Damian brings with him to UTS a wealth of knowledge after working in primary and secondary schools for a period of 20 years in various states and territories around Australia.
As a university lecturer, Damian worked at UTS from 2000 onwards as a casual tutor, teaching ICT to prospective primary school teachers. During this period he also taught at UWS teaching ICT and action research to prospective primary school teachers and at the Australian Institute of Music teaching ICT to budding musicians. During 2008 he worked as a full time lecturer at Macquarie University in the Primary Education Program teaching Creative Arts.
Damian is focusing on the use of digital technologies in both primary and secondary schools and on teaching and learning in the tertiary sector with his research. The use of spaces to support learning, both physical and online and the ethical implications of this are areas Damian is investigating. He is also interested in project-based learning and how this is being implimented in schools. His current research is situated around a STEM focus. See full list of Damian's publications (opens an external site).
Can supervise: YES
Damian completed his thesis in 2006 at UTS and looked at the Internet as a communication tool in the upper primary classroom. His current research also focuses on the use of ICT in the primary school classroom. In 2009 he carried out research looking at the use of an interactive whiteboard linked to a web-conferencing system. Other interests are with ESL learners in primary schools and the transition from primary school to high school. During 2015 worked on several BYOD projects with both primary and secondary schools. PBL projects are a major focus of Damian's work in 2016.iN 2018 he is looking at impacts of digital technologies on teaching and learning as well as on PLNs and on technology mediated learning spaces.
Kearney, MD & Maher, D 2019, 'Mobile learning in pre-service teacher education: Examining the use of professional learning networks.', Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 34.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Interest in how to use mobile devices to support teaching and learning has increased as technologies have become more sophisticated and ubiquitous. A recent focus in teacher education is the use of mobile devices to support teachers' professional learning networks (PLNs). This study investigates how pre-service teachers (PSTs) use mobile technologies to support different aspects of their PLN activities. The study uses a qualitative methodology where data from focus group discussions, artefact collection and participant journals kept by 11 final year PSTs provided nuanced insights into their mobile learning practices. A validated mobile pedagogical framework (Kearney, Schuck, Burden, & Aubusson, 2012) is used to analyse the data. Findings uncover a deeper understanding of exemplary mobile learning approaches in initial teacher education and have implications for effective preparation of PSTs for career-long professional learning.
Buchanan, J, Pressick-Kilborn, K & Maher, D 2019, 'Promoting environmental education for primary school-aged students using digital technologies', Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, vol. 15, no. 2.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Kearney, M, Maher, D & Pham, L 2019, 'Investigating pre-service teachers' informally-developed online professional learning networks', Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 21-35.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This study investigates how final year pre-service teachers (PSTs) from several countries use social media to support their online professional learning network (PLN) activities. Adopting a mixed-methods approach, it uses a global survey and interview methods to generate fresh insights into PSTs' informally-developed online PLN practices and their perceived benefits of these self-initiated activities. Findings uncover new understandings of contemporary PSTs' patterns of use and configurations of their online PLNs and have implications for their effective transitioning into the teaching profession.
Buchanan, J & Maher, D 2018, 'The 'foreign' language teacher: negotiating the culture of a school when unfamiliar with the language of instruction', Teacher Development, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 519-536.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This article examines and theorises the experiences of 12 primary pre-service teachers at an Australian university, undertaking a two week professional teaching experience in Bangkok. This qualitative ethnographic study of our students' and to some extent our own experiences draws on interviews, questionnaires and observations from the students, as well as reflective notes from two participating supervisors, and sets out to account for and understand the sources of the achievements and frustrations experienced by our pre-service teachers. The findings illustrate differences between the students' overseas experiences and Australian-based experiences. These differences include organisational structures, teacher mentoring and cultural understandings, and the effects these had on the students. In particular, we distinguish the more readily observable structural nature of the schools in which the pre-service teachers were teaching, and the less visible cultural aspects that underlie these structures. We propose ways of helping students, as part of pre-departure briefings, to become more aware of these cultural underpinnings, with a view to helping them become more at ease negotiating intercultural workplaces.
