This is a special blog post to highlight that two members of the Panoply Digital team have recently achieved significant milestones. Co-Founders Michael Gallagher and Ronda Zelezny-Green are now officially PhD holders! They met before launching the consultancy since they shared Associate Professor Niall Winters (Oxford) as a supporting PhD supervisor on their different but related mobile learning PhD projects.
As fate would have it, after the introduction through Winters, Ronda and Michael happened to get along quite well! So, this is a little known part of the story of how Panoply Digital came to be. Through laughs and tears, Michael and Ronda supported each other as they toiled on their respective doctorates, with Michael earnings his laurels in July 2016 and Ronda earning hers in March 2017. What follows are brief synopses of both their oeuvres.
Michael studied at University College London and developed a thesis spanning four years of research on how mobile technology in the South Korean context can provide evidence to suggest a particular learning trajectory towards education. So mobile technology is foregrounded as the means by which we can see how South Koreans are being drawn towards a particular community, academic, professional, or otherwise. Michael was convinced that mobile technology, at least in the Korean context, was not a supplementary tool, but rather the critical bridge that allows for the complex orchestration of Korean sociocultural practice. Without it, relationships sputter and falter, trajectories spill out into ambiguity, and chaos ensues. Well, that last part was a bit of hyperbole but you get the drift.
The methodology drew on what was made available through mobile technology-audio, video, images, text, and more- and through particular mobile applications- KakaoTalk in particular. Michael hopes to test this methodology in future work with Panoply Digital outside the Korean context to see if it has merit. If there any of you out there who are glutton for punishment, the thesis can be found below.
- Gallagher, M. (2016). Charting Trajectories on the Peripheries of Community Practice: Mobile Learning for the Humanities in South Korea. Institute of Education, University College London, Department of Culture, Communication and Media.
Ronda studied at Royal Holloway, University of London - sometimes referred to as the "House that built ICT4D" (HT: Wayan Vota). Earned in the Geography Department, Ronda's thesis titled The Role of Girls’ Mobile Phone Use to Increase Access to Educational Content After School: A Capabilities-Based Evaluation in Nairobi explores a topic she is passionate about: gender and mobile learning.
In particular, her thesis evaluates the development outcomes of an action research intervention implemented during the after-school hours at and near a girls’ secondary school in Nairobi, Kenya. The intervention and its design were grounded in the capability approach, the people-centered perspective of human development articulated by Amartya Sen. The aim was to help 22 girl research participants lead lives they had a reason to value by investigating how they might increase their access to educational content after school. The work to realize the girls' chosen development outcome was facilitated by the introduction of two mobile learning applications, biNu and Worldreader, for after-school use in the girls’ homes.
Ronda's groundbreaking study shares actual app usage statistics from the research participants (practically unheard of in ICT4D!), and it emerged that time and mobility were the most influential factors to affect the girls’ ability to sustain appropriation of the two apps. Age and gender were two personal characteristics which also had a substantial effect on the development outcomes realized by the research participants. The study served as further evidence that merely adding resources to a situation is insufficient to bring about change if the structures in which these resources are utilized remain unaltered.
- Ronda recently had an article published from her PhD titled “Can You Really See What We Write Online?”: Ethics and Privacy in Digital Research with Girls.
We hope you will all join us in giving a hearty congratulations to Dr. Michael Gallagher and Dr. Ronda Zelezny-Green! Well done to our team members!