Adolescent Literacy and English Language Arts


Associate Professor, Faculty of Education (Home)

Director, Interdisciplinary Centre for Research in Curriculum as a Social Practice.

Chair, Curriculum Studies and Studies in Applied Linguistics , Faculty of Education, Western University.

Coordinator, Curriculum and Pedagogy , Faculty of Education, Graduate Program.

Coordinator, Multiliteracies , Faculty of Education, Preservice Program.

Centre Researcher, Centre for Education Research & Innovation (CERI) 2010-present

Cross Appointment: Department of Medical Imaging

Affiliate Appointments:
Department of Women’s Studies and Feminist Research, Faculty of Arts and Humanities and Faculty of Social Science
Health Professions Education, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Graduate Program, Faculty of Health Sciences

Research Associate: Professional Practice, Education and Learning (ProPEL) Stirling University, Stirling, UK.

Research Fellow, Centre for Education Research & Innovation (CERI) 2011-2012

Core Member, Interdisciplinary Network for Scholarship in Professions' Research in Education (INSPiRE)

Research Interests
My research generally focuses on the question, How do our abilities to read 'texts' and to use and understand multimedia/other technologies shape our ability to communicate and learn?
Following 18 years in professional practice, I became curious about the policies, decisions and practices surrounding learning environments that stimulate and engage educators' intellectual curiosity. I am keenly interested in what we, as educators, can achieve in participatory encounters across disciplinary sectors and with our learners.

My work often adopts a sociocultural approach to literacy that first ask 'What is the nature of literacy in this setting' and then critical and feminist approaches that help us to see and understand whose interests are served, what assumptions are at play and the consequences involved. I have been particularly interested in using critical narrative inquiry methodologies along with socio-material constructs to understand the actions produced within a particular setting as people engage in their environments.

Selected Research Projects

A few of the projects I have recently been working on are,

  • leading a 'cloud based' mulitliteracies project investigating opportunities to leverage technology to both tailor curricula to the user and also engage users in knowledge production and new processes to 'assess' literacy (Co-Applicants: Dr. Bill Cope, Dr. Mary Kalantzis Dr. Sharon Rich, Dr. Jennifer Rowsell; Collaborators: Drs. Luigi Iannacci, Robyn Henderson, Brad Melhenbacher, Sothy Khieng );

  • conducted a narrative analysis of the experiences of the first medical responders to the Fukushima nuclear accident; developing a curricular response and working with the responders at Fukushima Medical University to integrate the lessons learned into a reconceptualized 'Science Technology Society' curriculum;
  • collaborated with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Division of Human Health (NAHU) to investigate the impact of e-learning and m-learning programs we have developed for member states, funded by the IAEA;
  • investigating how knowledges circulate (patient, family, professional and 'non-human') in a busy clinical setting (Dr. Mark Goldzmidt, Dr. Sandy deLuca, Dr. Noreen Houda, Dr. Lisa Faden and Dr. Tara Fenwick);
  • leading a project investigating Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Supervision, funded by an Education Cluster Grant with collaborators Dr. Lorelei Lingard, Dr. Meredith Vanstone, Dr. Anne Kinsella, Dr. Pam McKenzie & Dr. Tim Wilson;
  • Participating on a team of researchers taking an arts-based approach to understanding surgeon's experiences of difficult surgeries (PI Dr. Sayra Christancho)
  • conducted a narrative analysis of experiences and decisions of cancer patients in Cambodia (Dr. Soveacha Ros, Dr. Rethy Chhem);
  • collaborated with Dr. Roz Stooke (PI) on a Graduate Student Writing research project, funded by the Faculty of Education and the Teaching and Learning Support Centre;
  • led an investigation of scholarship in medical education across Canada with the support of an Academic Development New Research and Scholarly Initiative Award: Major Grant;
  • led an investigation into research methodologies that may better capture multiliteracies through web-based social interaction networks (funded by SSHRC);
  • participating in School Based Mental Health projects to (PI: Susan Rodger, Collaborators, Allan Leschied);
  • participated in RURAL EDUCATION AND LITERACIES (REAL) RESEARCH NETWORK (PI Mike Corbett, Acadia & B. Green, Charles Sturt;).