© 2018, © 2018 Association for Information Technology in Teacher Education. This article discusses the use of mobile devices by teachers in two Australian schools. It builds on a theoretical framework which considers the location of mobile learning with respect to time and space. The research used a qualitative methodology in which observations, interviews and document analysis were conducted. The study found that the physical and virtual spaces that were used were different from those used in other lessons. Mobile learning facilitated autonomous learning by students, collaboration with their peers and engagement in topics of interest to them. The study found that students and teachers adopted new roles when using the devices, and were untethered from their conventional learning spaces of the classroom. Learning changed in nature and was aligned with contemporary practices in education.
Background: The use of 1:1 and Bring Your Own Device strategies in schools is in its infancy and little is known about how mobile devices such as tablets are being used to support educational practice.
Purpose: In this article, two suburban primary schools in Sydney, Australia were focused on with an aim to understand how mobile device strategies were developed and implemented and how the devices were being used in the schools.
Design and method: This qualitative study uses a case study method. It draws upon questionnaires, interviews and classroom observations, and builds upon previous research in English and Australian schools.
Findings: Results of the research indicate that the devices have only recently been incorporated into the school and suggest that their usage has been generally embraced by both school staff and parents. Key issues highlighted by these two schools included the importance of the school's vision and uncertainty about the differences between models of provision. Participant responses also referenced some positive impacts on classroom practice, which amplify constructivist pedagogy: there were examples of device use extending student learning by supporting peer assessment, collaboration, research skills and projects.
Maher, D & Prescott, AE 2017, 'Professional development for rural and remote teachers using video conferencing', Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, vol. 45, no. 5, pp. 520-538.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Teachers in rural and remote schools face many challenges including those relating to distance, isolation and lack of professional development opportunities. This article examines a project where mathematics and science teachers were provided with professional development opportunities via video conferencing to help them use syllabus documents to develop their teaching programs. The study is qualitative and draws on teacher conversations and surveys using a community of inquiry theoretical framework to analyse the data. The results demonstrate that teacher professional development via video conferencing has both strengths and weaknesses but can support teachers through collaboration to develop their expertise in writing teaching programs.
Maher, D, Schuck, S & Perry, R 2017, 'Investigating Knowledge Exchange amongst School Teachers, University Teacher Educators and Industry Partners.', Australian Journal of Teacher Education, vol. 42, no. 3, pp. 73-90.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Buchanan, J, Ljungdahl, L & Maher, D 2015, 'On the borders: adjusting to academic, social and cultural practices at an Australian university', Teacher Development, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 1-17.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Adjustment to university is challenging for students as they navigate a path through new academic, social and cultural practices. Some may feel on the borders, marginalised by their background. Issues such as adjustment to university life, independence, performance expectations, establishing friendships, technological competence, cultural capital, engaging with others and financial difficulties are addressed. Widening participation and the establishment of equitable access are worthy goals for higher education. This paper investigates cultural characteristics typical of universities, and of students from lower socio-economic backgrounds, and, implicitly, influences such as the schools, communities and families that have shaped these students. The paper reports on perceptions of first-year teacher education students at a university in Sydney, Australia, and explores ways of responding to potential cultural mismatches. It reveals their experiences of university life and sheds light on resources, services and cultural changes that could help in their adjustment and success.
Many schools in industrialized and developing countries are now using mobiles devices. This has the potential to connect learning that occurs in classrooms and museums. This article focuses on the use of iPads by a year 6 class (12 years old) in Sydney Australia, which were used both in the classroom and on a museum excursion. The study uses a qualitative methodology. Results of the study show the iPads were able to support and link learning in both locations although there were logistical considerations which limited their potential
Perry, R, Currie, JL, Maher, D & Johnston, R 2014, 'Perceptions of the Hospital School Experience: Implications for Pedagogy and the use of Technology.', The International Journal of Learning: Annual Review, vol. 20, pp. 9-21.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
We researched stakeholder opinions of the hospital school experience and discovered key issues to be transition, professional development of educators, and technology's role in enhancing a sense of student connection.
