Project Director - Dr Jackie Marsh

Dr Jackie Marsh is Reader in Education at the University of Sheffield . Jackie is involved in research relating to the use of popular culture, new technologies and the media in the literacy curriculum and co-ordinated, along with Dr Elaine Millard, the ESRC Research Seminar Series ' Children's Literacy and Popular Culture '. Jackie is an editor of the Journal of Early Childhood Literacy and President of the United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA, formerly UKRA).

Project Team

Professor Greg Brooks, University of Sheffield

Greg Brooksís main research interests are in language and literacy. For the 20 calendar years 1981-2000 he worked at the National Foundation for Educational Research in Slough, and directed over 20 research projects, including four national surveys of schoolchildren's reading attainment, several research reviews, and seven evaluations of family and adult learning initiatives for the Basic Skills Agency. Since coming to Sheffield he has directed the local evaluation of Rotherham Rawmarsh Sure Start and national evaluations of Keeping Up with the Children and Early Start for the Basic Skills Agency. He has also produced for the DfES both a research report on What Works for Children with Literacy Difficulties? and a report on the phonics element of the National Literacy Strategy. In the Autumn term of 2004 he directed a randomised controlled trial evaluation of a computer- based literacy catch-up programme, and in 2005, with Carole Torgerson of the University of York, has directed for the DfES a systematic review of research on the use of phonics in teaching children to read. He is also currently (June 2005-January 2006) a member of the Advisory Group to the DfES Rose Review on the initial teaching of reading.

Katy Wright, Research Fellow, University of Sheffield

Katy Wright worked as Research Assistant on the "Digital Beginnings" project for several months, having worked with Jackie Marsh previously on a project for the BBC 'Child of our Time' programme. Katy holds an MA in Conflict Resolution from the University of Bradford (2003), and has previously worked as Research Associate at the UNESCO Centre, University of Ulster. Since March 2004, she has been employed as Research Associate on an ESF funded project entitled 'Jobs not Charity', being carried out in partnership between the University of Sheffield, the Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People and Breakthrough UK. This project, using narrative research and ethnographic methods, is looking at the employment experiences of disabled people and the work of organisations of disabled people in supporting disabled people into employment. (website Currently, Katy is working on an MA in Educational Research at the University of Sheffield. Her research interests include social exclusion, human rights, peacebuilding and narrative research.

Dr Sam Roberts, Research Fellow, University of Sheffield

Sam worked as a Statistical Advisor on the Young Children's Use of Popular Culture, Media and New Technologies study.

Sam holds a BA in Human Sciences from University of Oxford (1997) and an MSc in Evolutionary Psychology from the University of Liverpool (1999). He recently completed his PhD at the University of Sussex, where he looked at social intelligence in Barbary macaques and the great apes. Sam also works on projects at Sheffield University with Prof. Greg Brooks, including an evaluation of Early Start and evaluations of family and adult learning initiatives, and worked with Prof. Gill Valentine from the University of Leeds on the Children and Young People's Home Use of ICT for Educational Purposes project. Sam is currently combining working part-time for the University of Sheffield with teaching in the Psychology department at the University of Stirling.

Colleen Woodward, Project Secretary, University of Sheffield

Jacquie Gillott, Project Secretary, University of Sheffield

Jane Hughes, Independent Consultant

Louise Ritchie, Research Fellow, University of Sheffield

The Digital Beginnings project is sponsored by BBC worldwide and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation