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A portrait of Professor Janette Hughes

Janette Hughes

Canada Research Chair in Technology and Pedagogy

Associate Professor

Digital Literacies
Mitch and Leslie Frazer Faculty of Education

World-leading education expert integrates digital technology to transform student learning experience.

  • PhD - Curriculum (Language and Literacy) Digital Poetry University of Western, London, Ontario 2006
  • Master of Arts - Teaching (Curriculum/English) University of Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Toronto, Ontario 1995
  • Bachelor of Education - Concurrent IS English/History Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario 1988
  • Bachelor of Arts - English Literature (Honours) Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario 1987

Co-constructing Knowledge Through MOOC Design and Development

26th International Conference of Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education  Las Vegas, Nevada


Digital Tools for 21st Century Literacy Learning

United Kingdom Literacy Association 51st International Conference, National College for Teaching and Leadership  Nottingham, England


Using Digital Tools to Read, Write and Perform Poetry for Social Justice

International Federation for the Teaching of English (IFTE)/Council of English Educators (CEE) Summer Conference  New York City, New York


Using a Critical Digital Literacies Pedagogy to Promote Creativity and Equity

Literacy Research Association Conference  Carlsbad, California


Mobile Tools for Social Justice: Young Adolescent Learners Creating Digital Texts for Voice and Agency Through Literature Circles

Literacy Research Association 64th Annual Conference  Marco Island, Florida


iPoetry and iDentity

International Reading Association, Technology in Literacy Education, Special Interest Group  New Orleans, Louisiana


Everybody’s Got a Story: Building Empathy and Understanding Using Digital Tools

Intentional Teaching with Technology to Increase Understanding, Empathy and Engagement, International Reading Association Pre-Conference Institute  New Orleans, Louisiana


The Shift from English Methods to Critical Digital Literacies

Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE)  Florida


Transcending Cultural Borders Through Ning

KAME International Conference  Seoul, South Korea


Transformative Teaching – Using Apps with Literature Circles to Engage Community Social Justice in Middle School

NCTE Annual Convention: (Re)Inventing the Future of English  Boston, Massachusetts


The Adolescent Bricoleur: Constructing, Deconstructing and Reconstructing Social and Personal Identities Through Social Networking Sites

World Social Sciences Forum  Montréal, Québec


The Poetic Mirror: Exploring the Self Through Poetic Inquiry, Resonant Voices

Fourth International Symposium on Poetic Inquiry  Montréal, Québec


Identity, Social Networking and Digital Tools

Summer Institute in Digital Literacy  Rhode Island


Mirror, Mirror on My Wall: Using Social Networking Media to Promote Adolescent Reflection on the Impact of Media in their Lives

International Reading Association  San Antonio, Texas


Who Do You Think You Are? An Examination of the Off/Online Identities of Adolescents Using a Social Networking Site, YOUTH 2.0: CONNECTING, SHARING AND EMPOWERING?

Affordances, Uses and Risks of Social Media  University of Antwerp, Belgium


Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall: Adolescents Reflecting on the Impact of Digital Media in their Lives

Hawaii International Conference on Education  Honolulu, Hawaii


Using Digital Literacies to Foster Globally and Culturally Sensitive Adolescence: Speaking Up About Injustice

International Academic Forum: Asian Conference on Education  Osaka, Japan


Multiliteracies: Preparing Teachers to Teach in a Digital Age

8th International Conference on Education  Samos Island, Greece


The Writing is on My Wall: Engagement and LearNING Through Social Networking

Nineteenth International Conference on Learning, Institute of Education  London, United Kingdom


The Digital Principal

Published in Pembroke April 30, 2014
Janette Hughes

From Pembroke Publishers in 2014, The Digital Principal shows education leaders how to apply their leadership skills to the challenge of creating and supporting a learning environment rich in technology and opportunities for both students and teachers to work, teach, and learn in the digital age.

Social Action Through Digital Literacy

April 30, 2014
Janette Hughes

Published by iBooks in 2013 with one of her graduate students and available on iTunes, this book explores the impact on adolescents’ learning when given opportunities to create digital texts for a wider audience and engage with social justice issues on a global scale. The research presented in this book positioned adolescents as agents of change as they produced digital texts based on issues identified through the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Crossing Cultural Borders Through Ning

Published in Multicultural Education Review March 16, 2015
Allyson Eamer, Janette Hughes & Laura Jane Morrison

The aim of this mixed methods research study was to examine the construction of adolescents’ bi-cultural identities through an exploration of their social practices on the social networking site, Ning. More specifically, we ask: (1) how are new Canadian and first-generation adolescents’ bi-cultural identities shaped and performed as they use multimedia and social networking tools in their classroom; and (2) how can social networking tools help students cross cultural barriers and build strong communities of practice.

