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Dr Nick Riley

Senior Lecturer

School of Education (Education)

Let's get physical

Nick Riley believes integrating physical activity into core school subjects can improve not only students' health but their behaviour and their academic performance.

Nick Riley

The idea that classroom learning and physical education can be complementary is the concept behind a novel PhD project being conducted by Nick Riley, a lecturer in the School of Education and researcher with the Faculty's new Priority Research Centre in Physical Activity and Nutrition.

"There are lot of health benefits that come from increased activity and there is a lot of research that suggests that active children actually have the potential to perform better cognitively and academically," Riley says.

Riley, who trained in physical education but spent 18 years as a classroom teacher in primary schools in the north of England, has developed a program called EASY Minds (Encouraging Activity to Stimulate Young Minds) as a research project.

His program integrates physical activity into maths, English, science and HISE (history/social science) lessons. Riley has completed a feasibility study in one school and will repeat the program across four schools in a pilot study next year.

For the initial study he went into a school three times a week over a six-week period and taught hour-long lessons in core subjects, employing physical activity as a learning tool.

"If I was teaching multiplication, for example, rather than have the students do an exercise on paper, I might take them outside and time them running over 20 metres then get them to calculate how long it would take them to run 100 metres, or 90 metres, using that information," Riley explains.

"Or, rather than measuring area and perimeter in a book, they might go out and measure the area and perimeter of the playground.

"It's still a maths lesson but it integrates physical activity, and because the kids have ownership of the data, they are more engaged in the exercise."

The children in the study wear an accelerometer, a device that records their activity levels, over the school week.

The primary aim of the intervention program is to increase daily activity but Riley says it can influence classroom behaviour and self-esteem as well.

While all children responded well in the feasibility study, Riley says integrated activity can be particularly beneficial for kinesthetic, or physically oriented, learners who are more inclined to become disengaged with traditional classroom teaching methods.

"Often they are the kids who end up getting in trouble and get a reputation for being disruptive," he says.

"I believe all kids have huge potential and as educators and teachers we have to find the key to unlock that potential."

Nick Riley

Let's get physical

Riley believes integrating physical activity into core school subjects can improve not only students' health but their behaviour and their academic performance.

Read more

Career Summary

Biography

Nick has consistently demonstrated teaching excellence and a commitment to quality teaching and learning across a diverse range of courses. He is a highly valued member of the School of Education, specialising in Primary School Health and Physical Education.He is also the Deputy program Convenor for Secondary Education (PDHPE).

Nick has won numerous awards for both his teaching and dissemination of his research across NSW Public Schools.

Research Expertise

Since the completion of his  PhD in April 2016, Nick has  secured three research grants as Lead Investigator ( $290,000) to enhance the evidence base for both the physical, academic and cognitive benefits of school-based physical activity. Building on the success of his  PhD he  designed an evidence-based professional learning workshop (Thinking while Moving) and online resource for dissemination across department public schools. During 2016-2018, he has also presented 24 Professional NESA accredited workshops across regional and metropolitan NSW, for teachers (n=582) from public schools (n=342).He has  recruited and trained seven teachers to act as facilitators across all NSW regions for TWM and teachers are trained at the NESA highly accomplished level. This level of ‘knowledge translation’ is difficult to achieve and highlights the novelty and substantial impact of his current research in Australian schools. The Department of Education promote Thinking While Moving as a recommended strategy for all department schools to meet the mandatory school physical activity policy requirements, and they have provided the online platform for all teachers to access the resources I have created. (Located on the Premiers Sporting Challenge website: https://app.education.nsw.gov.au/sport/page/1043)


Teaching Expertise
Primary School Health and Physical Education I currently teach/coordinate/ lecture on all primary school HPE courses at the University. Coordinator EDUC2747, EDUC6747, EDUC 2058 Teach EDUC2515,EDUC2515, PUBH1030.


Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours), Lancaster University - England
  • Certificate in Education, University of Liverpool - UK
  • Certificate III in Information Technology, University of Central Lancashire

Keywords

  • Cognitively engaging physical activity
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Movement-based Learning
  • Physical Activity
  • Primary School
  • Sedentary Behaviour
  • Student engagement

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
130105 Primary Education (excl. Maori) 90
130106 Secondary Education 10

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Senior Lecturer University of Newcastle
School of Education
Australia

Professional appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/09/2001 - 1/12/2007 Teacher Adviser Local Education Authority
Australia

Awards

Recognition

Year Award
2018 FEDUA Dean's Excellence Award for Collaboration
Faculty of Education and Arts
2016 2016 Faculty of Educaion and Arts Award for Excellence
Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle
2011 Vice Chancellors award for teaching excellence
University of Newcastle

Invitations

Keynote Speaker

Year Title / Rationale
2014 Myuna Bay
Organisation: Sport and Recreation Annual Conference Description: Integrating Maths in Ourdoor Education Centres
2013 ACHPER
Organisation: Academic Performance and physical Activity Description: ACHPER Regional Conferences March Western Sydney. July- Central Coast Sept- Mid Noth Coast Coffs Harbour
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Chapter (1 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2018 Lloyd A, Eather N, Riley N, 'Physical Education and Numeracy', Numeracy in Authentic Contexts: Making Meaning Across the Curriculum, Springer, Singapore 341-372 (2018) [B1]
Co-authors Narelle Eather, Adam Lloyd

Journal article (13 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2019 Mavilidi MF, Lubans DR, Morgan PJ, Miller A, Eather N, Karayanidis F, et al., 'Integrating physical activity into the primary school curriculum: rationale and study protocol for the "Thinking while Moving in English" cluster randomized controlled trial', BMC PUBLIC HEALTH, 19 (2019)
DOI 10.1186/s12889-019-6635-2
Co-authors Frini Karayanidis, Narelle Eather, Philip Morgan, Andrew Miller, David Lubans, Kylie Shaw
2019 Smith JJ, Eather N, Weaver RG, Riley N, Beets MW, Lubans DR, 'Behavioral Correlates of Muscular Fitness in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review.', Sports Med, 49 887-904 (2019)
DOI 10.1007/s40279-019-01089-7
Citations Scopus - 2Web of Science - 1
Co-authors Narelle Eather, Jordan Smith, David Lubans
2019 Eather N, Riley N, Miller A, Smith V, Poole A, Vincze L, et al., 'Efficacy and feasibility of HIIT training for university students: The Uni-HIIT RCT', Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 22 596-601 (2019) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.jsams.2018.11.016
Co-authors David Lubans, Philip Morgan, Narelle Eather, Andrew Miller
2019 de Vlieger N, Riley N, Miller A, Collins CE, Bucher T, 'Nutrition education in the Australian New South Wales primary school curriculum: An exploration of time allocation, translation and attitudes in a sample of teachers', Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 30 94-101 (2019) [C1]

© 2018 Australian Health Promotion Association Issue addressed: The dietary intakes of Australian children are not optimal, with few meeting recommended vegetable and fruit intake... [more]

© 2018 Australian Health Promotion Association Issue addressed: The dietary intakes of Australian children are not optimal, with few meeting recommended vegetable and fruit intake targets. Nutrition education in childhood is important for developing healthy eating patterns, with schools an ideal setting for a wide reach. The aims of this study were to examine nutrition education within the NSW primary school syllabus, explore how much time teachers spend teaching nutrition, what is taught, what materials are used, and to identify attitudes towards nutrition education. Method: An online survey consisting of 29 closed questions (with options for comments) was specifically developed for the purpose of this study. Teachers currently teaching at a NSW primary school were eligible to participate. Results: A total of 33 NSW primary school teachers completed the survey. Results indicate that limited time is spent on teaching nutrition with some important nutrition education components currently missed, resources perceived to be inadequate and lack of time reported as the largest barrier to teaching nutrition. Conclusion: In order to improve the quality of nutrition education in NSW primary schools, several important topics need to be integrated into the curriculum, and time constraints of teachers should be taken into account. So what?: Findings from the current survey will inform the development of future nutrition education programs and resources with the aim of integrating nutrition education within the primary school curriculum.

