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Department of Education

Dr Tracey Denton-Calabrese

Research Officer - Rees Centre

Tracey Denton-Calabrese is a Research Officer at the Rees Centre

She is currently working with Professor Judy Sebba and the Rees Centre team on the Evaluation of the Expanded Duties of Virtual Schools, which focuses on the evaluation of two new policy initiatives announced in Summer 2021, with the Rees Centre being commissioned as the UK Department for Education’s research partner.

In previous roles she worked as a research officer and project manager for the Promising Practices: Curiosity and Creativity research study led by Professor Therese Hopfenbeck and Associate Professor Joshua McGrane at the Oxford University Centre for Educational Assessment (OUCEA). This research was funded by the Jacobs Foundation and examines how teachers in IB Primary Years Programmes foster creativity and curiosity in schools. The research was conducted in collaboration with the Australian Council for Educational Research and the International Baccalaureate. Prior to this, Tracey worked as a postdoctoral researcher on the Go Girl Code+Create project and won a place on the Oxford Foundry LEV8 Women Programme (2019). She was also a participant on the Aspect Network SUCCESS Programme (2020) and a finalist for the Fair Education Alliance Innovation Award 2020.

Tracey completed her Doctorate in Education at the University of Oxford, where she undertook an ethnographic multi-site case study on how school culture shapes and is shaped by the implementation of the New Technology model (or “New Tech” model), a prominent school reform effort in the United States with a strong focus on developing school culture and combining project-based learning with extensive use of ICTs (information and communication technologies). She utilized ethnographic methods to understand the everyday experiences and practices of school leaders, teachers and students working within New Tech schools. The study was framed using a sociocultural perspective, examining the culture of New Tech schools and its contextualization within broader cultural ideologies, social patterns and influences.

Tracey has taught school ethnography sessions for the MSc Education (Learning and Technology) programme. She is a former teacher and technology curriculum coordinator and earned her M.A. in Instructional Technology & Media from Teachers College at Columbia University. She is also a fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute and has a wide range of research interests which include school culture, education reform, ethnographic research, the use of ICTs in formal and informal settings, issues of digital equity, educational opportunities for disadvantaged young people, and fostering creativity and curiosity in schools.

Journal Publications
Denton-Calabrese, T. Mustain, P., Geniets, A., Hakimi, L., Winters, N. (2021). Empowerment beyond skills: Computing and the enhancement of self-concept in the go_girl code+create program. Computers & Education, 175, 104321. DOI:

Denton-Calabrese, T. & Randhawa, A. (2020) ‘Tackling digital exclusion: The role of supportive informal education settings’, BERA Research Intelligence, 145, 16-17.

Randhawa, A., Denton-Calabrese, T., Kahn, K., Geniets, A., Winters, N. (2020) Go Girl: code + create: Curricular resources for starting your own programme. CC BY NC: This license allows reusers to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material in any medium or format for noncommercial purposes only, and only so long as attribution is given to the creator. It includes the following elements:
BY – Credit must be given to the creator
NC – Only noncommercial uses of the work are permitted