View more - Crossing Cultural Borders Through Ning

Mobilizing Knowledge Via Documentary Filmmaking: Is the Academy Ready?

Published in McGill Journal of Education September 1, 2014
Diana M. Petrarca & Janette M. Hughes

The predominant form of research dissemination resides in the scholar’s domain, namely academic conferences and peer-reviewed journals. This paper describes how two colleagues and researchers integrated documentary filmmaking with research methods in their respective scholarly work, supporting the case for documentary film as an alternative form of scholarly work and knowledge mobilization outside the walls of the university. The authors add to the ongoing conversation for a more dynamic use of digital video-recording that moves beyond simple data collection and encourage researchers to tap into multimodal forms of expression, specifically digital filmmaking.

View more - Mobilizing Knowledge Via Documentary Filmmaking: Is the Academy Ready?

You Don’t Know Me: Adolescent Identity Development Through Poetry Performance

Published in In Education, Special Issue on Poetic Inquiry March 1, 2014
Janette Michelle Hughes, Laura Jane Morrison, Cornelia Hoogland

Our study concerns adolescents using poetry writing as an interrogative and creative means of shaping and creating “voices” or “identities.” Toronto-based high school students were challenged to be creators (rather than solely consumers) of available social practices within a digital landscape using mobile devices and social networking platforms.

View more - You Don’t Know Me: Adolescent Identity Development Through Poetry Performance

The Evolution of Teaching with Graphic Novels

Published in Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures January 1, 2014
Janette Hughes & Laura Morrison

Much has changed since I began teaching in a Pre-service Teacher Education program in 2006. Back then, when I introduced our future elementary and secondary English Language Arts teachers to graphic novels, only a few students in each class had any experience with them. Most of the teacher candidates knew about and had read comics at some point in their lives, but only a few had actually read a graphic novel. Now, eight years later, almost all of them know what a graphic novel is, and some enter my classes having taken university courses in the area.

View more - The Evolution of Teaching with Graphic Novels

At the Intersection of Critical Digital Literacies, YAL and Literature Circles

Published in Alan Review January 1, 2014
Janette Hughes & Laura Morrison

In this qualitative case study, we share findings on the link between a critical digital literacies pedagogy, and the use of young adult novels, literature circles and various digital tools to develop students' traditional and digital literacy skills.

View more - At the Intersection of Critical Digital Literacies, YAL and Literature Circles

Adolescents as Agents of Change: Digital Text-Making for Social Justice

Published in Education Matters November 1, 2013
Janette Hughes

This article chronicles a research study in two middle schools in Canada where teachers and learners were engaged to create and integrate digital texts representative of social justice issues into the school curriculum. The article illustrates through samples of digital texts the tacit skills of students that are not readily seen in schools.

Using Facebook to Explore Adolescent Identities

Published in Special Issue: Facebook in Education, International Journal of Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments September 1, 2013
Janette Hughes & Laura Morrison

This study examines the construction, deconstruction and reconstruction of adolescent identities through an exploration of their social practices within a digital landscape using mobile devices and Facebook for learning in the classroom and in their lives.

View more - Using Facebook to Explore Adolescent Identities

The Writing is on My Wall: Engagement and LearNING Through Social Networking

Published in The International Journal of Technologies in Learning June 1, 2013
Janette Hughes

This research chronicles experiences using a social networking site (Ning) to engage and promote collaboration between a class of grade 7 and 8 students, preservice teachers at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and graduate students at memorial University in Newfoundland.

ImMEDIAte Gratification: Examining the Use of Mobile Devices in Adolescents’ In-School and Out-of-School Lives

Published in earning Landscapes Special Issue: Teaching and Learning in the Digital World January 1, 2013
Janette Hughes

Using a mixed method media approach of qualitative case study analysis and quantitative surveying, this research investigates the development of adolescent digital literacies and their use of mobile devices to further their understandings.

National Technology Leadership Initiative Fellowship

Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education January 1, 2013

Dr. Hughes received this honour from the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education, an international association of individual teacher educators, and affiliated organizations of teacher educators in all disciplines, who are interested in the creation and dissemination of knowledge about the use of information technology in teacher education and faculty/staff development.

