting and rewarding, improved their relationships with classmates, encouraged teamwork, improved English skills, facilitated positive attitudes and the development of ICT skills. Students experienced improved technical, collaborative, leadership, critical thinking and problem solving skills that enhanced knowledge and contributed to their personal 21st century skill set.

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    A Semiotic Analysis of Representational Imagery Used in a Collective Design Task
    (2014-05-01) Williams, Anthony; Gu, Ning; Phare, Darin

    Collective Design seeks to explore how new forms of Collective Intelligence, arising from the web, allows mass participation in design. Regarding design we have a well established grounding for understanding how design works through the use of representations. Likewise, collective intelligence via certain crowdsourcing examples has demonstrated that a diverse crowd can trump ability groups, when the conditions are right. In the literature, crowdsourcing is the leading lens bridging design with collective intelligence. However in crowdsourcing design there is less focus on the role of shared representations, subsequently any collective diversity is mitigated by the models that govern the extraction of this intelligence. We propose that more effective design in collective intelligence lies in the crowd’s ability to generate meaningful contributions via the content of shared representations. In order to investigate this, the current paper examines data collected from a pilot study in which a representationally rich online collaborative presentation tool is used to provide a shared design space. The analysis presented applies our previously established semiotic framework to identify potential patterns in the meaningful communication of image based design information.

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    What Are Classrooms Like When Children Are Sorted By Ability: Australian Mathematics Classrooms
    (2009-10-01) Rickards, Anthony; Kilgour, Peter W.

    Teachers all over the world are teaching Mathematics in classrooms that may have students grouped by ability. Often the decision to group or not to group is made arbitrarily or because this is the way classes have always been arranged. This book will provide a valuable insight into the impact ability grouping has on the learning environments of Mathematics classrooms. The reader will gain insights into how different stakeholders in the schooling process relate to the concept of academic segregation. Information will be revealed on students? preferred learning environment and the way their attitude to mathematics can be shaped by the way their classes are grouped. Principals, heads of departments, teachers at all levels and academics who are interested in the study of learning environments may be caused to think about and even reconsider their position on the place of ability grouping in the education process.

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    Role-Playing as a Tool to Facilitate Learning, Self Reflection and Social Awareness in Teacher Education
    (2015-01-01) Shields, Marion; Northcote, Maria T.; Reynaud, Daniel; Kilgour, Peter W.

    Meaningful learning in the tertiary sector benefits from the inclusion of a variety of teaching and learning techniques including active learning. Role-plays are one type of active and participatory learning activity that creates interaction between students and a simulated scenario. This reality can serve to open the minds of participants to issues they need to be able to deal with in their chosen careers. This paper reports role-plays in four different learning applications: the first was in a multicultural education class and simulated a microcosm of society where students took on the roles of minority groups. The second reports on a history class that provided simulations of key battles of World Wars One and Two. The third was in mathematics for primary teachers’ class where the students simulated experiences as children in mathematics classrooms, parents and teachers speaking to each other and teachers teaching children. The fourth was in a leadership class for final year Early Childhood and Primary pre-service teachers, and involved role-play of an interview during the management of an unsatisfactory work performance by a staff member. The findings show that in each case the objectives of having students experience a simulation of reality were met.

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    The Relative Value of Measures of Omega-3 Index, Perceived Stress, Cortisol and Sleep Time in Identifying Depression Among a Cohort of Australian Adolescents
    (2015-02-26) Pearce, Robyn; Garg, Manohar; Morris, Margaret J.; Guest, Jade; Bilgin, Ayse; Grant, Ross

    Objective: To assess the relative prognostic value of 11 variables including, omega-3, perceived stress, cortisol and sleep duration, in predicting adolescent depression.

    Design, Setting and Participants: A cross-sectional study of 444 healthy adolescents aged 16-18 years, from 10 schools within the Northern Sydney and Central Coast regions of New South Wales, Australia. Participants provided blood and saliva samples and completed questionnaires. Statistical classification methods were used to model the relationships between the predictors and depression.

    Main Outcome Measures: relative predictive value of each variable in correctly classifying depression.

    Results: 6% of boys and 9% of girls were categorised as experiencing severe to extremely severe depression. 4% of boys and 10% of girls were categorised as experiencing severe to extremely severe stress. The mean AM:PM cortisol for boys, 22±101, was higher than that of girls, 11±10. The average omega-3 index for boys, 10.5±3.7, was also higher than that of girls, 7.7±2.6. The average sleep duration of 7.8±1.1 hrs showed no gender differences. The best classification model identified perceived stress as the most significant predictor of depression followed by BMI and omega-3 index. Cortisol ratio was a significant discriminator for boys but not girls. When stress was excluded, shorter sleep duration became a significant discriminator in both boys and girls with waist to hip ratio providing further discrimination in girls only.