DOI 10.1002/hpja.188
Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
Co-authors Andrew Miller, Nienke Devlieger Uon, Tamara Bucher, Clare Collins
2019 Mavilidi MF, Drew R, Morgan PJ, Lubans DR, Schmidt M, Riley N, 'Effects of different types of classroom physical activity breaks on children's on-task behaviour, academic achievement and cognition.', Acta Paediatr, (2019)
DOI 10.1111/apa.14892
Co-authors Philip Morgan, David Lubans
2018 Mavilidi MF, Lubans DR, Eather N, Morgan PJ, Riley N, 'Preliminary Efficacy and Feasibility of the "Thinking While Moving in English": A Program with Integrated Physical Activity into the Primary School English Lessons.', Children (Basel, Switzerland), 5 1-13 (2018) [C1]
DOI 10.3390/children5080109
Citations Web of Science - 1
Co-authors Narelle Eather, David Lubans, Philip Morgan
2017 Riley N, Lubans D, Holmes K, Gore JM, Hansen V, Morgan P, 'Movement-based mathematics: Enjoyment and engagement without compromising learning through the EASY Minds program', Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 13 1653-1673 (2017) [C1]
DOI 10.12973/eurasia.2017.00690a
Citations Scopus - 6Web of Science - 7
Co-authors David Lubans, Philip Morgan, Jenny Gore
2017 Eather N, Riley N, Miller D, Jones B, 'Evaluating the effectiveness of using peer-dialogue assessment (PDA) for improving pre-service teachers' perceived confidence and competence to teach physical education', Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 42 69-83 (2017) [C1]

Developing effective methods for improving student learning in higher education is a priority. Recent findings have shown that feedback on student work can effectively facilitate ... [more]

Developing effective methods for improving student learning in higher education is a priority. Recent findings have shown that feedback on student work can effectively facilitate learning if students are engaged as active participants in the feedback cycle, where they seek, generate and use feedback in the form of dialogue. This novel study investigates the use of peer dialogue assessment as an assessment for learning tool used in an existing undergraduate physical education course. Our findings demonstrate that when thirty six undergraduate physical education students were provided with instruction and practice using peer dialogue assessment after consecutive teaching performances, they exhibit significant improvements in perceived teaching confidence and competence, and teaching self-efficacy. Process evaluation results implying thatembedding peer dialogue assessment in higher education courses may be a feasible approach for facilitating learning, and that students were satisfied with using peer dialogue as a feedback method for improving teaching practices.

DOI 10.14221/ajte.2017v42n1.5
Citations Scopus - 2
Co-authors Andrew Miller, Narelle Eather
2016 Riley N, Lubans DR, Holmes K, Morgan PJ, 'Findings from the EASY minds cluster randomized controlled trial: Evaluation of a physical activity integration program for mathematics in primary schools', Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 13 198-206 (2016) [C1]

© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc. To evaluate the impact of a primary school-based physical activity (PA) integration program delivered by teachers on objectively measured PA and key ed... [more]

© 2016 Human Kinetics, Inc. To evaluate the impact of a primary school-based physical activity (PA) integration program delivered by teachers on objectively measured PA and key educational outcomes. Methods: Ten classes from 8 Australian public schools were randomly allocated to treatment conditions. Teachers from the intervention group were taught to embed movement-based learning in their students' (n = 142) daily mathematics program in 3 lessons per week for 6 weeks. The control group (n = 98) continued its regular mathematics program. The primary outcome was accelerometer-determined PA across the school day. Linear mixed models were used to analyze treatment effects. Results: Significant intervention effects were found for PA across the school day (adjusted mean difference 103 counts per minute [CPM], 95% confidence interval [CI], 36.5-169.7, P =.008). Intervention effects were also found for PA (168 CPM, 95% CI, 90.1-247.4, P =.008) and moderate-to-vigorous PA (2.6%, 95% CI, 0.9-4.4, P =.009) in mathematics lessons, sedentary time across the school day (-3.5%, 95% CI,-7.0 to-0.13, P =.044) and during mathematics (-8.2%, CI,-13.0 to-2.0, P =.010) and on-task behavior (13.8%, 95% CI, 4.0-23.6, P =.011)-but not for mathematics performance or attitude. Conclusion: Integrating movement across the primary mathematics syllabus is feasible and efficacious.

