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Westpac is offering postgraduate scholarships for talented individuals. Applicants will be chosen for their potential to make a difference in the areas of Technology and Innovation, Enabling Positive social change or Strengthening Australia-Asia ties.

Valued at up to $120,000 over 2-3 years, scholarships will be awarded annually for research or coursework studies at graduate level. Applications are open to Australian citizens and permanent residents who have completed an undergraduate degree within the last five years, or will complete in the year of application.

For more details and how to apply see Closing date for applications is 31 August 2016.

Congratulations to Dr Patrica Thibaut Paez, who has been awarded a position by the National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT) through its FONDECYT program's Postdoctoral Contest 2016.

These positions are granted by the National Fund for Scientific and Technological Research (FONDECYT), which was created as an instrument to promote scientific and technological development in Chile. FONDECYT fosters the initiative of individuals and research groups by funding scientific and technological research projects in all fields of knowledge. Resources are allocated through annual public competitions and projects are selected on the basis of their intrinsic quality and the merits of applicants without, distinction of fields, institutional affiliation or gender. The aim of this competition is to stimulate productivity and future scientific leadership of young researchers who hold a Doctorate degree.

Patricia is a researcher at the Centre for Research on Computer Supported Learning and Cognition (CoCo) at the University of Sydney. She also completed her PhD at the Centre. Her research focuses on learning, literacy, and mobile technologies across formal and informal spaces.

Forbes (US) recently mentioned research by Rafael Calvo and Dorian Peters in a piece titled: '“Positive Computing: The Next Big Thing In Human-Centered Design?"'

"It’s a call to action that Calvo and Peters are delivering to a wider audience, not just the innovators working under the shadows of Hangar One. And they are delivering it at a time when technologists have a big opportunity to rethink their approach to design. A new era of computing — wearable, integrated, ubiquitous — is fast approaching. Will it be good or bad for our wellness? If you believe in human agency, then the call to action is real. There’s no time like today to plan for a future in which we can thrive, and not be the victims of our own design."

The article is available online here.

Professor Rafael Calvo, from the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies, and Dorian Peters, from the Faculty of Education and Social Work, have just published a book: Positive Computing: Technology for Wellbeing and Human Potential. They also run a blog called Positive Computing at

Students who used school-issued laptop computers at school and home perform better in their HSC science exams than those not given the computers, recent research from the University of Sydney has shown.

"While improvements are small to medium they are statistically significant, particularly in the context of highly competitive HSC exams where a margin of a few marks can affect a student's future at university or in the job market," said Simon Crook, a PhD candidate in the physics education research group at the University of Sydney and lead author of an article recently published in the International Journal of Science Education.

While there is widespread research on the impact of using laptops on students' motivation, there is a lack of research on their influence on academic achievement, especially for science. This study capitalised on a unique natural experiment created by the staged roll-out of the campaign, the Digital Education Revolution, in which only half of Year 9 NSW students in 2008 received laptops from their schools. In late 2011, when these students sat their HSC examinations half of them had been schooled with their own laptops for more than three years, and half had not. The research looked at the results of 967 science students from 12 high schools in Sydney, in HSC biology, chemistry and physics.

A paper, "An Evaluation of the Impact of 1:1 Laptops on Student Attainment in Senior High School Sciences', has been published in the International Journal of Science Education and also been featured in The Australian (subscribers only). Authors on the article are Simon Crook (lead), STL reseacher Associate Professor Manju Sharma from the School of Physics and Dr Rachel Wilson from the Faculty of Education and Social Work.

You can view the paper here.

Congratulations to Associate Professor Rafael Calvo who has been awarded an ARC Future Fellowship. Minister for Education, the Hon. Christopher Pyne MP, announced $115 million for the Fellowships on July 23rd, under the Australian Research Council's (ARC) Future Fellowships scheme which promotes research in areas of critical national importance by supporting outstanding mid-career researchers to conduct their research in Australia.

Rafael will use his Fellowship to bring together experts from multiple disciplines to develop new technologies to improve health, performance and quality of life for all Australians, working closely with the Charles Perkins Centre and the Brain and Mind Research Institute in his research on positive computing and health.

If you would like to see Rafael speak, he presents Positive Computing: Technologies for psychological wellbeing and human potential on Friday the 8th of August. The talk will take place at 4pm in room 424 of the Education Building, Camperdown, University of Sydney.

The full list of 2014 Future Fellowships is available on the Australian Research Council website.

architecture lucila peter.jpg

Congratulations to STL researchers and collaborators who recently published the boook The Architecture of Productive Learning Networks .The book co-edited by Peter Goodyear and Lucila Carvalho presents an insightful perspective on design and networked learning.

A comprehensive review about the book from Professor Terry Anderson is now available following this link .

To order a copy of the book you can go here

The OECD Education Today blog has a new article by deputy director Andreas Schleicher entitled "What teachers know and how that compares with college graduates around the world".

Given some of the wilder comments about Australian teachers' maths and literacy skills, Schleicher's article, and the graph, give food for thought.


NYT gives lots of publicity to flipped classrooms, with teacher-generated videos (not MOOC material) especially in highschools. Reports of considerable improvement in outcomes. See
(Hat tip: marginal revolution blog)


RC.jpgAccording to Associate Professor Rafael Calvo we may be entering an era of “positive computing”, in which technology will be designed specifically to promote wellbeing and human potential. He has been in the news recently discussing how we can use advances in online technology to develop innovative programs and tools that support mental health and promote well-being.