    Conclusion: The strongest predictor of depression in adolescents was perceived stress followed by higher BMI and lower omega-3 levels. These findings provide a rational basis for establishing program priorities for the prevention and treatment of adolescent depression.

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    New Metaphors for Teaching and Learning in a University Context
    (2006-07-01) Fetherston, Tony; Northcote, Maria T.

    University teachers and university students often explain their beliefs about teaching and learning by using metaphors and, in a research sense, these metaphors have often been interpreted as indicators of individuals’ educational beliefs. Critical reflection of these metaphors, provides insight into beliefs behind the practices of university teachers and students. This recent University study has uncovered some different metaphors from those commonly reported, which has provided the impetus for this paper. This paper aims to augment and extend existing research about the use of metaphor with investigative insights into individuals’ beliefs and conceptions of teaching and learning. Two groups of stakeholders, university teachers and students, were interviewed and surveyed about their educational beliefs. After their responses were open coded, a set of themes and categories were established. The findings reported in this paper are based on those themes and focus on the metaphors used by participants to describe their beliefs about teaching and learning.

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    Tuning into Podcasts: Collaborative Research into the Value Adding Nature of Podcasts in Teacher Education
    (2007-07-01) Mildenhall, Paula; Swan, Paul; Dobozy, Eva; Marshall, Linda; Northcote, Maria T.

    Digital pedagogy has become an increasingly viable, popular and effective component of higher education teaching and learning at Edith Cowan University and elsewhere. Components of digital pedagogy are diverse with new examples, such as podcasts, regularly being created, released for use and adopted in educational, recreational and business contexts. Consequently, university students use much of this technology both in their employment and recreational lives. This study explored processes of using and developing the students’ existing technological skills within their university studies. This paper documents the processes and findings of a collaborative research project that was implemented across six units of study during two semesters in an undergraduate teacher education course. During this period, podcasts were produced and broadcast to purposely increase student reflection and involvement in their own learning processes. These podcasts included question and answer sessions, teacher-student and student-student conversations, lecture presentations, summaries and reviews. Students were provided with opportunities to contribute to and nominate the content of these podcasts. Data was gathered and analysed from both the students’ and the teachers’ perspective about the perceived effectiveness of podcasts. Findings from this data were considered especially in terms of the value-adding nature of podcasts in undergraduate courses to better engage students. Finally, the research study’s results will be compared with findings from other recent studies using podcasts for educational purposes.

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    Reflection: The Value-adding Component of Service Learning
    (2014-12-01) Rieger, Wilf

    Service learning (SL) has come of age during the past two decades. A brief scanning of the literature and available websites shows it to be de rigueur, spanning the educational continuum from preschools to universities. The latter institutions currently offer free-choice elective courses for academic credit,
    with undergraduates engaged in community internships or volunteering locally and overseas with non-government organizations; with the school of dentistry at one U.S. university pleased to adopt “Service Is Our Calling” as its motto.
    The 20th-century historical roots of service learning may be found in John Dewey’s educational philosophy, and are evident in the goals and activities of such bodies, groups, and associations as the Peace Corps Movement, Scouts, Guides, Pathfinders, Apex, Lions, and Rotary. From a biblical perspective, its origins may be traced back to Old Testament times and seen in the Schools of the Prophets that probably were founded in ancient Israel by Samuel.

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    Reactions, Reflections, and Responsibility: A Responsive Evaluation of an Emerging Blended E-learning Subject
    (2014-12-01) Fitzsimmons, Phil; Kilgour, Peter W.

    In the decade since Schrum and Hong’s comment that “online learning has rapidly become a popular method of edu - cation for traditional and non-traditional students,” this approach to tertiary learning has morphed through several generational forms and platforms to the point where it has become firmly entrenched in the Australian tertiary landscape. As a broad generalization, e-learning, online, or flexible learning in many universities represents a spectrum of “information communications technology” (hereafter referred to as ICT) usage that ranges from little or no actual real-time interaction or “face-to-face” contact with associated viewing linkages such as YouTube through to teaching attempts at fully interactive programs. However, despite the numerous studies purporting the benefits of this form of study, a few voices have argued that this rapid shift has been “accepted uncritically.” Of late, there has also been a gathering chorus of research which suggests that the research base has been skewed, as it has not fully taken into account the understandings of the front-line users: the students themselves. This leads to the rationale of this article that what actually constitutes authentic “flexible learning,” its actual efficacy, and effects remain unclear. Emerging out of the context of standard online delivery is the notion of “blended learning” or “mixed mode learning.” In this learning mode, the ideal is that students retain some of the benefits of constant face-to-face interaction with peers and tutors, as well as the flexibility and less-restrictive nature of learning through technological access. However, blended learning in the Australian context has itself become situated across an ICT spectrum that ranges from the “provision of twoway communication so that the student may benefit from or even initiate dialogue” to the attempt at quasi-virtual situations of the “ClassSim” project.