DOI 10.1123/jpah.2015-0046
Citations Scopus - 36Web of Science - 33
Co-authors Philip Morgan, David Lubans
2015 Riley N, Lubans DR, Morgan PJ, Young M, 'Outcomes and process evaluation of a programme integrating physical activity into the primary school mathematics curriculum: The EASY Minds pilot randomised controlled trial', JOURNAL OF SCIENCE AND MEDICINE IN SPORT, 18 656-661 (2015) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.jsams.2014.09.005
Citations Scopus - 33Web of Science - 27
Co-authors Myles Young, David Lubans, Philip Morgan
2014 Riley N, Lubans DR, Holmes K, Morgan PJ, 'Rationale and study protocol of the EASY Minds (Encouraging Activity to Stimulate Young Minds) program: cluster randomized controlled trial of a primary school-based physical activity integration program for mathematics.', BMC Public Health, 14 816 (2014) [C3]
DOI 10.1186/1471-2458-14-816
Citations Scopus - 14Web of Science - 13
Co-authors Philip Morgan, David Lubans
2011 Lubans DR, Morgan PJ, Callister R, Plotnikoff RC, Eather N, Riley N, Smith CJ, 'Test-retest reliability of a battery of field-based health-related fitness measures for adolescents', Journal of Sports Sciences, 29 685-693 (2011) [C1]
DOI 10.1080/02640414.2010.551215
Citations Scopus - 42Web of Science - 37
Co-authors Narelle Eather, Philip Morgan, Ron Plotnikoff, Robin Callister, David Lubans
Eather N, Riley N, Miller D, Imig S, 'Evaluating the Impact of Two Dialogical Feedback Methods for Improving Pre-Service Teacher's Perceived Confidence and Competence to Teach Physical Education Within Authentic Learning Environments', Journal of Education and Training Studies, 7 32-32
DOI 10.11114/jets.v7i8.4053
Co-authors Narelle Eather, Scott Imig
Show 10 more journal articles

Conference (4 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2012 Riley N, Morgan PJ, Lubans DR, 'Preliminary findings of the E.A.S.Y. (Encouraging Activity to Stimulate Young) Minds feasibility study: A curriculum-based physical activity integration program in the primary school', Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, Sydney, Australia (2012) [E3]
Co-authors David Lubans, Philip Morgan
2011 Riley N, Morgan PJ, Lubans DR, 'Methodology of the E.A.S.Y. (Encouraging Activity to Stimulate Young) minds study: evaluation of a curriculum-based physical activity integration program in the primary school', 2011 Annual Meeting of the International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA) eProceedings, Melbourne, VIC (2011) [E3]
Co-authors David Lubans, Philip Morgan
2010 Riley N, Morgan PJ, Lubans DR, 'Rationale and intervention description of a primary school-based program to integrate physical activity across the curriculum and engage children in movement-based learning', Obesity Research and Clinical Practice, Sydney, NSW (2010) [E3]
Co-authors Philip Morgan, David Lubans
2009 Riley N, 'Rationale and intervention description of a primary school-based program to integrate physical activity across the curriculum and engage parents in movement-based learning at home', Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, Brisbane, QLD (2009) [E3]
Show 1 more conference
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 10
Total funding $575,988

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20191 grants / $100,000

Faculty matching funding for UON PRC Scheme - Priority Research Centre in Physical Activity and Nutrition$100,000

Funding body: Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle

Funding body Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle
Project Team

Professor Ron Plotnikoff (Director); Professor Philip Morgan (Co-Deputy Director); Dr Alyce Barnes; Dr Narelle Eather; Professor David Lubans; Dr Nick Riley; Dr Jordan Smith; Dr Myles Young.

Scheme Faculty funding
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

20183 grants / $122,000

Faculty matching funding for UON PRC Scheme - Priority Research Centre in Physical Activity and Nutrition$100,000

Funding body: Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle

Funding body Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle
Project Team

Professor David Lubans; Professor Phil Morgan (Co-Deputy Director); Professor Ron Plotnikoff (Director); Dr Alyce Barnes; Dr Narelle Eather; Dr Nick Riley; Dr Jordan Smith; Dr Myles Young.