Kearney, MD & Maher, D 2013, 'Mobile learning in Maths teacher education: Using Ipads to support pre-service teachers' professional development', Australian Educational Computing, vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 76-84.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
An emerging body of literature explores mobile learning in teacher education contexts. A common theme is the facilitation of collaborative, authentic professional learning experiences, often leveraged by the immediate and spontaneous nature of learning in informal settings. This paper takes a snapshot of current developments with mobile learning in teacher education. It draws on analysis of data from a study investigating mobile learning approaches in this context, with a particular focus on pre-service Maths teachers professional development. The study was developed as part of our institutions activities in the national Teaching Teachers for the Future (TTF) project.
Maher, D 2013, 'Pre-service Primary Teachers' Use of iPads to Support Teaching: Implications for Teacher Education', Educational Research for Social Change, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 48-63.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Maher, D, Phelps, R, Urane, N & Lee, M 2012, 'Primary school teachers' use of digital resources with interactive whiteboards: The Australian context', Australian Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 138-158.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
As interactive whiteboards appear in increasing numbers in primary classrooms, questions will continue to be asked about the effectiveness of these devices in supporting teaching and learning. It is not the board itself, however, which is likely to make a difference to student learning outcomes, but the resources which teachers choose to use in conjunction with their board. This study investigated what digital resources Australian primary school teachers are using when teaching with interactive whiteboards and the factors affecting their choice of such resources. Data were collected from 116 teachers from 13 primary schools in regional and metropolitan areas via an online survey and follow-up focus groups. While flipchart software plays an important role in delivery of lessons, a broad range of resources, particularly online, interactive and multimedia resources are utilised. National, pedagogical and curriculum relevance are critical influences on Australian teachers resource choice and word-of-mouth plays a dominant role in influencing patterns of use. There are important implications from the study for teachers, school leaders, teacher educators and producers of digital resources.
Maher, D 2012, 'Teaching literacy in primary schools using an interactive whole-class technology: facilitating student-to- student whole-class dialogic interactions', Technology, Pedagogy and Education, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 137-152.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Much of the research conducted on the use of interactive whole-class technologies in primary school classroom focuses on teacher-to-student interactions. This paper, drawing on a social theory of learning, reports on a qualitative case study undertaken with two primary school classes in one school in New South Wales, Australia where the interactive whiteboard (IWB) was used. Here the focus of the lessons was on literacy where students were learning to write reviews. The results of the study demonstrate that the use of the IWB can provide for learning in a whole-class setting where interactions between students feature. Consequently, the teacher is able to take on a facilitators role.
Maher, D 2011, 'Using the multimodal affordances of the interactive whiteboard to support students' understanding of texts', Learning, media and technology, vol. 36, no. 3, pp. 235-250.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The purpose of the study reported on here was to explore ways in which the interactive whiteboard (IWB) can support students understanding of texts. A Year 3 and a Year 4 primary school class in New South Wales, Australia, is the focus of the research. A qualitative case study was carried out using multimodal analysis focusing on the use of an e-book displayed via the IWB. The results of the study indicate that the IWB can support students understanding of a narrative to prepare them to write a whole-class response through providing increased access to a range of resources that are multimodal in nature. The way the interactive features of the IWB can facilitate access to multimodal resources to cater for student needs is also discussed.
Maher, D 2010, 'Supporting students' transition from primary school to high school using the Internet as a communication tool', Technology Pedagogy and Education, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 17-30.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
This paper reports on a transition project where the Internet as a communication tool was used to facilitate interactions between primary school and high school students. The qualitative case study involved capturing the online interactions of the students and teachers as well as the use of questionnaires. Results of the study demonstrate that the use of the Internet allowed participants to engage in interactions that provided useful information to the primary school students as a way of preparing them for the transition to high school. There were a number of challenges identified in using the Internet to facilitate interactions which include identity and architectural challenges.
Unti! recently, learning about cultures in primary schools has been taught mostly through the use of secondary resources such as books and movies. The advent of the Internet as a communication tool allows students to interact directly with students of other cultures so that they can learn WIth and from each other. There has been little research that examines how the Internet can be utilised in the primary school classrooms to support students' understanding of their own and other students' cultures. This article, using a constructivist framework, reports on a qualitative case study conducted with a grade five Australian primary school class in suburban Sydney where students interacted with a rural Australian class and a rural class in the United States of America via email. The benefits of interactions mediated by the Internet to develop students' cultural awareness, both of their own and others are discussed. The information, communication and technology (ICT) skills students gained from participating in the project are also highlighted.