Past Experiences
Acting Associate Director, Centre for Education Research & Innovation (CERI) 2012-2013
Director of Continuing Teacher Education, Faculty of Education, University of Western Ontario.
Director, Centre of Education in Medical Imaging, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Western Ontario.

In addition to my teaching and research, I have worked with students, instructors and faculty in the fields of education, medicine, health sciences, policing and construction technology to develop pedagogical expertise in both the on-site and virtual environments.

21st-century literacies: research and development of a "cloud curriculum"

I am so excited to announce that we were the successful recipients of a Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Partnership Development Grant to pursue this project over the next three years.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Kathryn Hibbert
Co-Investigators: Dr. William Cope (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign); Dr. Mary Kalantzis, (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign); Dr. Sharon Rich (Nipissing University) and Dr. Jennifer Rowsell (Brock University).

Collaborators: Dr. Jacqueline Specht (Western); Dr. Luigi Iannacci (Trent University); Dr. Rethy Chhem (CDRI, Cambodia); Dr. Robyn Henderson (University of South Queensland), Dr. Robert Martellaci (C21, MindShare), Ms Dianna Dinevski (Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning); Ms. Kim Black (Ontario Ministry of Education)

QWILL Media and Education Inc., (Ms. Lois Burdett and Mr. Andrew Lester)
Brock University, Hamilton Public Library, Nipissing University and Western

Support during the application provided by:
Research Assistant Elisabeth Davies, The Faculty of Education Research Office, (Karen Kueneman), Research Western, (Natalie Szudy). Thanks for your months of meetings and readings.

Overview of the Study:
Industry Canada claims that “talented, skilled, creative people are the most critical element of a successful national economy over the long term”[1] and calls for public-private collaboration to mobilize effective innovation that can make a difference in people’s lives. Advances in technologies and new media are revolutionizing the potential ways educators and students are able to participate in education. However educational institutions are not ‘complex adaptive systems’ (Eidelson, 1997). Recent studies suggest that “less than half of Canadian students… only 37% … are deeply engaged in their study of school subjects” (Willms, Friesen & Milton, 2009, p. 17). The ability to respond and change is critical as we enter an unprecedented participatory culture (Rich, 2010) and schools in particular, “cannot afford to ignore the trajectories of change” (Cope & Kalantzis, 2009, p. 174). According to the Canadian Education Association, “We are at a moment when the tension that exists between the obstacles standing in the way of change, and the well-articulated visions for the future of Canadian education is at an all-time high” (2014, p. 12). Now is the time to take up the challenge in a way that engages a complex set of partners in new ways to create schools that are “energetic and accessible places for deep learning”(CEA, 2014, p. 12).

In 2009, the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) was established in the United States to “serve as a catalyst to position 21st-century readiness at the centre of US Kindergarten to Grade12 (K12) education by building collaborative partnerships among education, business, community and government leaders.”[2] The framework that emerged articulated the desired 21st century student outcomes and the interconnected learning support systems necessary to produce results. In 2012, Canada followed with its own initiative, Canadians for 21st Century Learning and Innovation to lay a foundation for action. They ask,

What if we could create a learning model that naturally and authentically improves student achievement …and provides our youth with modern competencies and life skills needed to succeed in a future we can only imagine? What if we could offer learning experiences to our youth that ignites their creativity and engages them in their own learning? What if we could harness the digital tools of today’s world to provide higher quality learning experiences and opportunities for our children, in a more cost effective and efficient manner? And what if we could create a learning model that positions our youth for success in a global environment, while imparting within them the traditions and values we Canadians take pride in? (2012, p. 3)

This proposed project takes that call to action seriously. A preliminary public-private partnership led to the development of fluid and dynamic ‘cloud curriculum’ that seeks to actualize this ambitious agenda and serve as a ‘digital sandbox’ to help an expanded collaborative partnership learn together about what is possible in education and generate new models for curriculum. Achieving this goal requires engagement with interdisciplinary and cross-sector partners to first refine and improve curricular design and capacity and later to mobilize and evaluate the research knowledge. What we learn in this project can be adapted to curriculum design, policy development and assessment practices nationally and internationally.

