People

Dr. Janette Hughes
Canada Research Chair in Technology and Pedagogy & Professor

I am a Professor in Digital Literacies at Ontario Tech University where I teach and conduct janette-small-198x300research in the Faculty of Education. My research and teaching interests include: critical digital literacies, digital making, adolescent literacies and identity, writing and digital media, new literacies and conceptualizations of learning, and digital citizenship.

Digital literacies encompass all conceptions of engaging in meaning-making, mediated by texts that are read, received, interpreted, produced and distributed through digital means. I am particularly interested in how digital media enable users to teach, learn, connect, collaborate, communicate, critique, create and promote social change.

Click here to learn more about Janette and her accomplishments, or visit her personal website for more information.


Dr. Jennifer Laffier
Senior LecturerProfile picture_JLaffier

Jennifer is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Education at Ontario Tech University. She teaches and researches in the areas of child and adolescent mental health, technologies impact on human development, at-risk youth, students with special needs, safe schools and theories of motivation and learning. She has practiced in the field of mental health for 23 years as a therapist and consultant. She is passionate about the promotion of social justice, kindness and global citizenship.


Laura Morrison
Sessional Instructor & Remote Lab Manager

Laura Morrison is the Research Project Manager in Canada Research Chair, Dr. Janette Hughes’ STEAM3D Maker Lab, located within the Ontario Tech University Faculty of Education. She is also a sessional instructor at Ontario Tech University where she co-developed and teaches the online course, Learning in Digital Contexts. Laura completed her M.A. at Ontario Tech University (UOIT) with a focus on the impact of digital literacies in education. She will be defending her Education Doctorate (virtually) at the University of Calgary in July 2021. Her thesis focuses on promising practices for online pre-service teacher education. Her favourite ways to communicate are through poetry, narrative and image.


Stephanie Thompson
Academic Associate & Project Manager

Stephanie Thompson is currently on leave from the Durham District School Board enthusiastically fulfilling the roles of Academic Associate and CODE/MOE Project Manager in the Faculty of Education at Ontario Tech University. She completed her Master of Arts in Education and Digital Technologies at Ontario Tech in 2014.

Her research interests include digital literacies, digital storytelling and most recently, maker pedagogies.  She has been involved in several research projects exploring social justice topics, adolescent identities, bullying and the effects of media on young adults.


Zeynep Gecu-Parmaksiz
Postdoctoral Fellow

Zeynep is a postdoctoral fellow at Ontario Tech University in the Faculty of Education. She is originally from Istanbul, Turkey. Before coming to Ontario Tech University, Zeynep has worked as a researcher at Yildiz Technical University, Turkey, for six years, and worked in Texas A&M in the United States as a visiting scholar from June – December 2013. Zeynep completed her B.Sc. (Primary Mathematics Education) at Bogazici University, her M.Sc. (Computer and Instructional Technologies) at Marmara University, and her Ph.D. (Computer Education and Instructional Technology) at Middle East Technical University.

Her research interests include technology-enhanced learning, primary mathematics education, mobile learning, augmented reality, virtual reality, and spatial ability.


Jennifer Robb
Graduate Student, Research Assistant & On-Site Lab Manager

Jennifer graduated from the Concurrent Education program at Brock University in 2010, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Child and Youth Studies and a Bachelor of Education in Primary/Junior (K-6) Education. She began her graduate studies at Ontario Tech University in September 2017, where she is working towards a Master of Arts in Education and Digital Technologies under the supervision of Dr. Janette Hughes. Between classes and developing her graduate thesis, Jennifer works as a research assistant in the STEAM-3D Maker Lab.

Her interests include digital technologies, game-based learning, digital literacies, the maker movement, instructional design, digital and environmental citizenship, and empowering struggling learners.


Tess Butler-Ulrich
Graduate Student & Research Assistant

Tess graduated from the Bachelor of Education program at Ontario Tech University in December 2020 after receiving an undergraduate psychology degree from Nipissing University in 2017 where she spent time as a research assistant in a cognitive aging lab. As of January 2021, she began graduate studies at Ontario Tech University and is working towards a Master of Arts in Education under the supervision of Dr. Janette Hughes. Tess works as a research assistant in the STEAM-3D Maker Lab.

Her research and academic interests include digital literacies and citizenship, STEM/STEAM education, digital tools for activism and empowerment, and environmental education – especially the intersection between the environment and digital technologies.


Laura Dobos
Graduate Student & Research Assistant

Laura graduated from the University of Guelph in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science, with a major in Biological Sciences and a minor in Nutrition and Nutraceuticals. She continued on to complete the Bachelor of Education program at Ontario Tech University. She was in the Intermediate/Senior stream and loves human biology. Recently, Laura has been balancing supply teaching and working towards her Master of Arts in Education.

She takes an interest in the application of technology within human health fields and how to adapt that knowledge to apply it in the classroom to create rich learning experiences.


Margie Lam
Graduate Student & Research Assistant

After graduating from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Science with a major in Biochemistry, Margie worked for several years in technology as an I.T. process manager. She then changed careers and entered the consecutive Bachelor of Education program at Ontario Tech University, graduating in December 2017. Margie immediately continued her educational journey in the Masters of Education program at Ontario Tech University and joined Dr. Janette Hughes’ team as a Research Assistant.

Her passions include using augmented/virtual reality to explore science concepts, maker pedagogies as they pertain to mathematics, and how to leverage technology to enhance educational experiences for marginalized children and youth.


Melanie J Maas

Melanie brings a broad perspective, curious nature and a unique set of skills acquired through business, technology, education and research roles and experiences. While working in the technology industry, Melanie developed an extensive skillset through progressive sales, marketing, program development, partner/channel development, training, growth and strategy roles.

When the opportunity to expand upon these skills was presented, Melanie completed her Master of Education at Ontario Tech University exploring digital and immersive technology (Augmented, Virtual, eXtended Reality), educational theory in technology evaluation and application, educational STEAM Maker Labs, researching, presenting and publishing in peer-reviewed journals.

Melanie supports the lab through content writing, research, social media assistance and website administration.