Maher, D 2009, 'The importance of elementary school students social chat online: Reconceptualising the curriculum', Computers and Education, vol. 53, no. 2, pp. 511-516.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The Internet is increasingly being used as a tool for communicating and learning in primary schools across many developed and developing countries. The place of social chat as part of online interactions has as yet not been fully recognised as an important component of learning. In this paper, the interactions of students in a Sydney primary school are examined focusing on the role that social chat plays as part of the online learning process. Here it is found that social chat allows for the development of related skills and knowledge and is an important precursor to more formal learning opportunities and as such, should be considered as an important part of the learning process. Such a consideration has implications for the way the curriculum is designed, implemented and assessed.
Maher, D 2008, 'Cyberbullying: An ethnographic case study of one Australian upper primary school class', Youth Studies Australia, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 50-57.
The issue of cyberbullying has been reported on widely in the press, with extreme cases generally presented as the norm. In this article, the interactions of Australian primary children aged 11 to 12 years old are presented to illustrate some bullying practices that young people engage in. The findings suggest that while cyberbullying occurs, it is generally not extreme in nature. Some differences in cyberbullying between girls and boys were found and examined. The article concludes with several recommendations to help minimise and manage cyberbullying.
The issue of cyberbullying has been reported on widely in the press with extreme cases generally presented as the norm. In this article, the interactions of Australian primary children aged 11 to 12 years old are presented to illustrate some bullying practices that young people engage in. The findings suggest that while cyberbullying occurs, it is generally not extreme in nature. Some differences in cyberbullying between girls and boys were found and examined. The article concludes with several recommendations to help minimise and manage cyberbullying.
Maher, D, Seaton, L, McMullen, CM, Fitzgerald, T, Otsuji, E & Lee, A 2008, ''Becoming and being writers': the experiences of doctoral students in writing groups', Studies in Continuing Education, vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 263-275.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The use of writing groups to support students undertaking post-graduate research within universities has begun to receive attention from academic supervisors and doctoral researchers. Very little has been written by doctoral students themselves on the benefits of working within such writing groups. In this article, the experiences of working within a doctoral writing group at an Australian University are presented, primarily from the perspective of students. The authors identify two main benefits they have experienced through participating in a writing group using a 'multi-voiced' approach. First, they discuss the kind of learning that they achieved through working in a writing group. They do this with reference to key principles of peer learning and of peer review. Second, they focus on the ways the group worked as a community of discursive social practice. An overarching message for them in participating in the group and now writing this article is the shift in their thinking and experience of writing from seeing writing as an essentially private and implicit process to writing becoming a matter of public and shared work. These two notions are bound by the concept of identity building, drawing from the literature on communities of practice.
Maher, D 2019, 'The use of course management systems in pre-service teacher education' in Handbook of Research on Blended Learning Pedagogies andProfessional Development in Higher Education.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Maher, D 2018, 'Supporting Pre-Service Teachers' Understanding and Use of Mobile Devices' in Keengwe, J (ed), Handbook of Research on Mobile Technology, Constructivism, and Meaningful Learning, UGU Global, USA, pp. 160-177.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The use of mobile devices to support learning is increasing in schools and universities. This increase is having an impact on the types of pedagogies that are supporting learning. This chapter explores the use of mobile devices to support pre-service teachers' professional learning. A constructivist framework is used as a critical lens in conjunction with Howland, Jonassen and Marra's (2012) 'meaningful learning' framework. Additionally, the notions of teacher training about and with mobile learning as described by Baran (2014) are drawn upon to help in understanding the field. The chapter begins with an exploration on-campus learning followed by learning in schools and finally, aspects of on-line learning
Prescott, A & Maher, D 2018, 'The use of mobile technologies in the primary school mathematics classroom-developing 'create alouds'' in Using mobile technologies in the teaching and learning of mathematics, Springer, Germany, pp. 283-300.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Traditionally, learning mathematics has often been limited to pen and paper and sometimes hands-on activities. Mobile technologies offer the opportunity to change practices within primary school mathematics classes. This chapter explores how Year 5 and 6 students worked collaboratively to solve a problem, explaining their mathematical thinking during that process. Their use of screen-casting apps such as Explain Everything and Educreations to produce 'create-alouds' helped them collaboratively understand and explain mathematical concepts. The apps also assisted teachers in being able to provide formative assessment and feedback to the students, while enhancing the 21st century skills of the students.
