Brock prof among women researchers featured in international magazine

A U.K.-based research magazine has included a Brock University education specialist in its International Women’s Day issue showcasing women researchers in various countries.

Jennifer Rowsell, Professor in the Department of Teacher Education, is one of 18 researchers highlighted in Research Features Magazine’s March 8 issue, Woman in Science.

Rowsell, who holds a Canada Research Chair in Multiliteracies, studies how students develop their literacy skills using iPads and other emerging technologies in elementary and secondary school classrooms.

Where once the printed word was the key vehicle that conveyed information in the classroom, students are now having to interpret images, animated text and sounds on top of the printed word.

Rowsell works with teachers to help students gain the skills they need to derive meaning from language communicated through these technologies. She conducts her research in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.

“Her research argues that whilst modes of literacy have changed and books have been swapped for tablets, children of today are no less voracious in their appetite to learn and create than they were 10 years ago,” says Rowsell’s magazine profile, “Rethinking literacy: a modern approach to thinking and learning in a digital age.”

“I was honoured to be asked to appear in this compendium of international research,” says Rowsell, adding that her research, while not strictly in the sciences, “cuts across subject areas, sitting within the learning sciences.”

Emma Feloy, Editorial Director at Research Publishing International Ltd., says the magazine was “drawn to how Dr. Rowsell combines two areas we are all so familiar with: modern technology and literacy.”

“Her work is sure to interest a broad sweep of readers from fellow academics through to teachers and parents and even students themselves.”

Research Features Magazine, headquartered in England, is an online publication – “somewhere in the middle” of being a news source and an academic publisher – that covers many subject areas in science. Each magazine centres on a theme or subject and is written in plain language.

The March 8 issue showcases the work of Rowsell and other women researchers in a variety of fields mostly in the U.S. but as far away as Hong Kong and Zurich.

“This issue includes a special ‘round table’ feature: Why are women still underrepresented in the world of scientific research? What needs to be done to tackle this?” says Feloy.

“With this issue we aim to celebrate the fantastic work being conducted by women around the world, highlight the importance of a diverse workforce and examine the challenges currently facing female researchers.”

Rowsell says the magazine’s Women in Science issue comes at a good time.

“There has been, and in some ways continues to be, a gender gap in the sciences and I see it manifested in Canadian classrooms when I conduct coding and video game research,” she says.

“Although there have been strides, there really needs to be a push for women to enter the sciences.”

Rowsell urges female students and academics to press ahead in the sciences.

“I would say nothing ventured, nothing gained. I have said this to myself so many times and it has never failed me,” Rowsell says.

“Of course, I have had my fair share of rejections and obstacles, but you have to forge ahead and explore different options. Also, go with your gut and intuition; they are usually spot on.”

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