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WMIER researcher awarded grant for Online Safety Project

Date / Time: 1 July 2017

WMIER researcher Dr Noeline Wright has been awarded a grant from Netsafe to help students and teachers better understand the requirements of the Harmful Digital Communications Act (2015) and become responsible digital citizens.

The grant will fund a project that develops Year 9 teachers’ awareness and capabilities in integrating aspects of digital safety and strategies into their lessons that support their learners’ awareness and capabilities. The funding will principally be used for teacher release to enable them to attend workshops for lesson development to take place. This project will form part of a pilot project being undertaken at Hillcrest High School this year on cyber safety and awareness raising for the same group of teachers who are in the pilot, particularly so they are able to support their learners to become aware of and know what to do regarding the Harmful Digital Communications Act (2015).

Dr Noeline Wright, who has an existing research relationship with the teachers and expertise in action research, and Dr Ryan Ko, the Director of the University's Cyber Security Lab, will together work with teachers to deepen teacher knowledge and assist them to translate this knowledge into teaching and learning strategies that are pitched at Year 9 students, the cohort involved in the school's BYOD programme. Part of the research will involve a baseline survey of students so their ideas can be compared with those in an exit survey near the end of the year. A comparison of the results will be used to judge impact. WMIER is supporting the project with in kind time from both Noeline and Ryan.

The research team will undertake lesson observations and interviews with teachers and focus group interviews with students over time to check on their knowledge and practices. Confidence levels in particular will form a focus; changes in confidence will be used to judge impact. Teachers' feedback and interview data will offer individual’s perspectives on the project goals and impact and be used to enrich the data.

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