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Students have unprecedented access to a growing stream of multimodal digital communication and social networking tools through engaging personal and mobile devices. Ahead of the curve, Janette Hughes, PhD, Canada Research Chair in Technology and Pedagogy, and Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education, is leading research to explore how digital media can best enhance learning in today’s technology driven society. Through her state-of-the-art STEAM 3D Maker Lab at UOIT, Dr. Hughes examines how emerging digital media and interactive tools can challenge traditional curricular and teaching/learning methods. Her research will provide greater understanding of the intersection of new digital technologies and pedagogies, and how they can be used to support technology enriched and practice-integrated active learning, in the classroom and the real world. She is focused on the development and evaluation of teaching practices that support active student learning, address the digital literacy needs of at-risk students, and promote greater interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through the Arts (STEAM). She joined UOIT in 2006, after serving as an Adjunct Professor of Continuing Studies and Preservice Education at the University of Western Ontario (UWO). Recipient of the 2013 National Technology Leadership Initiative Fellowship by the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education, Dr. Hughes has garnered international recognition for her work. She received her Doctorate in Curriculum (Language and Literacy) with a focus on Digital Poetry from UWO in London, Ontario. She obtained her Master of Arts degree in Teaching (Curriculum/English) from the University of Toronto, Institute for Studies in Education (OISE); her Bachelor of Education degree in Concurrent IS English/History and her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in English Literature both from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. For 18 years, Dr. Hughes taught secondary and elementary school students and explored how technology was motivating and engaging student success. As a direct result, her doctoral studies were focused on digital poetry and, since then, she has been a driving force in literacy education, advocating for a broader definition of literacies that include digital competencies. Dr. Hughes continues to push the boundaries of digital literacies and instills her passion for teaching the individual student.

Tweets from @JanetteMHughes


National Technology Leadership Initiative Fellowship

January 1, 2013

Dr. Hughes received this honour from the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education, an international association of individual teacher educators, and affiliated organizations of teacher educators in all disciplines, who are interested in the creation and dissemination of knowledge about the use of information technology in teacher education and faculty/staff development.

UOIT Research Excellence Award

September 21, 2012 - April 30, 2014

Dr. Hughes received the Early Stage Researcher Award for her national and international research success and recognition of her research in raising UOIT's profile as a research-focused institution.

Ontario Ministry of Innovation Early Researcher Award

April 30, 2014

Recognized as a leader in research excellence, Dr. Hughes is UOIT’s first Faculty of Education recipient of the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation Early Researcher Award in 2011 for her work on Fostering Globally and Culturally Sensitive Adolescents: Social Action Through Digital Literacy.

Author, The Digital Principal

April 30, 2014

From Pembroke Publishers in 2014, The Digital Principal shows education leaders how to apply their leadership skills to the challenge of creating and supporting a learning environment rich in technology and opportunities for both students and teachers to work, teach, and learn in the digital age.

Author, Social Action Through Digital Literacy

April 30, 2014

Published by iBooks in 2013 with one of her graduate students and available on iTunes, this book explores the impact on adolescents’ learning when given opportunities to create digital texts for a wider audience and engage with social justice issues on a global scale. The research presented in this book positioned adolescents as agents of change as they produced digital texts based on issues identified through the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

University of Western Ontario

PhD - Curriculum (Language and Literacy) Digital Poetry

University of Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education

Master of Arts - Teaching (Curriculum/English)

Queen's University

Bachelor of Education - Concurrent IS English/History

Queen's University

Bachelor of Arts - English Literature
  • Canada Research Chair in Technology and Pedagogy Tier II

    $500000  | February 9, 2016

    Awarded by: Canada Research Chairs Program
    Dr. Hughes CRC research program involves the design of new ways to approach the intersection of digital technologies and pedagogies. She is investigating uses of emerging digital media and interactive tools that disrupt traditional curricular and teaching/learning assumptions and practices.

  • STEAM 3D Lab: Discover, Design, Develop

    $50000  | February 9, 2016

    Awarded by: Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)
    Dr. Hughes and her research team will design, evaluate and observe digital “making” programs run in the CFI-funded STEAM-3D Lab to propose best-practices, policies and models of digital literacy education that will inform the use of digital technologies in classrooms across Canada and around the world. The STEAM-3D Lab will facilitate the discovery, design and development (3Ds) of digital “products” for students of all ages, their teachers, and the community, in the areas of digital literacies and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through the arts), while leading to the development of a critical digital making pedagogy.

  • STEAM 3D Lab: Discover, Design, Develop

    $50000  | February 9, 2016

    Awarded by: Ministry of Research and Innovation
    Matching the CFI-funded infrastructure research grant for the establishment of her STEAM 3D Lab; Dr. Hughes' research will constructively contribute to the meaningful integration of digital technologies and education, allowing Canadian students to fully participate in the global digital marketplace, spurring home-grown innovation, and stimulating the national digital economy.

  • Improving our Schools

    $199000  | January 1, 2015

    Awarded by: SSHRC Partnership Development Grant
    This research project aims to build, implement and evaluate an effective model for a school improvement program that increases teachers’ capacity, experience and specific fluency and expertise with technologies supporting STEM learning and digital literacies. It will also utilize UOIT's extensive experience with online educational engagement to extend access to system-wide teacher up-skilling, particularly to schools distant from a physically accessible university. As a co-investigator on this project, Dr. Hughes is working with a group of grade 6 students and their teachers to help them develop the skills and competencies to establish a makerspace at their school. This sub-project called Full STEAM Ahead, includes sixteen “makerspace” sessions, in which students learn bullying prevention and intervention techniques, and create digital texts and artifacts related to this anti-bullying initiative (a “making as learning” approach).