Scheme Faculty funding
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2018
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

Evaluation and dissemination of TWM using the RE-AIM framework$20,000

Funding body: Department of Education

Funding body Department of Education
Project Team Doctor Nick Riley, Doctor Myrto Mavilidi, Professor David Lubans, Professor Philip Morgan
Scheme NSW School Support Unit
Role Lead
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2018
GNo G1800815
Type Of Funding C2220 - Aust StateTerritoryLocal - Other
Category 2220
UON Y

AISEP World Congress, Edinburgh, 25-28 July 2018$2,000

Funding body: Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle

Funding body Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle
Scheme FEDUA Conference Travel Grant
Role Lead
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2018
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

20174 grants / $229,420

Thinking while Moving in English: a curriculum based physical activity intervention to enhance learning and health outcomes in primary school$200,000

Funding body: NSW Department of Education

Funding body NSW Department of Education
Project Team Doctor Nick Riley, Professor David Lubans, Professor Philip Morgan, Doctor Narelle Eather, Associate Professor Kylie Shaw, A/Prof Chris Lonsdale
Scheme Research Project
Role Lead
Funding Start 2017
Funding Finish 2018
GNo G1700722
Type Of Funding C2210 - Aust StateTerritoryLocal - Own Purpose
Category 2210
UON Y

Evaluating the effectiveness of using Peer-Dialogue Assessment (PDA) for improving teacher confidence and competence within undergraduate Master's teacher education programs$14,000

Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts

Funding body University of Newcastle - Faculty of Education and Arts
Project Team

Dr Narelle Eather; Dr Nicholas Riley; Dr Scott Imig

Scheme FEDUA Strategic Networks and Pilot Projects (SNaPP)
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2017
Funding Finish 2017
GNo
Type Of Funding Internal
Category INTE
UON N

HMRI Equipment Grant$8,820

Funding body: NSW Ministry of Health

Funding body NSW Ministry of Health
Project Team Doctor Narelle Eather, Doctor Jordan Smith, Doctor Nick Riley, Doctor Drew Miller
Scheme Medical Research Support Program (MRSP)
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2017
Funding Finish 2017
GNo G1701226
Type Of Funding C2220 - Aust StateTerritoryLocal - Other
Category 2220
UON Y

The Physical Literacy Program - evaluation of student outcomes$6,600

Funding body: International Football School

Funding body International Football School
Project Team Doctor Drew Miller, Doctor Narelle Eather, Doctor Nick Riley
Scheme Research Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2017
Funding Finish 2028
GNo G1700833
Type Of Funding C3111 - Aust For profit
Category 3111
UON Y

20161 grants / $70,000

Thinking while Moving (EASY Minds)$70,000

Funding body: Department of Education

Funding body Department of Education
Project Team Doctor Nick Riley, Professor Philip Morgan, Professor David Lubans
Scheme NSW School Support Unit
Role Lead
Funding Start 2016
Funding Finish 2016
GNo G1600482
Type Of Funding C2120 - Aust Commonwealth - Other
Category 2120
UON Y

20121 grants / $54,568

Thinking while moving: Development of a curriculum-based physical activity integration program in the primary school$54,568

Funding body: NSW Department of Education and Communities

Funding body NSW Department of Education and Communities
Project Team Professor Philip Morgan, Professor David Lubans, Doctor Nick Riley, Associate Professor Kathryn Holmes
Scheme Research Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2012
Funding Finish 2013
GNo G1201201
Type Of Funding Other Public Sector - State
Category 2OPS
UON Y
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Research Supervision

Number of supervisions

Completed0
Current3

Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2019 PhD Investigating the Impact of Cognitively Demanding Physical Activity Breaks in Secondary School Mathematics Lessons: An Efficacy and Feasibility Trial PhD (Education), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle Principal Supervisor
2018 PhD An Investigation into the Teaching & Learning of Martial Arts PhD (Education), Faculty of Education and Arts, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
2016 PhD Impact of Experiential Nutrition Education Using 3D Food Models and Mobile Technology in Children Aged 10-13 PhD (Nutrition & Dietetics), Faculty of Health and Medicine, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
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Dr Nick Riley

Position

Senior Lecturer
School of Education
Faculty of Education and Arts

Focus area

Education

Contact Details

Email nicholas.riley@newcastle.edu.au
Phone (02) 4985 4254
Fax (02) 4985 4254

Office

Room HPE311
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