I am particularly interested in learning in informal contexts, and my doctoral research explored young children's experience with interactive digital technologies in the home. I drew on theories that put human communication at the heart of learning: my take on technologies is that they are designed artefacts that can support, or extend, or provide a context for human communication.
I am a member of teaching staff at the Graduate School of Education, with particular responsibility for dissertation support for students studying for a Masters in Psychology of Education.
My academic career begain with a degree in Experimental Psychology from the University of Oxford, after which I carried out some research into quality of life of people with learning difficulties moving from long-stay hospitals into ordinary homes in Bolton, Lancashire. The research inspired me to apply for a postgraduate course in Housing Management at the University of Bristol. After some years in housing (in Housing Associations and small voluntary organisations working for and with people with special needs) I returned to academic study. The MSc in Human Communication and Computing, run by the department of Psychology and the department of Computing at the University of Bath, got me interested in ideas about young children's learning and the design of technologies that were marketed to families with young children, and this led to me coming back to the University of Bristol, this time to do doctoral research young children's experience and learning with technologies, gaining my PhD in 2011.
At the Graduate School of Education I have been able to participate as team member and resarcher in a wide variety of interesting projects. I am currently working on three: first, a study of possibilties for community-based initiatives to support school attendance for Merlin Housing Society, second, a project with the University's Centre for Public Engagement named PERFORM, alongside partners in France and Spain: and third, a project to evaluate some of the work of the digital citizenship project ReConnect.
Some examples of past projecdts:
My PhD was funded by the ESRC and supported by Futurelab through a PhD Student Network. The network supported collaboration between myself and Dr. Andrew Manches, (then at the LSRI in Nottingham, now at Edinburgh) whose work also centred on young children's learning with technologies. We produced the papers that form the core of a Futurelab publication, Perspectives on early years and digital technologies, published in November 2008. We were working in different theoretical traditions and were intrigued by the difficulty we sometimes had when we discussed our work. We produced a conference paper on this subject during our studentships. My interest in the issues, problems and potentials of interdisciplinarity working has developed further since then and underpins the contributions I bring to my work as a researcher for GSoE.
MSc Educational Psychology; dissertation supervision
View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system
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