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    Students’ Perceptions of their Initial PBL Experiences in Engineering Education in Malaysia
    (2013-01-01) Sher, Willy; Williams, Anthony; Wan Muhd Zin, Wan H.

    BACKGROUND Higher education in engineering and technical fields should prepare graduates to take on the increasingly challenging roles required of the engineering profession. Engineering graduates are expected to be responsible for their own personal and professional development. In view of this, the German Malaysian Institute (GMI), an established technical education provider in Malaysia, has adopted Problem-based learning (PBL) as its innovative approach. The main objective is to prepare technologists and industrial workers who are well-grounded with soft skills and abilities. These include abilities to apply knowledge, higher order thinking skills, and personal values, alongside strong handson and technical skills.

    PURPOSE This paper describes the implementation of Problem Based Learning (PBL) as a new approach in the context of engineering education at GMI. It provides an analysis of the first cohort of students’ feedback of their initial experiences of PBL after its implementation in January 2010. The paper focuses the first years’ student experiences specifically looking to better understand the ways in which they engage with PBL.

    DESIGN/METHOD A questionnaire survey was administered to 115 first year students in the Department of Industrial Electronic, after four weeks of PBL implementation in the first semester of their studies. The survey addressed the students’ perspectives on PBL course content, course delivery, self-motivation and PBL assessment. Section A required students to answer using a Likert scale of 1-5 (where 1 meant Strongly Disagree to 5 which meant Strongly Agree). Section B requested open-ended feedback on PBL implementation and difficulties students experienced with PBL. The survey was conducted to evaluate and refine the process of PBL implementation at a very early stage.

    RESULTS Overall, students’ initial feedback was positive and provides encouragement to continue with the PBL approach. This is despite the typical problems that student face including the challenges of working in groups, insufficient resources or insufficient time to complete the problem given. The survey results provide insights into what the majority of students recognise as the benefits of PBL especially in enhancing their critical thinking, problem-solving skills and team-working skills.

    CONCLUSIONS The findings of the survey indicated that it is clear much can still be done to make PBL a success. The Department of Industrial Electronics have taken immediate measures to address the issues raised by students. Our findings support the notion that PBL is suited to be adopted in engineering disciplines because it nurtures critical thinking and problem-solving skills which are central to a graduate’s career in engineering.

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    Connectivity and Text: Finding Self through the Use of Graphic Novels
    (2014-01-01) Fitzsimmons, Phil

    This chapter discusses a project that sought to understand the meaning making processes involved in the reading of graphic novels, as utilized by one cohort of high schools students. While this group were highly articulate in regard to the reading processes they employed, what also emerged were elements of localised ‘habitus’ that were the actual engagement factors of meaning making for these students. At the core of this of this process of connectivity and sense making were the themes of ‘resonance, reflection and reimagining’.

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    At the Core of Creativity: The Conditions of Learning and the Conditions of Connectivity
    (2014-01-01) Lanphar, Edie; Fitzsimmons, Phil

    The aim of this chapter is to discuss the findings of a longitudinal international study that sought to understand the ‘habitus conditions’ that had the potential to give rise to creative experiences. The notion of habitus was used as a key axiomatic lens as it carries the sense that the patterns of thinking and predispositions to be creative arise out of deep familial patterns of ‘connectivity’. Through a series of qualitative-narrative projects adolescents and adults who were either immersed in creative experiences or who had demonstrated creative output were asked to reflect on the sources of these experiences.

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    Exploring Design Strategy in Parametric Design to Support Creativity
    (2013-01-01) Williams, Anthony; Gu, Ning; Lee, JuHyun

    This paper deals with the generative and evolutionary aspects of parametric design. We aim to provide a better understanding of individual design strategies to support creativity in parametric design via protocol analysis. An in-depth analysis conceptualises subjects’ creative strategies into two models: problem-driven strategy and solution-driven strategy. The solution-driven strategy progress design in the solution space resulted in the highest value in the level of creativity. This is one of potential aspects of parametric design. Exploring design strategies in parametric design contributes to its effective use.

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    Knowledge, Attitudes and Practice of Diabetes in Rural Bangladesh: The Bangladesh Population Based Diabetes and Eye Study
    (2014-10-14) Finger, Robert P.; Critchley, Christine; Wahab, Mohamed; Ormsby, Gail; Islam, Mohamed T.; Dirani, Mohamed; Chakrabarti, Rahul; Amirul Islam, Fakir

    Background: To assess the Knowledge, Attitudes and Practice (KAP) amongst the general community regarding type 2diabetes mellitus (DM) in rural Bangladesh.