UOIT Research Excellence Award


Dr. Hughes received the Early Stage Researcher Award for her national and international research success and recognition of her research in raising UOIT's profile as a research-focused institution. (September 21, 2012 - April 30, 2014)

Ontario Ministry of Innovation Early Researcher Award

April 30, 2014

Recognized as a leader in research excellence, Dr. Hughes is UOIT’s first Faculty of Education recipient of the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation Early Researcher Award in 2011 for her work on Fostering Globally and Culturally Sensitive Adolescents: Social Action Through Digital Literacy.

International Literacy Association

Canadian Society for the Study of Education

Language and Literacy Researchers of Canada

United Kingdom Literacy Association

National Council of Teachers of English

Literacy Research Association

American Educational Research Association

Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education

  • Curriculum Studies I: I/S English (CURS 4110U)
    This course introduces teacher candidates to the theory and practice of teaching English/Language Arts (ELA) in the Intermediate/Senior divisions, with a focus on teaching reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing and representing in the digital age. The curriculum content includes a review of related curriculum documents and supporting resources, as well as a review of current subject-related theory, teaching strategies and classroom practices. The course uses a critical digital literacies approach and consists of a detailed study of English/Language Arts curriculum guidelines and requirements (7-12), adolescent development related to the development of digital literacies, development of programs for student diversity, print and non-print material related to traditional and digital literacies (7-12), a review of the role of digital technologies and media in the English/Language Arts classroom, and a review of a range of teaching strategies and assessment tools related to the English/Language Arts classroom (7-12).
  • Curriculum Studies II: I/S English (CURS 4111U)
    This course continues to introduce teacher candidates to the theory and practice of teaching English/Language Arts (ELA) in the Intermediate/Senior divisions, with a focus on teaching reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing and representing in the digital age. The curriculum content includes a review of related curriculum documents and supporting resources, as well as a review of current subject-related theory, teaching strategies, and classroom practices. The course continues to use the critical digital literacies approach from semester one.
  • Information Literacy (AEDT 3110U)
    The purpose of this course is to analyze the processes of inquiry in the context of digital technologies including an examination of online resources available through academic and public libraries, as well as other Internet-based information sources including online books, magazines, journals, encyclopaedias, dictionaries, film and video collections, etc. Students will learn to define and refine questions, set and evaluate information sources, assess the accuracy and utility of information retrieved, and organize, analyze, and report the results of research. Topics will include, but are not limited to, information literacy skills, multiliteracies, and information literacy research.
  • Critical Making (Special Topics in Education and Digital Technologies) (EDUC 5199G)
    Special topics courses present material in an emerging field or one not covered in regular offerings. Each year up to two or three special topics in technology and informatics courses may be offered to enable students to experience particular topics in depth. In the area of technology and informatics, for instance, courses such as Special Topics in Computer Assisted Language Learning or Special Topics in Adaptive Technologies for Special Education may be offered periodically.
  • Leadership and Technology (EDUC 5205G)
    Significant educational leadership principles, models in the use of technology, and the influence of information and communication technology on educational leadership are explored and applied. Course topics include common vision; analysis of needs; development; access and security; integration into instruction; assessment and evaluation; professional development; and infrastructure of the school system including administrative software, community relationships, ethical legal issues and other educational policy implications. The result will be a plan of significant value to the master’s candidates’ educational technology leadership role.
  • Technology and the Curriculum (EDUC 5303G)
    This online seminar course examines the theoretical foundations and practical questions concerning the educational use of technology. The main areas of focus will include learning theory and the use of technology, analysis of the learner, curriculum and technology tools, leading-edge technology programs/initiatives, factors that influence the implementation of technology, assessment and barriers toward using technology. The overall focus of the course is on developing a critical, evidence-based, theoretically grounded perspective regarding the use of technology in the curriculum.
  • Digital Literacy: Theory, Practice and Research (EDUC 5304G)
    Postmodern literacies have proliferated in response to the rapid expansion of digital technologies and network interconnectivity in the 21st century. The kinds of texts produced for and by the current knowledge economy are artifacts of digital rather than industrial technologies; these technologies have had considerable impact on how people read and write. This course examines what we have learned about the impact of digital technologies to this point with a view to understanding what it means to be literate in a digital age. We consider the continuing overlap of pre-print, print and post-print forms within the larger history of literacy artifacts. We consider the effect of word processors, hypermedia, and the Web 2.0 on writing and reading practices, and we experiment with emerging web-based social software such as wikis and weblogs. From legal boundaries of who owns what words in cyberspace to recognizing new orthographies, new identities, new contexts for learning and new poetics in digital contexts, we explore the various socio-political and educational aspects of digital communications technologies.