Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses

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    An evaluation of frequency transposition in hearing aids for school age children
    Smith, Alyson Jennifer (University of Melbourne, 2008)
    This study examined the changes in aided performance observed in children with hearing impairment who trialled alternative hearing aid technology. A key objective when fitting hearing aids to children is to maximise the audibility of high frequency speech cues which are critical in the understanding of spoken English. Recent advances in digital signal processing have enabled the development of hearing aids which offer linear frequency transposition as a new way of accessing these important speech sounds. The rationale behind the research was to evaluate the benefits of this new technology for six hearing-impaired children. The participants were aged between 9 and 14 years and all attended mainstream schools. Results for each participant are presented in a case study format. Objective outcome measures were comprised of tests of speech perception and speech production. These case study results illustrate individual variation, with five of the six participants recording overall positive change in both these metrics. Results also showed statistically significant improvements for the group as a whole. The objective findings were supported by positive subjective benefits measured using formal and informal questionnaires completed by the participants, their family members and their teachers. The introduction of the new technology resulted in improved hearing aid usage, increased selfconfidence, improved listening skills and global improvements in communication abilities. Differences were particularly marked for those children with extreme ski-slope hearing losses fitted with an open ear hearing aid style.
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    Using new media in the drama classroom
    Werda, Monique Kathryn (University of Melbourne, 2007)
    This study explores the ways in which primary school drama students engage with new media technologies in the drama classroom. Specifically this study investigates a multi-media project combining live role- based performance and digital role-based performance. The research addresses whether the drama classroom can operate effectively within a digital framework. In particular the study seeks to clarify whether the virtual world and the real world of the drama classroom can come together to produce new dramatic works. Using an action research approach, I draw on my teaching of nine weeks of drama in an all girls K-12 school in Melbourne, Australia. The data was collected through observing and facilitating the drama workshops, conducting interviews with both student and teacher participants and collecting digital discussion forum reflections. A review of the related literature focuses on the current state of drama education and the ways in which drama educators are adapting to the technological changes in their curricula. In the drama classes the girls were challenged to create improvisations and stories from new media pretexts and stimuli. In their dramas the girls also addressed the ways in which new technologies were present in their everyday lives and how these technologies could be used in the drama classroom. This study addresses the possibilities of building a digitally viable drama classroom that still enables students to learn and express themselves through dramatic form. The findings of this study indicate the importance of drama education to connect young people to their real life technological experiences and also the importance of giving young people physically active opportunities that they do not find in their highly mediated world.
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    Evaluation of web site design in online learning : a case study approach
    Bagg, Stefan (University of Melbourne, 2002)
    As a result of economic rationalism and technological determinism, it has been argued that a global imperative to adopt Online Learning (OLL) is being driven by "megauniversities" (Bates, 1996, p.6), in order to deliver a mass-produced education (Clark, 1996; Laurillard, 1996). While this may have been enough for its initial justification, many now believe it should provide "value-added" (Leigh, 1997, pp.5-6), benefits that also improve the quality of learning as well (Alexander, 1996; Andres 1996; Laurillard, 1996). To accomplish this, some would argue, requires a paradigm shift away from traditional "Instructional" design approaches towards a model of "Constructivism" where the delivery of education becomes learner-centred (Alexander, 1996, p.5; Jonassen, 1994, pp.1-3). The capacity of the World Wide Web (WWW) to meet these demands is wellrecognised. Not only can it deliver "anytime, anywhere" (Bates, 1996, p.1), but by incorporating interactive hypermedia (IHM) it may be possible to create an environment where opportunities for "deep" learning (through "knowledge construction"), as well as "life-long" learning may occur (Alexander 1996, pp.5-6; Jonassen, 1994, p.2). Hence it is crucial that educators are able to make informed decisions about web design strategies in order to contribute to the process of maximising quality outcomes in OLL. The purpose of this study was to investigate student perceptions of two (2) contrasting OLL sites and any effects web usability design (Nielsen, 1997), may have had upon either site's potential to value-add to a user's learning experience. Conducted within a TAFE(1) setting by a teacher using students as volunteers(2), a qualitative case study approach was applied. Prior to this investigation a specific set of web usability design (WUD) guidelines was created in order to aid in the development a model OLL web site that aimed at promoting an interesting and stimulating learning environment while simultaneously reducing the cognitive load placed upon a user. A second site containing essentially the same subject material but contrasting dramatically in terms of its delivery design was then also produced. So that a comparative evaluation of these two sites could be made twelve volunteers, of mixed gender and generally representative of a TAFE student population, were recruited to act as heuristic usability evaluators. This study demonstrates that to promote the potential for a better quality OLL experience for students, careful consideration of web usability design (WUD) is important. That teachers can play an active role in the design, development and evaluation of an OLL program is also possible given that this case study shows that it is feasible to implement an iterative design strategy that is less costly and more time efficient than traditional computer engineering models. Consequently in the process of conducting this form of inquiry it was found that in the application of these WUD guidelines a strategy that provides a more responsive approach to student needs in OLL is achievable and that in the end this must be one of the key considerations in providing a quality learning experience.