    Methods: Data was collected using cluster random sampling from 3104 adults residing in a rural district in Bangladesh. Participants underwent a KAP questionnaire survey regarding assessing diabetes, socio-demographic and medical history. Descriptive, Chi-square and regression analyses were performed.

    Results: Participants were aged between 30 and 89 years (M = 51, SD = 11.8) and 65.5% were female. The prevalence of diabetes was found to be 8.3%. The majority (93%) reported to have heard of diabetes, yet only 4% knew what a glucose tolerance test was. Only 50% reported that they knew physical inactivity was a risk factor. Age, gender, level of education and socio-economic status (SES) were significantly associated with KAP. A lower proportion (41%) of older participants (aged >65 years) reported that they knew that dietary modifications assist in diabetes control compared to those aged less than 35 years (69%), p,0.001. Males (b = 0.393, 95% CI = 0.142–0.643), and any level of education compared to no schooling (b = 0.726, 95% CI = 0.596, 0.857) reported significantly more knowledge, after multivariate adjustments for covariates. Participants aged under 35 years, (odds ratio (OR) = 1.73, 95% CI = 1.22–2.43) had significantly higher positive attitudes towards treatments of diabetes compared to those aged $65 years. Of the 99 people with known diabetes, more than 50% (n = 52) never had their blood sugar levels checked since diagnosis.

    Conclusions: Knowledge of diabetes and its risk factors is very limited in rural Bangladesh, even in persons diagnosed with type 2 DM. The development of public health programmes to increase knowledge of diabetes and its complications is required to assist people living in rural Bangladesh to control and management of diabetes.

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    Rights, Responsibilities and School Climate
    (2014-01-01) Petrie, Kevin

    This study investigates the impact of a Rights & Responsibilities program on school climate. Data were collected from 604 students in 59 regular grade 5-6 classrooms, within 20 state schools in Victoria, Australia. A significant positive relationship was found between the implementation of a rights and responsibilities program and increased measures of positive school climate. Implications for classroom teachers and school administrators are discussed. The importance of a Rights & Responsibilities program on student involvement, student-teacher relationships and belonging/connectedness is emphasised.

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    Parametric Design Strategies for the Generation of Creative Designs
    (2014-09-01) Williams, Anthony; Gu, Ning; Lee, JuHyun

    As one of the emerging Computer-Aided Design (CAD) technologies for digital design and visualisation in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) domain, parametric design potentially offers an innovative way of generating new design solutions. Despite this potential, design strategies associated with algorithmic scripting are not well understood. This paper provides a comprehensive understanding of individual design strategies supporting creative solutions in parametric design, using the combined application of protocol analysis and Consensual Assessment Technique (CAT). The article examines the generative and evolutionary aspects of parametric design that play an important role in the generation of creative designs. An in-depth analysis conceptualises designers' parametric design strategies into problem-forwarding strategy and solution-reflecting strategy. The solution-reflecting strategy focusing on the solution space of designing has potential to produce creative solutions by parametric design. A more in-depth understanding of parametric design strategies supports its effective adaptation to better serve the needs of digital design and visualisation in the AEC industry.

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    Critical Issues in Implementing Low Vision Care in the Asia-Pacific Region
    (2012-09-01) Keeffe, Jill E.; Ormsby, Gail; Marella, Manjula; Chiang, Peggy P.

    Two-thirds of the world's population with low vision resides in the Asia-Pacific region. Provision of comprehensive low vision services is important to improve vision-related quality of life (QoL) for people with this condition. This review outlines the critical issues and challenges facing the provision of low vision services in the Asia-Pacific region. The review offers possible strategies to tackle these issues and challenges facing service providers and policy makers in lieu of Vision 2020 strategies in this area. Pertinent findings from the global survey of low vision services and extensive ground work conducted in the region are used; in addition, a discussion on the availability of services, human resources and training, and funding and the future sustainability of low vision care will be covered. In summary, current issues and challenges facing the region are the lack of specific evidence-based data, access, appropriate equipment and facilities, human resources, funding, and sustainability. These issues are inextricably interlinked and thus cannot be addressed in isolation. The solutions proposed cover all areas of the VISION 2020 strategy that include service delivery, human resources, infrastructure and equipment, advocacy and partnership; and include provision of comprehensive care via vertical and horizontal integration; strengthening primary level care in the community; providing formal and informal training to enable task shifting and capacity building; and promoting strong government and private sector partnership to achieve long-term service financial sustainability