Social Sciences


Irina Verenikina

Current Positions:

Associate Professor, School of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences
International Student Director, Faculty of Social Sciences
Adjunct Lecturer, School of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences
Member of Australian Psychological Society (MAPS)


Irina lectures in Educational and Developmental Psychology across the major programs at the School of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences. She is a Full Member of the Australian Psychological Society. She holds a PhD in Developmental Psychology from Russian Academy of Education and Masters of Science (Honors) in Educational and Developmental Psychology from the Faculty of Psychology, Moscow State University, Russia. Before moving to Australia she held a senior research fellow position in the Russian Academy of Sciences, International Laboratory of Communication and New Technologies, where she was a leader of Russian-American Project, "New Information Technology and Literacy", funded by the US Andrew Mellon Foundation.
Irina's research relates to the application of Sociocultural Psychology and Activity Theory to the study of the effective use of digital technologies in teaching and learning in various educational contexts such as early childhood education, special education, literacy, mathematics and music education. She is an author of over one hundred publications. In 2014 Irina Chaired the Triennial International Congress of the International Society for Cultural Research and Activity Theory (ISCAR) which was held in Sydney, Australia in September-October 2014. In 2003 -2008 she was an elected Regional Coordinator for Australia and New Zealand at the International Executive Committee of ISCAR and led the 1st and 2nd Regional ISCAR International Conferences in Australia (in 2004 and 2007).

Research Interests:

The application of Sociocultural psychology and Activity Theory to the study of the effective pedagogical use of digital technologies for education. Specific focus is twofold:
- the use of digital technologies to enhance young children's imaginative play
- scaffolding productive online discussion to support students' construction of knowledge and communication competencies


2014 - 2016 - Verenikina, I, Kervin, L & Murphy, C "Conceptualising digital play: The role of tablet technologies in the development of imaginative play of young children", Australian Research Council,Discovery Project (ARC DP);

2014-2015 - Verenikina, I. & Jones, P. "Scaffolding productive online discussion to enhance university students' construction of knowledge and communication competencies", University of Wollongong Educational Strategies Development Fund (ESDF);

2014 - Jones, P. & Verenikina, I."Learning through online dialogue: a linguistic investigation of scaffolding for productive discussions in technology-driven subjects", University of Wollongong Research Council (URC) Small grant.

Professional Activities:

Chair, ISCAR Congress, Sydney 2014


2013 Vice-Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Contribution to Teaching and Learning (OCTAL), Faculty

2012 Vice-Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Research Supervision (Highly commended)

Research Students

  • Gareth Loveday : The Development of Intercultural Understanding in Primary Students
  • Sami Almansour : Teaching English Language at Primary Schools in Saudi Arabia: Challenges and Difficulties that English language teachers encounter.
  • Louise Brown : Exploring experiences and outcome of participant agency in home-school collaborations aimed at planning "reasonable adjustments" for student with disability in high schools
  • Clara Rivera : Extending on our understanding of digital play: children co-designing apps for children
  • Kelly Norwood : Enhancing emotional and professional wellbeing through mentoring and learning relationships
  • Abdullah Alamr : The Role of Video and Digital Gaming in English Language Acquisition.