Building on the preliminary partnership between Western University and QWILL Media and Education Inc., this proposal outlines the creation of a Canadian-led, international network of researchers, educators, public not-for profit and private partners interested in accelerating the research and actualization of visions of a 21st-century education. Activities include specific research and development projects on the prototype ‘cloud curriculum’ to co-create knowledge and design and the development and growth of an international network to situate the project in the global network, and to share and mobilize the learning. Research Projects: 1) An analysis of the current design in relation to P21 and C21 visions and “Learning By Design” (Cope & Kalantzis, 2010; forthcoming); 2) piloting with educators in both school and community settings in international contexts; 3) research and development of multimodal forms of “pedagogical documentation” and assessment practices (GELP, 2014); 4) creation of a flexible design and response cycle to guide the prioritization of development; 5) working with policy makers to ensure appropriate and supportive policies are in place. Network Development: A Canadian-led international network will be established to engage researchers, policy makers, legislators, educators, community members, parents and students interested in working through these ideas in the context of a relevant, robust and flexible curriculum project.

Negotiating Literacy Learning: Multimodality and Governmentality

Available July 16, 2015!

ImageHamilton, M., Heydon, R., Hibbert, K. & Stooke, R. (Eds). (2015). Negotiating spaces for literacy: Multimodality and governmentality. London, UK: Bloomsbury.

This volume addresses two strong currents that are sweeping through the contemporary educational field. The first is the opening up of possibilities for multimodal communication as a result of developments in digital technologies and the sensitivity to multiliteracies. The second is the increasing “governing” of their teaching and the imposition of inappropriate testing regimes, with the resulting narrowing of opportunities for diverse expressions of literacy; curricular and pedagogical practices are being pulled out of alignment with the everyday informal practices and the interests of teachers and learners within education.

Bringing together an international team of scholars to examine the tensions and struggles that result from the current educational climate, the book provides a much-needed discussion of the intersection of technologies of literacies, education and self. It does so through diverse approaches, including philosophical, theoretical and methodological treatments of multimodality and governmentality, and a range of literacies - early years, primary, workplace, digital, middle, secondary school, indigenous, adult and place. With a range of examples throughout education and in different parts of the world, the book allows readers to explore a range of multimodal practices and the ways in which governmentality plays out across domains. - See more at:


“Deeply political and richly illustrated across different populations and varied settings, Negotiating Spaces for Literacy Learning is an engaging collection that features cutting-edge research by international scholars. By pushing and expanding fields in literacy studies like multimodality, the editors and chapter authors couple multimodal theory with theoretical frameworks like actor network theory to complicate the contemporary field of literacy education. Read this edited book and you will appreciate how much the field of multimodality and multiliteracies has moved on.” – Jennifer Rowsell, Canada Research Chair, Brock University, Canada

“In Negotiating Spaces for Literacy Learning an all-star cast discusses the tensions between liberation and control in the digital age. This is the deepest discussion of multimodality and multiliteracies to date.” – James Paul Gee, Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies and Regents' Professor, Arizona State University, USA

The Salty Chip: A Canadian Multiliteracies' Collaborative

This 'Multiliteracies' Collaborative has been developed in response to working with teachers and students as co-researchers over a number of years, at a time when our understanding of literacy has broadened to include 'texts' that go beyond the dominant print literacy to viewing literacies as plural, complex, social and cultural practices. In this multiliteracies' collaborative, we are interested in collectively sharing and better understanding how teachers and students create meaning in the context of using multiliteracies' activities in pursuit of learning. In many ways it is a learning ecosystem; its growth is dependent upon the community that engage with it.

