I began my current post at the Open University in October 2015. Prior to that, I was a lecturer at the University of Birmingham, where I gained my PhD with a thesis titled 'A corpus analysis of SMS text messaging'. I have an MA in Applied Linguistics and TESOL from Leicester University, and previously worked as a TESOL teacher in Spain and then in Vietnam with the British voluntary organisation, Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO).
My research into language and digital technologies rests on the understanding that digital communication practices are deeply embedded into individuals’ wider social, economic and political lives. I have expertise in a range of research methods from corpus linguistics to linguistic ethnography, and in various analytical concepts including Appraisal theory, audience design, everyday creativity, heteroglossia and translanguaging. My contribution to understanding the impact of digital communication is fourfold.
My research throws up new imperatives and challenges for applied social research in the field of language and social media, and has implications for pedagogic interventions aimed at equipping children and adults with critical digital literacies for social interaction in the twenty-first century.
Research students interested in working in any area related to language and digital technology are encouraged to get in touch. I currently supervise three PhD students:
I am co-convenor of the Open University research group Applied Linguistics and Literacies within the Languages and Applied Linguistics research cluster, and convenor of the OU Digital Sociolinguistics SIG.
My teaching interests span a wide range of applied linguistics topics and areas of expertise. I am currently working across modules on our MA in Education (Applied Linguistics) programme, including the Stage 2 module 'Language, literacy and learning' (EE818) and the Stage 3 Dissertation module (EE819). I also work on our Level 3 undergraduate module 'Exploring English grammar' (E304) and I am involved in developing a Level 1 undergraduate module which introduces students to contemporary issues related to language, and the concepts needed to address them.
I am a member of the BAAL Executive Committee, on which I am responsible for coordinating the BAAL SIGs. I am a co-founding member of the BAAL Language and New Media SIG.
With Philip Seargeant, I have written articles in The Conversation and The Times Higher Education magazine on the implications of our research for recent debates around online filter bubbles and fake news.
The filter bubble isn’t just Facebook’s fault – it’s yours (The Conversation, 5th Dec 2016)
Fake news: the solution is education, not technology (THE, 29th Dec 2016)
I have given various public talks, including one at the Library of Birmingham held as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences November 2014, and another as part of the Church Inn's Music and a Lecture series, Jewellry Quarter, Birmingham.