Edinburgh Research Explorer

Dr Michael Gallagher

Lecturer in Digital Education

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Willingness to take PhD students: Yes

Education/Academic qualification

2012Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University College London
Mobile Learning in Higher Education in South Korea: Charting Trajectories of Peripheral Participation
2009Master in Science, University of Edinburgh
2004Master in Science, Drexel University
1994Bachelor of Education, Wright State Univ


I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh, and a member of the Centre for Research in Digital Education. My research interests include critical mobilities research in digital education in development contexts and the implications of such thinking for educational mobility. My published work includes critical perspectives on educational technologies (AI, MOOCs, mobile technology); the mobilities of digital education students; and futures educational research.

At the University of Edinburgh, I have worked on the Near Futures Teaching project, the Distance Learning at Scale project, and was formerly part of the NERC Research for Emergency Aftershock Response project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, Korea for many years. I am also a Director and Co-Founder of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT4D. I work often with INGOs on digital education projects. 

My research focuses on the critical examination of the mobilities exhibited by groups and sectors in flux and how technology is used to both structure and manage these mobilities. Post-Brexit, with greater concentrations of international students and refugees, with the unbundling of labour and education, with a global edtech regime emerging in developing contexts largely unmooring local educational expertise and displacing higher education as a vehicle for social mobility, this research focuses on frameworkd to investigate these movements holistically and to begin to address the larger intractable challenges that may stunt educational progress in development contexts. I routinely employ mobilities research and sociomateriality to identify “the distribution of agency between people, places, and material assemblages of connectivity” (Sheller, 2017) and the role digital education might serve in an increasingly unbundled intersectional environment.

I have years of experience working with digital education in development contexts throughout Africa, South Asia, and East Asia, including sitting on the Advisory Board of one such university in Nigeria; years of experience working with faculty and students in universities as both instructor and supervisor, including experience on the MSc in Digital Education; an extensive research portfolio; and capacity for cross-sector knowledge exchange from my paid consulting experience with relevant industries such as DfID, USAID, GIZ, World Bank, UN Habitat, and more.

I am currently a consultant on several digital education projects, including the World Bank’s Open Learning Campus, where I work on their open courses, conduct research on open learning and digital education,  and contribute to learning analytics and course design. I collaborate often with Finnish colleagues at Haagia-Helia University on several projects related to mobile learning. I am a Fellow in the Higher Education Academy (HEA), in keeping with the requirements of the UK Professional Standards Framework.

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