The University of Sydney profiled his cross-disciplinary work in harnessing technology to improve mental health with Professor Ian Hickie, Director of the Brain and Mind Research Institute and the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre (Young and Well CRC). The researchers and the Young and Well CRC are engaging in multidisciplinary approaches that bring software specialists together with psychologists and other mental health experts to create new technologies, specially designed to support mental health and well-being.

The three-year project will develop of a range of online interventions to be mapped and available free to the Australian school curriculum including:

  • a Wellbeing Hub where young people can download tools and applications to improve their wellbeing

  • a semi-automated triage system

  • an online clinic to provide direct support to young people experiencing a mental health difficulty.

In his article on The Conversation, "We could be superheroes: the era of positive computing", he discusses the project in more detail, as well as how technologies that foster the factors correlated to psychological well-being are likely to become more common.

If you'd like to see Rafa discuss positive computing, and you live in the UK, you can catch him at University College London on 12 April when he will present seminar on learning technology and positive computing at 1pm. For more info, see their website.

Every two years the Australian Research Council carries out a national assessment of the quality of university research - all fields of research in all universities.

In the 2010 research assessment, the area in which Learning Sciences and Learning Technology research is located (FoR1303) scored 4. (This equates to research which is 'above world standard'.) The 2012 research assessment results were released today and once again we have been awarded a 4 for the quality of our work. Congratulations to all concerned.

Manju Sharmaimages.jpgI am delighted to share the news that A/Prof Manju Sharma has been awarded the Australian Institute of Physics Education Medal for 2012.

This award marks recognition of the sustained and important contributions that A/Prof Manjula Sharma has made both to physics education and to research in physics education. She has produced an outstanding output of creative and important research, presented at leading forums for physics.


When Argentinean TV channel C5N ran a news segment on education in Australia, and particularly about the University of Sydney, Rafael Calvo was one of the educators whose views they featured. You'll need to speak Spanish to understand what he is saying but you can watch for Rafa at the 3 minute and 4 minute marks when he is discussing the academics at University of Sydney, and how they put everything they have got into their work. Rafa also said that university has a level research quality comparable with the best in Europe and the USA and that up to 50% of the students in his classes are from overseas.

Watch the full clip on YouTube.

Fotolia_9316612_Subscription_sml.jpgSTL were in the spotlight last week when The Australian, highlighted Professor Goodyear's keynote at a recent high-speed broadband and higher education forum.

Professor Goodyear said the pace of change in the higher education environment meant that neither top down management strategies nor grassroots innovation would be able to cope. In order to respond coherently and efficiently to changes in their operating environment, universities need to behave more like 'self managing' ecosystems, informed by ideas about 'good learning'.

He warned that recent research in the learning sciences had not yet been picked up broadly within universities. Flows of data about learning processes and outcomes were still limited.

Measures of student satisfaction, and students' self-reports about what they have learned, are only partial guides to whether their education is proceeding well.

"If you are running a multi-million dollar business and you don't have good data about whether your core product or service is doing what everybody thinks it is supposed to be doing, surely you ought to feel a little bit insecure about that,'' he said.

The article, titled "University management left behind on student learning", was written by Andrew Trounson and published in The Australian's Higher Education section on September 29.

Peter's keynote on "Connected Learning" was part of Creating New Futures, a high-speed broadband and higher education forum, held at the University of Melbourne on Thursday 27th September. Please contact us if you would like more information.


RC.jpgCongratulations to Associate Professor Rafael Calvo, of our STL management team, who has received a national award for outstanding teaching for his work on scholarly approaches that influence and enrich engineering students' experience of academic writing.

Rafael, who is the Director of the Learning and Affect Technologies Engineering group (LATTE), was awarded for his commitment to helping engineering students gain invaluable writing skills through the creation of innovative online tools. That tool, iWrite, has now been made available to academics outside of engineering.

Rafael was one of seven academics, from six different faculties, among the 152 winners nationally of the 2012 Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning. The citations are awarded annually by the federal government's Office for Learning and Teaching to recognise quality teaching practice and contributions towards student learning.

"Our best teachers succeed because they are driven by the passion and academic rigour to make a difference," said University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence.

The presentations for New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory will be held from 3 to 5pm on Tuesday 25 September at the Webster Theatre, the University of Sydney.

For further of this story, and for more information on all the Sydney winners, visit the University of Sydney news site.

Exploring Mars with roving robotics may become a virtual reality for remote and rural students as part of a program underpinning the National Broadband Network (NBN)-Enabled Education and Skills Services Program, announced yesterday by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR).

Congratulations to Professor Salah Sukkarieh, the Australian Centre for Field Robotics's Director of Research and Innovation.

Full story

As featured in the Australian, in a school in the US, students are tested each week in maths and reading, and, depending on their grade level, in science and social studies too. In addition they also have an "interim assessment" every six weeks, with tests on the all the material covered in the previous weeks and in the earlier part of the term. By the end of the school year, the tests are long and cover a vast range of material. The tests arm the teachers with information about what the students are learning or struggling with, and allow them to plan intervention when students fall behind, and share techniques that work. They call it data-driven teaching.


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Research by the University's Centre for Research on Learning and Innovation (CRLI).