Project-based learning (PBL) is increasingly being adopted as an effective approach to learning in primary schools as teachers realise how authentic and challenging learning experiences enable higher levels of engagement and self-directed learning. Supporting learning through a PBL approach in schools requires rethinking a number of aspects which includes the types of experiences students are exposed to, the process of learning and the output of such learning. The role of assessment as well as student feedback and self-assessment are important features of PBL. This approach further draws on the input of 'experts' who support students to explore real-life problems or challenges. Enveloping these experiences is the use of educational technology and how this can enhance the learning process. This chapter explores how PBL can be successfully incorporated into the primary school classroom drawing on existing literature and from research undertaken by the authors.
Maher, D & Young, KA 2017, 'The Use of Mobile Devices to Support Young People with Disabilities' in Stavros, AV (ed), Advances in Communications and Media Research, Nova Science Publishers, New York, pp. 101-126.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Burden, K & Maher, D 2015, 'Mobile technologies and authentic learning in the primary school classroom' in Younie, S, Leask, K & Burden, K (eds), Teaching and Learning with ICT in the Primary School, Routledge, London and New York, pp. 171-182.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Maher, D 2015, 'A Window to the world: Video conferencing via tablets in schools.' in Stavros, AV (ed), Advances in Communication and Media Research, Nova Science Publishers, USA, pp. 1-1.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Maher, D 2013, 'Cyber Safety and Young People: From Policy to Practice' in Ria Hanewald (ed), From Cyber Bullying to Cyber Safety, Nova Science Publishers, New York, pp. 59-74.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Maher, D 2013, 'Learning in the primary school classroom using the interactive whiteboard' in K-12 Education: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications, IGI Global, pp. 526-538.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2014 by IGI Global. All rights reserved. The Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) is a recent innovation and with it has come a renewed discussion of the nature of interactions in the primary school classroom. In this chapter the interactive affordances of the IWB, where users can physically manipulate two-dimensional objects on the board, are discussed. In focusing on this aspect, the types of resources used via the board are examined as are the multimodal features. In considering the nature of interactions between participants whilst using the IWB, interactions between teachers and students and between students and students are discussed. There is a focus on the ability for the IWB to support dialogic interactions in a more student-centered classroom. In examining interactions through the IWB, the way boards can be used to connect students to content, such as Web sites, is explored. In focusing on interactions with other participants the use of video conferencing is discussed.
Maher, D 2012, 'Mediating Learning Online in Primary Schools: The Case of a Classroom Homepage' in Abramovich, S (ed), Computers in Education, Nova Science Publishers, New York, pp. 59-92.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Maher, D 2012, 'Learning in the Primary School Classroom using the Interactive Whiteboard' in Jiyou Jia (ed), Educational Stages and Interactive Learning: From Kindergarten to Workplace Training, Information Science Reference, Hershey PA, pp. 150-162.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
The Interactive Whiteboard (IWB) is a recent innovation and with it has come a renewed discussion of the nature of interactions in the primary school classroom. In this chapter the interactive affordances of the IWB, where users can physically manipulate two-dimensional objects on the board, are discussed. In focusing on this aspect, the types of resources used via the board are examined as are the multimodal features. In considering the nature of interactions between participants whilst using the IWB, interactions between teachers and students and between students and students are discussed. There is a focus on the ability for the IWB to support dialogic interactions in a more student-centered classroom. In examining interactions through the IWB, the way boards can be used to connect students to content, such as Web sites, is explored. In focusing on interactions with other participants the use of video conferencing is discussed.
