Dr Michael Gallagher

Lecturer in Digital Education


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 studies on 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, ICT4D); the mobilities of digital education students; educational futures, and international frameworks for educational development (SDGs, New Urban Agenda, and more) and their impact on educational autonomy.

At the University of Edinburgh, I work on several Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) projects around digital education in sub-Saharan Africa (Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda) and potential impacts on inclusion, as well as 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 mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

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 frameworks 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 educational environment.

I have consulted on several research and educational design projects, including the World Bank’s Open Learning Campus, where I worked on their open courses, conducted research on open learning and digital education,  and contributed to learning analytics and course design. I am also on the Advisory Council of Beni American University in Nigeria. I collaborate often with Finnish colleagues at Haaga-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. Previously, I was the Education and Outreach Manager, Research & Learning Environments at ITHAKA. In this capacity, I focused on the creation of scholarly networks of activity surrounding the sciences and cultural heritage networks. Formerly, I worked for Aluka, a not-for-profit digital library of scholarly materials by and about Africa. In that capacity, I worked often throughout Africa conducting educational programmes and workshops on information literacy and online research. I have a background in education, having worked as a teacher for many years both in the United States, Korea, and now the UK.


PDF icon 66139.pdf


PhD: University College London, Education

MSc: University of Edinburgh, Digital Education

MSc: Drexel University, Information Science

BSc: Wright State University, Education

Responsibilities & affiliations

Faculty on the MSc in Digital Education

Centre for Research in Digital Education, University of Edinburgh

Digital Education Research Cluster

Advisory Council Member: Beni American University (Nigeria)

Higher Education Academy: Teaching Fellow

Postgraduate teaching

I teach on the MSc in Digital Education at Moray House School of Education.

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Research summary

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 educational futures. I work largely in ICT4D, with a particular focus on inclusion and gender in digital education.

Current research interests

digital futures, digital education in low resource contexts, mobilities, ICT4D, policy, SDGs,

Knowledge exchange

Recent presentations, seminars, and knowledge exchange events include the following:

Affiliated research centres

Project activity

  • GCRF Theme Development Fund: Digital Education, Social Justice, and Carbon Consequence
  • GCRF Theme Development Fund: Migration in Latin America
  • Near Future Teaching project
  • Distance Learning at Scale (DLAS) project
  • Exploring the Teacher Function: Designing Interventions in Automated Teaching project
  • Creating Refugee Access to Tertiary Education through Blended Learning: An Action Research Approach 

Current project grants

GCRF Theme Development Fund: Digital Education, Social Justice, and Carbon Consequence

View all 21 publications on Research Explorer