Today’s young generations are among the first ones to grow up in an environment where digital voice assistants (e.g. Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant) can emulate some innate capabilities of their human Creators, such as the autonomous use of human language and speech. My dissertation aims to contribute to a theoretical as well as empirical understanding of what role voice assistants play in today’s home and childhood environments, and how exposure to these machines is related to way children construct a basic understanding of the world around them. In addition, I am also hoping that my findings will prefigure to a certain extent how the nature of human-machine relationships might look like in a couple of years and decades from now.
I am a pragmatic proponent of mixed methods designs, with a particular emphasis on advanced quantitative means of scientific inquiry. I also hold a strong interest in philosophical issues related to the ongoing rise of artificial/machine intelligence.
- Festerling, J., & Siraj, I. (2020). Alexa, what are you? Exploring Primary School Children’s Ontological Perceptions of Digital Voice Assistants in Open Interactions. Human Development, 64, 26–43. https://doi.org/10.1159/000508499
- Festerling, J. (2020) Alexa, what are you? Why we should actively engage children in discussions about intelligent technologies. Researching Education, Issue 3. https://researchingeducation.com/jfesterling1020/
- Festerling, J. (2020). Changing Nature of Childhood Environments – Investigating Children’s Interactions with Digital Voice Assistants in Light of a New Paradigm. Proceedings of The Thirteenth International Conference on Advances in Computer-Human Interactions – ACHI 2020, 73–78.
- Festerling, J. (2020). Alexa, How Do You Change Us? Annual Poster Conference of the Department of Education at the University of Oxford. https://doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.36687.30887
- Festerling, J. (2020). Innovators’ Freedom to Challenge Our Paradigms: Why the Copernican Legacy Should Guide Our Progression through the Incipient Age of Artificial Intelligence. Proceedings of the Global Essay Competition at The Fiftieth St. Gallen Symposium. http://dx.doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.18644.22405/1
Jane is a part of the Rees Centre for Fostering and Education. Jane’s research interests lie in the socioemotional development of young children, especially areas related to challenging behaviour, self-regulation, and early intervention.
Prior to her beginning as a Doctoral student, Jane read for the M.Sc in Child Development and Education at the University of Oxford and a BA in Early Childhood and Families Studies at the University of Washington.
- Sohn, B., Buchanan, A., Heo, K., & Lee, J. J. (2019). Explanatory effects of young childhood caregiving environment, child’s pro-social behavior, and child’s self-regulation skills on adolescent problem behavior. Children and Youth Services Review, 100, 298-303. DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2019.03.01
- Lee, J. J. & Sohn, B. (2020). Effects of student-teacher relationships on the problem behavior trajectories of children and adolescent. Academic Journal of Pediatrics & Neonatology, 9(5), 47-49
Abigail’s research explores the role of education in personal development and how this can be supported by policy, pedagogy, curricula and professional development. In particular she focuses on citizenship education, history education as well as relationships and sex education as vehicles for awareness and dialogue about difficult social issues. She takes a comprehensive approach by seeking to understand learners’ experiences, the dynamics of the learning environment and the processes of curriculum development. She also explores the relationship between research and curricula as part of a broader interest in meaningful research dissemination and publication practices.
Abigail has taught social sciences and humanities to secondary students, undergraduates and postgraduates and has also facilitated training sessions for in-service teachers. She previously led a gender-based violence prevention initiative in schools.
She holds postgraduate degrees in Post-Conflict and Transitional Justice (University of Cape Town), in Education, Globalisation and International Development (University of Cambridge) and in African Studies (University of Oxford). She is a Rhodes Scholar, Mandela-Magdalene Scholar and Mandela-Rhodes Scholar.
TITLE OF THESIS
GCSE History, Policy Reform and Student Development: How students and teachers navigate the thematic study “Empires, Migration and the People”
‘Teaching Migration, Belonging, and Empire in Secondary Schools: evaluation of a teacher professional development program’, (2019) History Educators International Research Network Conference, Lead author: Dr Jason Todd, University of Vienna, Austria.
‘The Problems and Prospects of Teaching South Africa’s Recent History: Teachers’ Perspectives’, (2018) Sustainability, peace and education – Exploring promise and practice: BAICE 20th Anniversary Symposium, University of Bristol, England.
‘New Generations, Old Wounds: Learning History at Home and School in Northern Ireland’, (2018) European Social Science and History Conference,
Queens University Belfast, Northern Ireland.
‘The Methodological Challenges of Investigating the Role of History Teaching in Peacebuilding’, (2017), Present Past: Time, Memory, and the Negotiation of Historical Justice Conference, Columbia University, United States of America.
‘Teaching South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’, (2017) European Conference on African Studies, Universität Basel, Switzerland.
Abigail Branford, ‘”I’m not Catholic and I’m not Protestant”: Identity, individualisation and challenges for history education in Northern Ireland’, History Education Research Journal, 18 (2), 2021.
Babatunde Williams, Ba Linh Le, Abigail Branford, Lena Wagner, ‘Domestic Abuse In The Pandemic & Building Supportive Workplaces’, Report for Frontline100, 2021.
David Mills, Abigail Branford, Kelsey Inouye, Natasha Robinson & Patricia Kingori, “Fake” Journals and the Fragility of Authenticity: Citation Indexes, “Predatory” Publishing, and the African Research Ecosystem’, Journal of African Cultural Studies, 33 (3), 2021.
Abigail Branford, ‘Transitions, Truth-Telling and Teaching History’, Cambridge Open-Review Educational Research e-Journal, Vol. 4, 2017.
From 2018-2022 Iram was convener of the Child Development and Learning (CDL) Group and the co-ordinator for the Language, Cognition and Development (LCD) Theme in the department.
Before joining the department on the 1st June 2018 Iram held positions at the University of Warwick, University College London and the University of Wollongong. She is currently an ajunct professor at the University of Stavanger and a visiting professor at the universities of Wollongong and UCL. She has held visiting professorships in other universities in Ireland, England, Wales, Australia, China, New Zealand and Hong Kong.
Iram has an international reputation for her longitudinal research and policy expertise. She has co-directed a number of influential studies, including the Effective Provision of Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education (EPPSE, DfE, 1997-2014) study, the transformative Researching Effective Pedagogy in the Early Years (REPEY, DfE, 2002) study, and the associated Effective Leadership in the Early Years Sector (ELEYS) Study. She has also studied Effective Early Educational Experiences in Australia (E4Kids, Australian Research Council and Victoria and Queensland Governments. 2009-2015).
Her current studies include cluster randomised controlled trials of interventions looking at the impact of evidence-based professional development in 90 centres in New South Wales Fostering Effective Early Learning; Researching Effective Environments for Learning in 70 centres in Victoria; and Using Research tools to Promote Language in the Early Years in 120 schools in England.
Iram conducted reviews of the Welsh Foundation Phase (2014) and of the Scottish early years workforce (2015). She led two C4EO reviews of what families and integrated working contribute to child outcomes for under-fives. Amongst her many published works she has authored award-winning books including: Social Class and Educational Inequality the Role of Parents and Schools (2015) and Effective and Caring Leadership in the Early Years (2014). She has over 250 publications including three widely-used rating scales which measure the quality of environments and pedagogy in ECEC and promote child outcomes in the cognitive (ECERS-E 4th Ed. 2010), social-emotional (SSTEW, 2015) and physical (MOVERS, 2017) domains.
Iram’s policy work has included being on the Ministerial Advisory Group for the Welsh Government (2006-2016) advising four consecutive ministers; on the Victorian Government Early Education Advisory Group; the South Australian Education Advisory Board; the Nuffield Council for Bio-ethics and acting as specialist advisor to the House of Commons Select Committee inquiry on Children’s Centres. She has provided advice to UNESCO, UNICEF, World Bank, OECD, Bernard van Leer and Aga Khan Foundations and given one-off support to governments in many other regions including Chile, Federal Government of Australia, New Zealand and Portugal.
She is on a number of editorial boards including the American Educational Research Journal. Iram was awarded an OBE for her services to ECEC in 2015.
Pam Sammons is a Professor of Education at the Department of Education, University of Oxford and a Senior Research Fellow at Jesus College, Oxford.
Previously she was a professor at the School of Education, University of Nottingham (2004-2009) and a professor at the Institute of Education University of London (1993- 2004) where she directed the International School Effectiveness & Improvement Centre (ISEIC) 1999-2004.
Her research over more than 30 years has focused on school effectiveness and improvement, school leadership, teaching effectiveness and professional development, and promoting equity and inclusion in education. She has conducted major studies in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland including the longitudinal Effective Provision of Pre-school Primary and Secondary Education (EPPSE 3+ -16) research from 1996-2014 and the impact analyses for the Evaluation of Children’s Centre’s in England (2009-2015).
She has a particular interest in longitudinal studies and the use of mixed methods research approaches. She has provided research advice to inspection agencies in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Sweden and engaged in the development of educational effectiveness studies in Cyprus, Germany, Norway and Sweden. She was an author of the OECD country report on the Czech Republic (2012). She provided input to professional development of Challenge Advisors in Wales (September 2014) and was an advisor to the DfE for its research on the ‘London Effect’.
She has conducted research on social mobility for the Sutton Trust exploring the drivers of academic success for ‘bright but disadvantaged’ students, and on students’ aspirations. Pam is currently a co-investigator for the OECD TALIS video study on mathematics teaching in England (funded by the DFE) held with the Education Development Trust.
Pam has been a governor of a primary school in Oxfordshire and a governor for a secondary school academy in the city of Oxford.
Please find a copy of Pam’s recent publication list here in PDF format.
- B.A. in Psychology and Social Relations, Harvard University
- M.A. in Developmental Psychology, Harvard University
- Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology, Harvard University
Kathy Sylva’s research interests include:
- Early childhood curriculum and assessment
- The ‘effectiveness’ of education in the pre-school and primary phases
- The contribution of parents to children’s learning
- Children’s Centres and Family Hubs
- Supporting parents in behaviour management and learning
- Reading Recovery and other literacy interventions
Kathy has conducted large-scale studies on the effects of early education and care on children’s development and has led several RCTs to evaluate parenting interventions. She has been specialist adviser to Parliamentary Select Committees and currently advises Ofsted, the Early Intervention Foundation, and the Education Endowment Foundation.
AWARDS AND DISTINCTIONS
Kathy is a Fellow of the British Academy, the Academy of Social Sciences, the British Psychological Society, and recipient of the British Educational Research Association’s Nisbett Award in 2014. She received an OBE for services to children and families in 2008 and has honorary doctorates from the Open University, Oxford Brookes, and the University of Gothenburg.
CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS
- PI on ‘Early Years Covid 19 Recovery – Mentors and Experts Programme’ in collaboration with Ecorys, funded by the Department for Education
- CI on ‘Coaching Early Conversations, Interaction and Language’ With Ariel Lindorff (PI) Sutton Trust