  • MITACS Globalink Internship

    $7500  | January 1, 2014

    Awarded by: Mitacs Globalink
    This award provides opportunities to enhance student research opportunities globally.

  • Adolescents, Identity and Digital Literacy

    $137287  | January 1, 2012

    Awarded by: SSHRC Insight Grant
    This research examines the intersection of adolescents’ out-of-school new media experiences with digital literacy education, in classroom settings in Ontario and Newfoundland where students in Grades 6 to 8 have ubiquitous access to personal mobile devices, as well as tablets and more traditional laptops and desktop computers. Using a mixed methods research approach of qualitative case study analysis and quantitative surveying, the proposed research investigates the relationship between a multiliteracies pedagogy and the development of adolescent digital literacy and identity.

  • International Literacy Association

  • Canadian Society for the Study of Education

  • Language and Literacy Researchers of Canada

  • United Kingdom Literacy Association

  • National Council of Teachers of English

  • Literacy Research Association

  • American Educational Research Association

  • Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education


  • Media appearances

    Code words: The importance of teaching digital literacies: media appearance byJanette Hughes, PhD

    Code words: The importance of teaching digital literacies
    UOIT News 

    March 26, 2015

    The so-called ‘post-millennial’ generation (sometimes tabbed iGeneration or even Generation Z) is growing up quickly, perhaps faster than any group before them. Most of today’s youngsters are almost immediately immersed in technology and many are quickly fluent with how to use the plethora of devices at their disposal.

    UOIT Education researcher awarded with 2013 NTLI Fellowship: media appearance byJanette Hughes, PhD

    UOIT Education researcher awarded with 2013 NTLI Fellowship
    UOIT News online

    March 10, 2014

    Dr. Janette Hughes, Assistant Dean, Research, Faculty of Education (FEd), was recently awarded the National Technology Leadership Initiative (NTLI) Fellowship for her National Council of Teachers of Education session, Transformative Teaching: Using Apps with Literature Circles to Engage Social Justice in Middle School.

  • Past speaking engagements
    • Co-constructing Knowledge Through MOOC Design and Development

      Las Vegas, Nevada
      March 2, 2015

      26th International Conference of Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education

    • Digital Tools for 21st Century Literacy Learning

      Nottngham, England
      July 20, 2015

      United Kingdom Literacy Association 51st International Conference, National College for Teaching and Leadership

    • Using Digital Tools to Read, Write and Perform Poetry for Social Justice

      New York City, New York
      July 6, 2015

      International Federation for the Teaching of English (IFTE)/Council of English Educators (CEE) Summer Conference

    • Using a Critical Digital Literacies Pedagogy to Promote Creativity and Equity

      Carlsbad, California
      January 21, 2015

      Literacy Research Association Conference

    • Mobile Tools for Social Justice: Young Adolescent Learners Creating Digital Texts for Voice and Agency Through Literature Circles

      Marco Island, Florida
      December 3, 2014

      Literacy Research Association 64th Annual Conference

    • iPoetry and iDentity

      New Orleans, Louisiana
      May 12, 2014

      International Reading Association, Technology in Literacy Education, Special Interest Group

    • Everybody’s Got a Story: Building Empathy and Understanding Using Digital Tools

      New Orleans, Louisiana
      May 9, 2014

      Intentional Teaching with Technology to Increase Understanding, Empathy and Engagement, International Reading Association Pre-Conference Institute

    • The Shift from English Methods to Critical Digital Literacies

      March 1, 2014

      Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE)

    • Transcending Cultural Borders Through Ning

      Seoul, South Korea
      January 1, 2014

      KAME International Conference

    • Transformative Teaching – Using Apps with Literature Circles to Engage Community Social Justice in Middle School

      Boston, Massachusetts
      November 1, 2013

      NCTE Annual Convention: (Re)Inventing the Future of English

    • The Adolescent Bricoleur: Constructing, Deconstructing and Reconstructing Social and Personal Identities Through Social Networking Sites

      Montréal, Québec
      October 1, 2013

      World Social Sciences Forum

    • The Poetic Mirror: Exploring the Self Through Poetic Inquiry, Resonant Voices

      Montréal, Québec
      October 1, 2013

      Fourth International Symposium on Poetic Inquiry

    • Identity, Social Networking and Digital Tools

      Rhode Island
      January 1, 2013

      Summer Institute in Digital Literacy

    • Mirror, Mirror on My Wall: Using Social Networking Media to Promote Adolescent Reflection on the Impact of Media in their Lives

      San Antonio, Texas
      April 1, 2013

      International Reading Association

    • Who Do You Think You Are? An Examination of the Off/Online Identities of Adolescents Using a Social Networking Site, YOUTH 2.0: CONNECTING, SHARING AND EMPOWERING?

      University of Antwerp, Belgium
      March 1, 2013

      Affordances, Uses and Risks of Social Media

    • Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall: Adolescents Reflecting on the Impact of Digital Media in their Lives

      Honolulu, Hawaii
      January 1, 2013

      Hawaii International Conference on Education

    • Using Digital Literacies to Foster Globally and Culturally Sensitive Adolescence: Speaking Up About Injustice

      Osaka, Japan
      October 1, 2012

      International Academic Forum: Asian Conference on Education

    • Multiliteracies: Preparing Teachers to Teach in a Digital Age

      Samos Island, Greece
      July 1, 2012

      8th International Conference on Education

    • The Writing is on My Wall: Engagement and LearNING Through Social Networking

      London, United Kingdom
      August 1, 2012

      Nineteenth International Conference on Learning, Institute of Education

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