Explore our research

  • Language, Literacy and Digital Education

    UCLan Lecture

Digital technologies are changing the nature of teaching, learning and administration across all educational sectors. In particular they are changing the way learners, teachers and administrators access, manage and disseminate information. Through digital technologies, Web 2.0 applications and the rise of online communities and mobile applications, students who entered education in the first decade of the twenty-first century have grown up with new practices and skills associated with reading, writing and communication.

The Language, Literacy & Digital Education group are engaged in research projects and publications related to the use of digital technologies and new media in education in general and in the areas of language and literacy in particular. We have a growing list of international members and the group acts as a forum for collaboration and the dissemination of expertise, knowledge and research.

Expertise and subject areas

Group members undertake international collaborative research in the areas of:

  • Educational technology
  • Computer-assisted language learning
  • Digital technologies and learning
  • Virtual and personal learning environments
  • Digital literacies
  • Digital-games based learning
  • Web 2.0 applications
  • E-learning
  • Massive open online courses (MOOCs)
  • ICT in schools, colleges and universities
  • Digital media and young people
  • Game-based learning


  • Participate in national and international debates and forums about the role of digital education and learning
  • Coordinate leading book series on digital education and learning with Palgrave Macmillan and Bloomsbury
  • Contribute to national and international research and teacher training projects
  • Convenors of the “Distance Learning & Digital Technologies” LinkedIn Group (ca. 1,500 members)
  • Founded International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments
  • Convenor of over twenty five international conferences
  • Frequent keynote speakers at international conferences
  • Undertaken invited consultancies and training events with national and international educational institutions
  • Interviewed on digital education by international publications (e.g., Microsoft France, The Guardian).
  • Contribute to the academic press (e.g,. articles in the Times Higher Education Supplement and Guardian Education)
  • Research funding from JISC, HEA, ESRC, DSR

Publications and Outputs

Chik, A. (2010c) Nonghao, I am a Shanghai noenoe: How do I claim my Shanghaineseness? In Language and Culture: Reflective Narratives and the Emergence of Identity. Edited by David Nunan and Julie Choi. New York: Routledge.

Chik, A. (2011a) International language test taking among young learners: A Hong Kong case study (co-authored with S. Besser). Language Assessment Quarterly, 8(1), 73-91.

Chik, A. (2011b) Learner autonomy development through digital gameplay. Digital Culture and Education, 3 (1), 50-64.

Chik, A. (2011c) Online language learning histories exchange: Hong Kong and German perspectives (co-authored with S. Breidbach). TESOL Quarterly, 45(3).

Chik, A. (2011d) Video gaming and social networking as professional development: English teachers' perception, attitudes and experience. Pedagogies, 6(2).

Khojasteh, L. & Reinders, H. 2013. How textbooks (and learners) get it wrong. A corpus study of modal auxiliary verbs. Journal of Applied Research in English, 1:3.

Reinders, H. 2012 ‘Blended and Online Instruction’. In: Burns, A. & Richards, J. Guide to Second Language Pedagogy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (p.287-294).

Reinders, H. 2012 ‘Towards a definition and operationalisation of intake’. Journal of Applied Research in English, 1:2.

Reinders, H. & Hubbard, P. 2012. ‘CALL and autonomy. Affordances and constraints’. In: Thomas, M., Reinders, H., & Warschauer, M. (Eds.), Contemporary CALL. New York: Continuum.

Reinders, H. & Wattana, S. 2012. ‘Talk to me! Games and students’ willingness to communicate’. In: Reinders, H. (Ed.), Digital Games in Language Learning and Teaching, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, p. 156-188.

Thomas, M., Reinders, H., & Warschauer, M. (Eds.) (2012). Contemporary Computer-Assisted Language Learning. Continuum Contemporary Linguistics Series. London & New York: Continuum.

Thomas, M. (Ed.). (2011). Digital Education: Opportunities for Social Collaboration. London & New York: Palgrave.