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    Evaluation of web site design in online learning : a case study approach
    Bagg, Stefan (University of Melbourne, 2002)
    As a result of economic rationalism and technological determinism, it has been argued that a global imperative to adopt Online Learning (OLL) is being driven by "megauniversities" (Bates, 1996, p.6), in order to deliver a mass-produced education (Clark, 1996; Laurillard, 1996). While this may have been enough for its initial justification, many now believe it should provide "value-added" (Leigh, 1997, pp.5-6), benefits that also improve the quality of learning as well (Alexander, 1996; Andres 1996; Laurillard, 1996). To accomplish this, some would argue, requires a paradigm shift away from traditional "Instructional" design approaches towards a model of "Constructivism" where the delivery of education becomes learner-centred (Alexander, 1996, p.5; Jonassen, 1994, pp.1-3). The capacity of the World Wide Web (WWW) to meet these demands is wellrecognised. Not only can it deliver "anytime, anywhere" (Bates, 1996, p.1), but by incorporating interactive hypermedia (IHM) it may be possible to create an environment where opportunities for "deep" learning (through "knowledge construction"), as well as "life-long" learning may occur (Alexander 1996, pp.5-6; Jonassen, 1994, p.2). Hence it is crucial that educators are able to make informed decisions about web design strategies in order to contribute to the process of maximising quality outcomes in OLL. The purpose of this study was to investigate student perceptions of two (2) contrasting OLL sites and any effects web usability design (Nielsen, 1997), may have had upon either site's potential to value-add to a user's learning experience. Conducted within a TAFE(1) setting by a teacher using students as volunteers(2), a qualitative case study approach was applied. Prior to this investigation a specific set of web usability design (WUD) guidelines was created in order to aid in the development a model OLL web site that aimed at promoting an interesting and stimulating learning environment while simultaneously reducing the cognitive load placed upon a user. A second site containing essentially the same subject material but contrasting dramatically in terms of its delivery design was then also produced. So that a comparative evaluation of these two sites could be made twelve volunteers, of mixed gender and generally representative of a TAFE student population, were recruited to act as heuristic usability evaluators. This study demonstrates that to promote the potential for a better quality OLL experience for students, careful consideration of web usability design (WUD) is important. That teachers can play an active role in the design, development and evaluation of an OLL program is also possible given that this case study shows that it is feasible to implement an iterative design strategy that is less costly and more time efficient than traditional computer engineering models. Consequently in the process of conducting this form of inquiry it was found that in the application of these WUD guidelines a strategy that provides a more responsive approach to student needs in OLL is achievable and that in the end this must be one of the key considerations in providing a quality learning experience.
