Current Project

Institute of Education (IoE) at the University of London and my future: plans for 2012-2015

This is a bus lane. Enjoy. London, UK: June 2011

Yes, I give the major events in my life headings and subheadings. I might be excited/ecstatic, but I am not sloppy. And I also include seemingly random photos of London in my posts. But they aren’t random.

The News

I just received word, unofficially, that makes this announcement possible so I will just come out and say it. I will be starting a PhD programme at the Institute of Education at the University of London in October, 2012.

After going back and checking the original timestamp of the original email I sent inquiring about the programme, then drafting a research proposal, applying to several different universities, revising said research proposal (at least 5-6 times), meeting with potential supervisors, interviewing, applying for funding, etc., I received word that I was accepted. This total time period lasted about 1.5 years (I deferred for a year).

The Supervisors

I am quite honored to say that I will have two academic supervisors, both of whom contributed greatly to my decision to attend the Institute of Education, and both of whom bring a wealth of expertise on the subject I will be pursuing.

Both have expertise, vast expertise, in ICT4D, African higher education, mlearning, multimedia, Humanities-based instruction, and all the other disciplines and subdisciplines that drew me to this programme. Both work in some capacity at the London Knowledge Lab.

The following is not meant to boast, but rather illustrate the quality of the IoE programme and how closely it parallels my own academic aspirations. I was accepted into what I believe to be the top-tier universities in my field (elearning/mlearning/education), all of which would rank very high (as in very very high) on any global ranking of universities. I had many sleepless nights before and after making this decision, but ultimately the Institute of Education was the one that fit. As a mature student (35+), I like to imagine myself as a savvy consumer of higher education so I made the choice as best as I was able. But it was a very difficult decision.

Institute of Education, London, UK: June 2011

My Research

My research area (not surprising to anyone who may have read this blog at any point in the last two years) will be

  • Mobile Learning for the Practice of History in Higher Education in East Africa: A Case Study of Networking Historical Communities of Practice in Zanzibar and at the University of Dar es Salaam.

It will involve mlearning, East Africa higher education (specifically Tanzania), ICT4D, and addressing the needs of non-STEM subjects, namely the Humanities. I have written about this extensively, indeed have even posted to this blog my research proposal as it stood a year ago (since revised) in modular form:

My Gratitude

And yes, my ability to reach this stage and pursue such education is directly influenced by the kindness, compassion, and encouragement of others, however much my ego won’t allow me to admit it freely. So, I want to take a moment to thank those that encouraged me, implicitly or otherwise, towards greater pursuits.

  • My wife- for years and years of listening me to think aloud, hatch ideas, execute, constantly angle, probe. On a Sunday morning. In pajamas. While you are sleeping.  Nothing begins or ends here without you in my life.
  • the MSc in Elearning Programme at the University of Edinburgh-all of them. I hit my intellectual and academic stride in this course and the momentum garnered from this excellent programme took me right through to the doctorate. There are too many to thank here individually, but all have had a lasting, positive impact on my development and have contributed to my joy, that joy mined from discovery, collaboration, and knowledge construction. I especially wanted to thank Dr. Sian Bayne, my supervisor, and Dr. Hamish Macleod, my informal guide through both the physical campus and the programme. Many of my fellow students and professors, I consider friends. That is glowing praise coming from me.
  • MobiMOOC Research Team– I have written about these people before, but they amaze me with their enthusiasm, their tenacity, their intellectual restlessness. Our collaboration started as a volunteer activity and quickly developed into a sturdy working group. Some of which I had the opportunity to meet in Beijing for mLearn 2011. Truly remarkable people.

Thank you, all. For reading, for listening, for encouraging.

Off to London in mid-September.

Emerald Street, London, UK: June 2011

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About Author

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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