Researching Connected Communities Project


Project Leaders

Dail McGilchrist
Myra Wearne (rel)

Project Managers

Cathie Howe
Michael Stevenson

Chief Investigator

Prof John Hedberg

Research Team

Michael Stevenson
Vivian Tsui Han Leung


Artarmon Public School
Barnier Public School
Beaumont Hills Public School
Carlingford West Public School
Chatswood High School
Epping North Public School
Hilltop Road Public School
John Purchase Public School
Killara High School
Killara Public School
Manly West Public School
Pymble Public School
Quakers Hill Public School
Regentville Public School
St Ives High School
Turramurra High School
William Dean Public School


The CC21 project aims to investigate the components of change required as schools implement the Australian curriculum. In particular, the project will support the identification and development of transformative pedagogies that allow the effective integration of the general capabilities in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and critical and creative thinking.

Project Overview

This project is based upon the following:

  1. Teacher belief systems underpin all of their practice, and hence are the starting point for educational transformation (relating to the use of technology and the design of 21st Century learning activities).
  2. Teacher practice in the use of ICT is dependent on their Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (or “TPACK”, Mishra & Kohler, 2006), and thus in order to use technology effectively teachers need to understand how to not only use technologies but also the pedagogical considerations within the discipline area.
  3. Contextual factors can either aid or hinder effective technology use in modern digital classrooms, and as such the design of school environments to support teachers employing transformative pedagogies based upon the changes required with new curriculum implementation.
  4. Transformative pedagogies derive from a relationship between teacher belief systems, teachers knowledge of the pedagogy of the discipline, and the context is represented in Figure 1.
  5. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ prescriptive way to best use technology in the classroom, and effective teacher practice depends on teachers taking creative ownership over their design of learning.
  6. Identify mechanisms that school executives encourage and support teachers to transform their practice.

Research Questions

  1. What teacher belief systems support ICT usage in the classroom, and how can they be supported to positively evolve?
  2. What is the current state of teacher knowledge in schools, and how can it be most effectively developed to support the effective implementation of the Australian Curriculum
  3. What are the contextual aids and constraints that influence teacher use of ICT in the classroom, and how can the environment be improved to best support teacher practice?
  4. How can contemporary technologies be most effectively used to support learning and teaching?
  5. How can an action research approach to learning technology innovation influence teacher practice?

Project Report Website

View the project report website for all the details on this project and it’s outcomes. This project also ran a participants blog for teachers to communicate with each other throughout the project.


Project Papers

Download the Project Report and other related papers.

Researching Connected Communities 21 Project

Researching Connected Communities 21 – Project Report (2014)

MacICT Project: Researching Connected Communities 21
Authors: Michael Stevenson, Cathie Howe

Download the paper (PDF 3.9mb)

Researching Connected Communities 21 Project

Leading Learning: The Role Of School Leaders In Supporting Continuous Professional Development (2016)

Professional Development in Education

MacICT Project: Researching Connected Communities 21
Authors: Michael Stevenson, John G. Hedberg, Kerry-Ann O’Sullivan & Cathie Howe

View paper online

Researching Connected Communities 21 Project

Development to learning: semantic shifts in professional autonomy and school leadership (2015)

Educational Media International, 52:3, 173-187, DOI:10.1080/09523987.2015.1075100

MacICT Project: Researching Connected Communities 21
Authors: Michael Stevenson, John G. Hedberg, Kerry-Ann O’Sullivan & Cathie Howe

View paper online

Researching Connected Communities 21 Project

Researching Connected Communities 21 (2013)

Paper presented at the 63rd Annual Conference International Council for Educational Media (ICEM 2013) in Singapore

MacICT Project: Researching Connected Communities 21
Authors: Professor John Hedberg, Michael Stevenson, Cathie Howe

Download the paper (PDF 1mb)

Project Team

Dail McGilchrist

Dail McGilchrist

School Education Director

In 2012, when the CC21 project was initiated, Ms Dail McGilchrist was a School Education Director and Macquarie ICT Innovations Centre (MacICT) Executive Director. Through her efforts, MacICT received funding for the CC21 project and Ms McGilchrist was closely involved in the initial project design and selection of schools. During the project, Ms McGilchrist relieved as a Regional Director and then went on to become an Executive Director, Public Schools NSW. She has worked for the Department of Education and Communities for over 25 years in a range of teaching, leadership and consultancy roles. Ms McGilchrist has a depth of leadership experience and has led systems improvement in service delivery ensuring responsiveness to customer need is central to strategic planning. She has written documents to support implementation and assessment strategies for key reforms in public education and has led regional initiatives with a particular focus on developing leadership capacity.

John Hedberg

John Hedberg

Professor, Department of Education, Macquarie University

Professor John Hedberg holds the Millennium Innovations Chair of ICT and Education in the School of Education. He has taught postgraduate courses on cognitive strategies, interface design for learning, and implementation and evaluation of technology-based learning. He has also taught strategic planning for technology implementation in schools and has also written on policy aspects of new technologies in education. He has designed training needs assessments, evaluation systems and conducted workshops on the instructional design and evaluation of e-learning environments. He has been keynote speaker at numerous conferences on the educational technologies in Canada, United States, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Europe, and many states in Australia.

Cathie Howe

Cathie Howe

Centre Manager

Cathie is a Professional Learning & Leadership Coordinator for the NSW Department of Education and manager of MacICT. As well as developing and delivering Professional Learning, Cathie is the creative and strategic leader of an expanding, collaborative team responsible for the design and quality of MacICT’s services. She oversees all course development and mentors many of the team members to ensure that MacICT continues to provide a consistently high level of service to schools, teachers and students.

Cathie manages, and is involved in the development of MacICT’s case studies and academic research projects. She is passionate about inspiring and empowering teachers to transform their practice by understanding what they have to teach (curriculum), how they are going to teach it (pedagogy), integrating digital tools in creative ways to enable meaningful learning to occur.

During her 20+ years both as a teacher and an executive in Primary Schools, Cathie has been recognised for her innovative practice, digital learning design and leadership.

Michael Stevenson

Michael Stevenson

Researcher, Developer & Facilitator

Dr Michael Stevenson is a lecturer in the School of Education at Macquarie University. Since commencing his teaching career in 2001, he has taught English, ESL, Music and Technology in secondary schools across northern and western Sydney. In addition to teaching, he worked as Leader of Learning Technologies in the secondary Catholic system Diocese of Parramatta, facilitating the implementation of learning management systems, technology mentoring, 1-1 programs and ICT-curriculum alignment. He has also been chiefly involved in developing and implementing an integrated curriculum program that incorporates Project-Based Learning and cross-curricla team teaching in open plan environments.

In 2013, he joined the School of Education as Convenor of the English Methodologies program, working with preservice teachers in areas that include Secondary English, ICT and pedagogy. As a researcher, Michael has worked on a range of technology-related research projects with Education Services Australia, the Australian Independent Schools Network (AIS) and Department of Education (DoE). His doctoral study explores the role of technology-enabled Personal Learning Networks in teacher professional learning.