Thomas, M. (Ed.). (2011). Deconstructing Digital Natives: Young People, Technology and the New Literacies. London & New York: Routledge.

Thomas, M. (2011). Online Learning. Four Volumes. Part I Professional Development and Training. Part II Digital Pedagogies. Part III Digital Literacies. Part IV New and Emerging Digital Technologies. Part V Assessment, Evaluation and Feedback. London: Sage Publications.

Thomas, M., & Reinders, H. (Eds.) (2010). Task-Based Language Learning and Teaching with Technology. London & New York: Continuum. Hardcover. 256pp.

Thomas, M., & Cutrim Schmid, E. (Eds.) (2010). Interactive Whiteboards for Education: Theory, Research and Practice. Hershey, PA., New York & London: Information Science Reference. Hardcover. 404pp.

Lytras, M. D., Ordonez De Pablos, P., Avison, D., Sipior, J., Jin, Q., Leal, W., Uden, L., Thomas, M., Cervai, S., & Horner, D.G. (Eds.) (2010). Technology Enhanced Learning: Quality of Teaching and Educational Reform. Series: Communications in Computer and Information Science, Vol. 73. Springer Verlag. 697pp.

Thomas, M. (Ed.) (2009). Handbook of Research on Web 2.0 and Second Language Learning. Hershey, PA., New York & London: Information Science Reference. ISBN 978-1-60566-190-2. Hardcover. 636pp.

Events and News

Symposium on Digital Methodologies in Educational Research.

The ESRC/DSR funded symposium on "Digital Methodologies in Educational Research" will take place on 10th May from 10.00am-5.00pm. Venue: Brockholes Conference Centre, Preston ( ).

The purpose of this one-day symposium is to develop and support digitally-enabled research across the field of education. By providing a forum for the discussion of digital approaches (quantitative, qualitative, data visualisation, digital scholarship etc.), the event will enable the exchange of methodologies, ideas, expertise and knowledge and present researchers, practitioners and postgraduate students with opportunities to develop new networks and share good practice.

Invited speakers include Stephen Downes (National Research Council of Canada), Professor Paul Seedhouse (University of Newcastle), Professor Stephen Bax (Bedfordshire University) and Dr Jeff Bezemer (IOE, University of London).

Attendance is via prior registration only. Please contact the organiser, Dr Michael Thomas to register:

Over ten plenary and panel presentations will focus on:

  • The use of social media and social networking
  • Research on reading using eye-tracking applications 
  • The ESRC funded digital kitchen project 
  • Openness and digital research 
  • Massive open online courses and communities (MOOCs) 
  • Scholarship in the digital age 
  • Ethics and digital research 
  • Methods of online data collection and analysis 
  • Digital ethnography 
  • The use of mobile applications

Courses and Postgraduate Study

MA TESOL with Applied Linguistics by E-Learning

Computer-Assisted Language Learning

MA Intercultural Business Communication

BA (Hons) International Business Communication

Teaching Languages Online


Michael Thomas, University of Central Lancashire, UK (Director)

Robert Kasza, University of Central Lancashire, UK

Gavin Sim, University of Central Lancashire, UK

Alice Chik, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Ed Dixon, University of Pennsylvania, USA

David Donnaruma, Open University, UK

Steve Hargadon, Classroom 2.0, USA

Iffaf Kahn, University of Essex, UK

Stewart Martin, University of Hull, UK

Mark Peterson, Kyoto University, Japan

Hayo Reinders, Middlesex University, UK

Peter Worrall, Educational Technology Consultant, UK

Ma Wulin, Sichuan International Studies University 

Additional Information

Contact Information

School of Language and Global Studies
University of Central Lancashire
United Kingdom
Fax: +44 (0)1772-893148

Related Projects

Wireless Ready (2007-2010)

Digital Education and Learning (DEAL) (2010-2012)

Open Educational Resources in Languages (2012)

Digital Shift (2012-2014)

CAMELOT (2013-2015)

VITAL (2015-2017)