The Salty Chip is a space for teachers and students to share and build upon their work as they develop their use of multiliteracies. It seeks to capture cultural and linguistic diversity and to make use of new and emerging communication technologies that consider pedagogy in a participatory culture. Students and teachers produce and exchange multimodal uses of text at home or at school (sound, text, images, video or combinations). Tags and categories allow users to design, upload, download, modify, and redesign their multiliteracy 'activities-in-use'. The community 'upvotes' the best, supporting ongoing improvement and refinement of our knowledge and use of multiliteracies and their possibilities.

Follow our activities on Twitter: @Salty_Chip
or on our blog:

The Salty Chip

Check it out!
I gratefully acknowledge the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Image Text Sound and Technology (SSHRC ITST) award, and the Faculty of Education, University of Western Ontario for funding this project.
Principal Investigator: Dr. K. Hibbert, University of Western Ontario
Collaborators: Dr. M. Katchebaw, University of Western Ontario
Dr. Jennifer Jenson, York University

I also wish to thank the creative students, teachers, faculty and tech teams I have had the privilege of working with over many years. Together, we have learned new ways of making meaning.

ATM Confessions: Curriculum project aimed to support financial literacy learning

Frustrated and dissatisfied with the haphazard and unfocused curriculum development in the financial literacy field, we asked, ‘in what ways are our youth engaging in learning outside of school, and how might we tap into that momentum?’ The resource that emerged, ATM Confessions: A Financial Literacy Library, sprang organically from the interactions, discussions, and debates of a research and development partnership between The Investor Education Fund (IEF) the Faculty of Education at The University of Western Ontario (UWO) over a five-year period. Positioning students and teachers as collaborators at the center of the research and development process allowed us to get to the heart of what would engage the populations we were seeking to help. The resulting curriculum project is a culmination of numerous digital learning objects which we developed and leveraged within a social networking system designed around the metaphor of an ATM machine. Access to the resources is available to anyone, with special supports built in for teachers who register and make use of the materials with their classrooms. You can access the ATM Financial Literacy Library at:

ATM Confessions: A Financial Literacy Library
You can review the full story of this curriculum project in Education Canada's
special themed issue: Innovation: Challenging the Status Quo published in November 2009, 'Online ATM Helps Youth Smarten Up About Spending'.

Principal Investigator: Kathy Hibbert

Thank you to the extraordinary efforts of our team over the years:

Curriculum and Learning Object Development: Liz Coulson, PhD
Flash Development: Mary Lynne Snedden, HiLight Design
IT Management, Colin Couchman, Graham Newbigging
Faculty: Sharon Rich, PhD, George Gadanidis, PhD.
Staff Support: Barron Mertens, John Routledge, Ruth Heard, Daryn Bee
Research Assistants: Courtney Riley, Eben Schaeffer, CJ Callaghan

and our partners at the Investor Education Fund, in particular
Chris Allum, Investor Education Specialist
Tom Hamza, President, Investor Education Fund

Shackleton's Expedition, 100 Years Later

Descendants of Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton and his courageous team are currently retracing the 1908 'Nimrod' Expedition that saw Shackleton's group come to within 97 m of the South Pole. The group is intent upon finishing the job that their ancestors began, while raising funds for the foundation in Shackleton's name and celebrating the team's achievements.

Shackleton is widely recognized as one of the most inspirational leaders of all time. The Shackleton Foundation has been established in his name with a mission "to support individuals of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds who exemplify the spirit of Sir Ernest Shackleton: inspirational leaders wishing to "make a difference", in particular to the less advantaged". For more information, see

You can follow the groups' movements at

The Shackleton family motto is Fortitudine Vincimus, 'By endurance we conquer'.

