Dr Parven Akhter

Honorary Fellow

Faculty of Health, Medicine and Social Care
Humanities and Social Sciences
Areas of Expertise:
Education and teaching
Research Supervision:

Parven is a researcher and teacher in the field of professional practice in education and early childhood education. Her specialist areas of work are the observation of children’s digital literacy practices, early childhood language and culture, and learning relationships between home and school in multilingual settings.

[email protected]


Parven has worked in the field of educational studies and technology-enhanced learning in early childhood throughout her career as a researcher and community development practitioner, developing a nursery provision and a community educational project in her local area. These different areas of work experience have contributed to the understanding of children’s use of digital technologies in the context of literacy and language learning in the home and its connection with school settings.

Parven joined Anglia Ruskin University in 2015 and is currently an honorary fellow in the Department of Education. She enjoys researching and teaching linked to childhood literacy and language pedagogy, especially children’s intergenerational learning through digital technologies. This also includes the critical evaluation of research methodologies on diverse areas of educational studies.

Research interests

  • Professional practice in education
  • Children’s intergenerational learning through digital technologies
  • Early childhood literacy, language and culture
  • Children screen-based multimodal interaction
  • Learning theory
  • Bilingualism and multilingualism

Parven’s research interests in education are: researching with children and families in the context of their digital literacy practices and learning theory; early childhood literacy, language and culture and learning relationship between home and school in multilingual settings. She uses qualitative and quantitative research methods together with ethnographic methodology for data collection and for analysing video based data using the concept of multimodal interaction.

Areas of research supervision

Parven would be pleased to consider supervising doctoral students with the following research topics:
  • Qualitative enquiries in education
  • Early childhood literacy, language and culture
  • Early childhood education for technology enhanced learning
  • Bilingualism and multilingualism in early childhood education
Current second supervision
Promoting Fine Motor Skills Using Digital Technology in the Early Years in Lebanon and England


Parven contributes her expertise to the MA Education and BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies programmes, when required, and is also involved in doctoral supervision.


  • PhD Education, The University of Sheffield
  • MEd and Master in Educational research, The University of Sheffield
  • MA and Master of Arts in working with communities, identities and regeneration, The University of Sheffield
  • Master of Science in Psychology, The University of Dhaka
  • Diploma in Chartered Management, Accredited by British Chartered Management Institute

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Graduate Member of British Psychology Society under the division of Education and Child Psychology
  • Member of BALL (British Association of Applied Linguistics)

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • Grant Awarded in 2009: ESRC scholarship for Doctoral research (principal investigator)

Parven’s PhD research was working with children to examine the diverse ways they engage and interact with digital technology in the home setting. The study revealed that children are learning literacy and language in home environments through their use of digital technology, and heritage culture was an influential element in children’s literacy and language learning within the family. This has implications for early years education policy with potential benefits for children, their families and for schools.

The study also explored how practices at home connect with school education with reference to digital technology, and the ways in which multimodal communicative practices contribute to children’s literacy and language development.

She used an ethnographic methodology (including participant observation) and video-recording in the home to provide insight into children’s digital literacy practices. The process of data analysis was mainly thematic; for analysing video based data she used the concept of multimodal interaction.

  • Grant Awarded in 2015: EU Erasmus Mundus Grant for Postdoctoral research (Overseas research on early childhood digital literacy practices in a specific Maldivian cultural and educational context)
  • Research Enterprise Innovative Fund, The University of Sheffield, 2012 (Co-investigator). A Collaborative Ethnography as a model for public engagement and knowledge exchange.
  • Heritage Lottery Fund, Songs-Story project, BWSG, Sheffield, Community development project, 2014: Explored cultural heritage through collecting songs to create an oral history book

Selected recent publications

Akhter. P. (2016), A Young Child’s Intergenerational Practices through the use of visual screen-based multimodal communication to acquire Qur’anic literacy, Language and Education , pp 1-19: published on Taylor & Francis Online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09500782.2016.1141935.

Wagley, A; Akhter. P; Bhuiyan, M; Dahal, K and Hossain, A. (2014), Web Mining to Generate Multimodal Learning Materials for Children with Special Needs, Published in IEEE Xplore, link: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/abstractKeywords.jsp?arnumber=7083515.

Bhuiyan, M; Akhter. P; M. A. Hossain and Li Zhang (2013), MumIES (Multimodal Interface based Education and Support) System for the Children with Special Needs, Published in the proceeding of the International Conference on Software, Knowledge Information, Industrial Management and Applications (SKIMA 2013), Thailand.

Akhter. P. (2012), Videoing Chappati making as home digital literacy practice in Pahl K and Rowsell J (Editors) Literacy and Education, 2nd Edition, SAGE Publication, pp 123-126.

Akhter. P. (2011), An Extensive Review on Children’s Learning Process through their use of Digital Technology at Home, IEEE conference on Software, Knowledge Information, Industrial Management and Applications (SKIMA 2011), pp. 1-7. DOI: 10.1109/SKIMA.2011.6163197, IEEE Xplore digital library.

Recent presentations and conferences

Akhter, P. (2012) Video based Research on Digital Multimodality and its Impact in Children's Education, 6th International Conference on Multimodality, Institute of Education, University of London, 22 Aug 2012 - 24 Aug 2012 (Abstract published and Presented).

Akhter, P. (2012) Video based ethnographic study on children’s multimodal learning and digital practices in the home settings, The Centre for the study of New Literacies Conference (Challenging the Binaries), Department of Educational Studies, School of Education, University of Sheffield, P.7 (Abstract published and Presented).

Akhter, P. (2010), Where is the Pen? International Conference on Identity and Digital Texts: Sites of Possibilities, The Centre for the study of New Literacies Conference, Department of Educational Studies, School of Education, University of Sheffield, P.2 (Abstract published and Presented).