The use of instant messaging (IM) in primary schools is a recent phenomenon having been around for less than 10 years in most schools with internet access. There is an expectation by Educational authorities, parents, teachers and students that interactive technologies such as IM be included as part of learning experiences. To date there has been very little research examining the use of IM with primary school students. The use of IM has the potential to change the nature of education by expanding the range of participants with whom students can interact, both while at school and in their homes. Students now have access to experts online and other community members which vastly increases their access to different ideas and opinions. In addition, students can interact with other students who are geographically distant which enables increased cultural awareness. Students are also able to interact with each other, family members and their teachers while at home, which is dissolving the boundaries between school and home. Access to other participants via IM has brought with it new challenges. In particular, the safety of students online has been a main focus of schools, parents, educational authorities and Governments and is examined in this chapter.
Maher, D & Lee, M 2010, 'Student Internet usage in a networked school community: The challenge' in Lee, M & Finger, G (eds), Developing a networked school community. A guide to realising the vision, ACER Press, Camberwell, Australia, pp. 241-257.
Fundamental to an education in a networked school community is the facility for students to use the Internet when required, whether it is at home, on the move or in the classroom. While this facility is being readily provided in the home and increasingly on the move, in many schools in parts of the developed world students' use of the Internet in class is markedly constrained
Maher, D, Sanber, S, Cameron, L, Keys, P & Vallance, R 2013, 'An online professional network to support teachers' information and communication technology development', 30th Annual conference on Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education, ASCILITE 2013, pp. 526-530.
© 2013 Damian Maher. This paper reports on an evaluation undertaken of the potential impact of a Network for Educators: the Pathways for Learning, Anywhere, Anytime (PLANE) website. The evaluation was undertaken in New South Wales, Australia with teachers in Government, Catholic and Independent schools in both rural and suburban areas. The benefits and challenges associated with supporting teachers' information and communication technologies (ICT) skills via a professional learning network platform are highlighted. Results of the study indicate that a well-designed online platform could potentially provide a space for teachers to learn to integrate ICT in their teaching with and from each other within a learning community.
Kearney, MD, Pressick-Kilborn, KJ & Maher, D 2012, 'Driving Pre-Service Science Teachers' TPACK Development Through Their Generative Use Of Digital Video', Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2012, Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education International Conference, AACE., Austin, Texas, US, pp. 1381-1388.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
An emerging body of literature explores the benefits of prospective science teachers creating and sharing digital video in their professional learning activities. A common theme is the facilitation of reflection on experience and a range of other potential professional teaming benefits. This paper takes a snapshot of current developments with teacher-generated digital video tasks in teacher education with a focus on pre-service science teachers' technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) development. The paper draws on preliminary analysis of data from one of the 39 teacher preparation institutions participating in The Teaching Teachers for the Future (TTF) project, funded by the Australian Government.
Ljungdahl, L, Maher, D, Buchanan, JD, Currie, JL & Staveley, RM 2012, 'Swimming for new horizons: targeting retention and success for future teachers.', New Horizons. 15th International First Year in Higher Education (FYHE) Conference., The International First Year in Higher Education Conference. New Horizons. 15th International FYHE Conference 2012., First Year in Higher Education., Brisbane, pp. 91-91.
Strategies to maximise success and retention of first year pre-service teachers.
Maher, D, Perry, RM, Currie, JL & Johnston, RR 2011, 'Kids Continually Connected: An exploration of education, social interaction, and transition support for students in Australian hospital schools.', H.E.L.P. Health, educators, learners and practitioners. Inaugural Australasian H. E. L. P. Conference., Coogee, Sydney.
Kids Continually Connected grew from a desire to support students who are dislocated from their peer groups and home schools through extended periods of illness or treatment. An understanding of online âspacesâ (academic and social) was considered crucial in helping students to overcome the isolation some of them feel when removed from their peer groups for extended periods of time. To ensure adequate understanding of the key issues, technological accessibility and needs of students, their families and teachers within the hospital schools, a small background study was developed as an effective first step and potential springboard into a more detailed and focused future study. This paper presents the initial findings from the background study involving teachers, families and students in three Australian and one New Zealand hospital school. Teachersâ, studentsâ and familiesâ perspectives were explored regarding transition issues, spaces for interaction and available technology, with data presented alongside recent research in the area and suggestions for ways forward.