Kathy (Shackleton) Hibbert

Engaging Reflection in Health Professional Education and Practice

Under the leadership of Dr. Anne Kinsella, our group has sought $20,000 Aid to Research workshops and conferences (supplemental list). This inaugural interdisciplinary conference calls together scholars interested in advancing knowledge and scholarship about the place of "reflection" in health professional education and practice. Those who work in the field perceive a widespread need for a scholarly community that brings interdisciplinary groups together to exchange knowledge and to think together about pressing issues and key questions for advancing the field. This conference is a first step in that direction.

Please view the website for this conference at:

Collaborators on this SSHRC application are Bartlett, D. Bryant, L. Deluca, S. Ferguson, K. Goldszmidt, M., Hibbert, K. Hinds, J.,Hobson, S.,Jenkins, K., Kirkwood, K., Leipert, B., Lucy, D., Magalhaes, L., Ng, S., Orchard, C., Pitman, A., Vanstone, M., Wedlake, M.

Interdisciplinary Initiative, University of Western Ontario

Under the leadership of Dr. Anne Kinsella and Dr. Allan Pitman, our group of interdisciplinary scholars was awarded $91,400 to establish a Network for the Interdisciplinary Scholarship of Professional Education.

The aim of this interdisciplinary initiative is to foster an intellectual community and interdisciplinary network for the scholarship of professional education. The initiative adds value by creating opportunities for researchers and graduate students across fields to interact and exchange knowledge. The project aims to: (a) break down silos by creating opportunities to interact across disciplines, (b) identify scholars and graduate students in the field through the development of a virtual network and community of practice, and (c) build capacity for researchers and graduate students to advance knowledge and contribute to the scholarship of professional education.

A partnership between the Faculties of Education, the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and The Faculty of Health Sciences is proposed, with the potential involvement of other faculties over time. This proposal complements the work of various groups at Western, such as the Continuing Teacher Education Program, the Office of Interprofessional Health Education and Research, The Group for the Advancement and Advocacy of Medical and Dental Education Scholarship, The Centre for Education in Diagnostic, Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, The Clinical Education Advisory Group, and graduate programs in The Faculty of Education and n Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (Health Professional Education Field) among others.

Collaborators on this project are MacMillan, B., Chhem, R., Hibbert, K., Goldszmidt, M., Orchard, C., Wamsley, K., Nisker, J., Bartlett, D., DeLuca, S., Kirkwood, K., Van Deven, T.

Academic Development Fund: New Research and Scholarly Initiative Major Grant

On May 1, 2008 I was awarded an Academic Development Fund: New Research and Scholarly Initiative Major Grant to allow the work completed in the Centre for Education, Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry to be expanded across Canada.

Imaging research is increasingly integral to health care, drug discovery, cell biology and other life sciences. The demand for imaging services has increased exponentially - a trend that promises to continue. These pressures require innovative responses within the education and training of imaging professionals of the future. Recognizing the growing need to do things differently, a partnership was formed at Western between the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry’s Department of Medical Imaging, and the Faculty of Education. The ‘Centre for Education in Medical Imaging' was charged with the mandate to strengthen curriculum design and implementation, support and guide the art of teaching, and advance educational scholarship in medical imaging education. Over the past year, a pilot research project yielded an in-depth needs assessment of the department and investigated the ways in which scholarship is currently institutionalized. This grant has allowed us to continue that research across Canada.

Dr. Kathy Hibbert
Dr. Rethy Chhem and Dr. Teresa Van Deven

Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Image, Text, Sound & Technology (ITST)

In the Spring of 2008, I was awarded a SSHRC ITST grant for the project,
Money matters: Advancing adolescent financial literacy on their terms. The funding will allow us to build upon work I have been doing for the past four years with the non-profit group, the Investor Education Fund, aimed at improving students' access to engaging financial literacy.
Principal Investigator: Dr. Kathy Hibbert
Collaborators: Dr. Mike Katchabaw, UWO
Dr. Jennifer Jenson, York University
I would like to gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Liz Coulson, PhD Candidate, UWO, who has worked diligently as a Research Assistant with me in this area for a number of years.

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