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    Girls can do science!!! : a personal history of professional development
    Osman, Ann Elizabeth (University of Melbourne, 1992)
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    Girls can do science!!! : a personal history of professional development
    Osman, Ann Elizabeth (University of Melbourne, 1992)
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    The investigation into the application of chaos theory and fractal geometry as a cross-curricular enrichment theme for highly able students
    Kelly, Lynne S. (Lynne Sandra) (University of Melbourne, 1994)
    Chaos theory and fractal geometry is investigated as an interdisciplinary enrichment theme for gifted students. A literature search revealed the recommendation that this topic be introduced into secondary schools, but no references could be found to a suitable course. Hence an action research group of highly able secondary school students aged from twelve to seventeen was established to help develop just such a course. It was found to be necessary to divide the emergent curriculum into seven streams to satisfy the individual needs of the students. The streams were mathematics, science, programming, software, history and philosophy, communications and art. The mathematics stream formed the basis introducing concepts such as iteration, deterministic systems, iterated function systems, complex numbers, the Cantor, Mandelbrot and Julia Sets, The Koch curve, fractal dimensions, period doubling and phase space. Some students programmed the mathematical procedures in both Quick Basic and Turbo Pascal. The applications in science, including weather forecasting, dissecting lungs, chemical reactions, astronomy, population dynamics and magnetic pendulums were investigated using practical methods wherever possible. Software packages were explored as were the historical, philosophical, sociological and artistic questions which arose during the action research phase. Modern communications were used to gain programs and information over Internet. Links with people of similar interests around the world were established. Through these activities, a final course of eighty work sheets and supporting reference sheets was developed. This course is presented in Volume Two. Students and the candidate maintained journals and these, along with a questionnaire and other documentary data, were analysed using a grounded theory methodology. As a result, chaos theory and fractal geometry was shown to be a suitable and stimulating theme for cross-curricular enrichment of highly able students.
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    Supporting English as an Additional Language student wellbeing in secondary schools: Teacher perspectives and a group psychoeducational program
    Lyu, Mengyu Andy ( 2022)
    Objectives: There is increasing recognition that English as an Additional Language (EAL) students need additional support to thrive in an English-speaking country, particularly when adapting to a new country and developing English language skills. Yet, the understanding of their acculturative needs is limited. Further, no targeted interventions for their psychological adaptation or wellbeing are available in secondary school contexts. The present study aimed to address this gap in knowledge and practice. Methods: Mixed methods were used. In Phase 1, semi-structured interviews were conducted with three EAL teachers. In Phase 2, the adapted Coping with Study Abroad (CSA) program was piloted with 25 EAL students in an Australian secondary school. The effectiveness of the program was evaluated using a repeated-measures design (n = 20) and a qualitative feedback survey (n = 6). Results: EAL students experienced pervasive stresses in various aspects of school life, including learning (e.g., language barriers to participating in class activities) and wellbeing (e.g., negative emotions due to difficulty communicating in English). While the adapted CSA program provided an opportunity for EAL students to connect with each other, no significant changes were found between the pre- and post-intervention scores in proactive coping behaviours, psychological wellbeing, and negative stereotype about help-seeker. Conclusions: There are strengths and limitations in the current school practice and the adapted program for EAL students. To effectively support EAL students in secondary school, wellbeing support and English language skills development should work in synergy, with each enhancing the other.
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    Translingual language education: towards the resourceful speaker
    Smith, Hannah ( 2017)
    The aim of this research report is to outline a preliminary guide of how to implement translingual language education. Currently, language education is based on modernist ideas about language. Learners are expected to master the same standard form as a native speaker does. Few language students achieve this goal. Minority language students are particularly disadvantaged, as this approach to education hinders their ability to access the majority language. Their home languages are often ignored or forbidden by teachers which has led to academic failure. The translingual approach is grounded in the work of multilingual education researchers, and poststructuralist sociolinguistic scholarship. This report answers questions about how a translingual approach can support language minority and majority students to adopt new attitudes and skills in line with modern research. These skills include being resourceful speakers who are able to adapt to the communication needs of the moment. This report uses a literature review of published academic works describing the translingual teaching practices of teachers in Western contexts. The analysis revealed possible ways for teachers to model a new attitude towards languages, and utilise their students’ language resources. The report provides recommendations for facing future challenges in the field.
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    Ticking boxes, kicking goals: teacher perceptions of their professional learning within the 2014 Victorian performance and development process
    Allen, Janette Marion ( 2016)
    Australian performance and development processes have been viewed by teachers as having little impact on their teaching and were mainly fulfilled out of compliance, according to a 2009 OECD study. This research details how the current Victorian Performance And Development Guidelines (DEECD, 2014a) represent a change in framing from past policies and how teachers interact with and perceive this new process. This project used a narrative inquiry methodology providing participant teachers with opportunities to articulate and reflect on their learning through a six-month period of their review cycle. The narrative of their experience was analysed using Positioning Theory which was useful in exploring the interplay of factors perceived by teachers to shape their learning over time. These include the negotiation of agreement with leaders, developing understanding of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, and a focus on the production of evidence within the goal-setting cycle. Factors were also identified that may need addressing to support the full realisation of the policy’s potential in the lives of teachers and students.