Menu

Education Today Logo


newsletter

Education Today Cover Browse Issue

$1 million for primary kids’ digital literacy research

News Image

An Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship awarded to Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) Prof Kathy Mills will drive a project exploring how harnessing all the senses can enhance the digital literacy of primary students.

A professor of literacies and digital culture at the Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education (ILSTE), Mills will benefit from almost $1 million to support the four-year research project.

Prof Wayne McKenna, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) applauded the funding announcement which recognises the cutting-edge nature and likely impact of the research conducted by the ILSTE:

"We are pleased to announce that Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education researcher, Professor Kathy Mills has been awarded a $974,636 Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship to support her research, entitled ‘Sensory Orchestration for Multimodal Literacy Learning in Primary Education.’

"This project aims to advance new learning and pedagogical models of sensory orchestration for the enhanced multimodal and digital literacy learning of primary students. 

"The aim of the Future Fellowships scheme is to attract and retain the best and brightest mid-career researchers.  This success attests to ACU’s strong intellectual environment, generating innovative and internationally competitive research.” 

Mills has published over 90 works and is known internationally for her expertise in written communication, children’s digital technologies and literacy.

She was recently recognised for leading the SELFIE (Strengthening Effective Language of Feelings In Education) Project which used animations, photography, videos and emojis from smart phones, to rapidly increase the use and command of the English language for more than 200 primary school students across three low socioeconomic schools.

She said she was honoured to receive such a prestigious fellowship to support a project which will involve research in six different countries and promises to benefit schools, teachers, students and industry partners.

“Primary students today have digital lifestyles at home, school, and in public spaces, and are accessing multimodal texts such as video-sharing sites from before the age of eight,” she said.

“Every day literacy practices are both digital and multimodal – combining modes that include written and spoken language, images, gestures, touch, movement, and sound.

“This project develops students' sensory literacies with touch-screens and novel technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality, which often involve engagement of the whole body in communication.

“I will be working with around 400 students and 18 teachers from state and independent sectors in Australia and the USA to develop, implement, test, and refine innovative sensorial education programs in primary schools, digital labs, and art museums.”

The grant was part of more than $180 million in funding announced by Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham to boost 132 new research projects.


11 Apr 2019 | National
AITSL Stakeholder Survey now open News Image

Teachers, school leaders and the entire education sector can have their say in the 2019 Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership Survey which is open now. Read More

11 Apr 2019
Early career teachers get dramatic with NIDA News Image

NIDA continues to invest in the creative practice of early career teachers in primary and secondary schools with the 2019 Creative Ambassador’s Initiative.
Read More

10 Apr 2019 | National
New teachers love induction support app News Image

Downloaded more than 17,000 times, the AITSL My Induction app offers expert advice, answers to frequently asked questions and allows new teachers to track their professional wellbeing. Read More

10 Apr 2019 | National
Reform of preschools front and centre in election period News Image

Research shows that two years of quality preschool sets a child up for success, and happily the issue is gaining traction with politicians.
Read More

10 Apr 2019 | National
Domestic violence causes homelessness News Image

The number of people seeking help from homelessness services due to domestic and family violence has risen in recent years but only 4% of those who approached a homelessness service for long-term housing actually received it. Read More