Reader in Teacher Development and Pedagogical Innovation
Deputy Director of Research
+44 (0)1223 767657
BSc (Social Psychology, LSE), MA (Cantab), PhD (Psychology, UCL)
Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations
- American Educational Research Association.
- British Educational Research Association (Council Member).
- European Association for Research into Learning and Instruction.
- British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics.
- International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education.
Sara Hennessy is a Reader in Teacher Development and Pedagogical Innovation in the Faculty where she teaches and supervises on Masters and doctoral courses (mainly in research methods). Her research is executed in both UK and low income country contexts and has 3 main strands:
(a) Pedagogy related to educational uses of digital technology, from a sociocultural perspective.
(b) Analysing classroom dialogue, across subject areas and in contexts with and without technology.
(c) Teacher professional development, creating interactive multimedia resources to support it, and measuring the impact.
Sara is a founding member of the Cambridge Educational Dialogue Research (CEDiR) Group. CEDiR aims to reach across academic disciplines, subject areas, age groups and formal and informal educational contexts to develop the potential of dialogue and its impact on theory, policy and practice. She also belongs to the Faculty's STeM Academic group and has a particular interest in science and mathematics learning.
Sara is a member of the Faculty's Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) Centre. She collaborates with colleagues overseas on research using technology to foster interactive teaching and inquiry-based, collaborative learning in schools and in-service teacher education in sub-Saharan Africa – Zambia and South Africa in particular. She has also used digital video to document, analyse and develop UK teachers' strategies for mediating the use of technology to support subject teaching and learning. She previously held an ESRC Research Fellowship focused on teacher development through collaborative research between practitioners and academics.
Sara is Deputy Director of Research in the Faculty, and a Fellow of Hughes Hall (college).
Co-Editor, British Journal of Educational Technology.
Deputy Chair, BERA Academic Publications Committee.
Editorial Board, International Journal of Educational Research.
Editorial Board, International Journal of Science Education.
Editorial Board, Journal of Computer-Assisted Learning.
- Pedagogical strategies for using digital technologies in the classroom, including mobile devices and interactive display screens; recently focused on interactive whiteboards and their role in supporting classroom dialogue
- Analysis of classroom dialogue in whole class and peer group settings, across subjects and school phases, with and without technology use; one project developed the Cam-UNAM SEDA (Scheme for Educational Dialogue Analysis) and applies it to practice in Mexico and England. A version of this for teacher research and development (T-SEDA) is underway.
- An ongoing ESRC-funded project with Christine Howe & Neil Mercer investigates the link between dialogic whole class teaching at primary level and learning outcomes in core subjects, reasoning skills and attitudes to school.
- Practitioner-university researcher partnerships and collaborative theory building
- Supporting teachers' professional development in using technology in subject teaching and learning particularly in mathematics and science), including devising and trialling multimedia professional development resources for sub-Saharan Africa teachers and for UK teachers
- Supporting professional learning of teachers in sub-Saharan Africa and other developing contexts in the areas of interactive teaching and collaborative learning
- Digital Open Educational Resources (OERs) for supporting teaching and teacher education, including introducing digital Open Educational Resources into Zambian schools and an Open Resource Bank for Interactive Teaching in mathematics and science
- The digital divide, including use of mobile and alternative energy technologies in the developing world
- Supporting "blended learning" in Masters of Education courses
Prospective PhD Applications
Sara would welcome informal contact from prospective doctoral students on any of the research topics mentioned above. Unfortunately I cannot accept Masters students at present, for capacity reasons. (Please contact me by December of the calendar year before you wish to start your studies as by spring I may be oversubscribed.) There are also specific opportunities for students to be attached to ongoing research projects on interactive pedagogy with and without digital technology in sub-Saharan Africa and on dialogic teaching in UK schools or elsewhere. For example please see
Classroom dialogue: does it really make a difference to learning? (ESRC, 2015-2017. With Christine Howe & Neil Mercer.)
A Tool for Analysing Dialogic Interactions in Classrooms.
(British Academy, 2013-2015. With Sylvia Rojas-Drummond, Neil Mercer & Paul Warwick.)
OER4Schools: Introducing digital Open Educational Resources into Zambian primary schools through school-based professional development
(Commonwealth Education Trust, 2009-2014. With Bjoern Hassler.) Click here to access the OER4schools professional learning resource.
Using a CPD workshop programme to impact on the quality of classroom dialogue supported by the IWB
(ESRC Impact Acceleration, 2014. With Paul Warwick & Tatjana Dragovic.)
Bridging practice and research into teaching and learning with technology. (ESRC Research Fellowship RES-063-27-0081, 2007-2010)
This programme of work synthesised and disseminated the 'T-MEDIA' project and prior research. It aimed to consolidate and develop a distinctive line of empirical enquiry and theorising about the critical role of the secondary teacher in purposefully exploiting interactive whiteboards to support subject learning. The Fellowship activities included
- Writing a book to describe and evaluate the innovative methodology underlying the sustained practitioner-researcher collaboration and theory building in T-MEDIA;
- Assessing the subsequent impact of collaborative research on participating teachers' professional development and practice – through analysis of follow-up interviews;
- A series of pioneering pilot case studies trialling a whole class 'dialogic' interactive teaching approach which uses the whiteboard as a 'shared communication space' (with Prof. Neil Mercer and Paul Warwick);
- Organising an international conference (RITWIT) in June 2009 on cutting edge research into the use of interactive technologies in whole-class settings.
Open Resource Bank for Interactive Teaching in mathematics and science (ORBIT).
(JISC, 2012. With Bjoern Hassler)
Teacher mediation of subject learning with ICT: A multimedia approach (T-MEDIA).
(ESRC, 2005-2007. With Rosemary Deaney).
Eliciting situated expertise in ICT-integrated mathematics and science teaching (SET-IT).
(ESRC, 2002-2004. With Kenneth Ruthven and Rosemary Deaney).
Sustainability and Evolution of ICT-supported Classroom Practice.
(British Educational Communications and Technology Agency, 2003-2004. With Rosemary Deaney).
Developing warranted practice in using information and communication technologies to support subject teaching and learning in the secondary school.
(Wallenberg Research Centre for Educational Improvement, 1999-2002. With Kenneth Ruthven, Rosemary Deaney and Sue Brindley).
Portable Information Technologies for supporting Graphical Mathematics Investigations (PIGMI) project (Institute of Educational Technology, Open University, 1996-1999. With Eileen Scanlon and Pat Fung).
Problem Solving in Design and Technology Education (ESRC, 1992-1996, with Robert McCormick and Patricia Murphy).
Conceptual Change in Science (ESRC InTER project, 1989-1991, coordinated by Eileen Scanlon and Ros Driver).
An Intelligent Arithmetic Tutor (Alvey/SERC, 1986-1989, coordinated by Tim O'Shea and Ann Floyd).
Owing to her role as Deputy Director of Research, Sara's main teaching centres on PhD and EdD supervision. She has examined doctoral theses internally and externally. She also teaches a few sessions on the EdD, Masters in Educational Research, MPhil Research Methods Strand and MPhil in Education, Globalisation and International Development courses. Until recently Sara was overall coordinator of the Research Methods Strand of the Faculty's thematic MEd courses and taught on a blended learning Science MEd course.
Hennessy, S., Dragovic, T. and Warwick, P. (in press). A research-informed, school-based professional development workshop programme to promote dialogic teaching with interactive technologies. Professional Development in Education.
Hennessy, S., Rojas-Drummond, S., Higham, R., Torreblanca, O., Barrera, M.J., Marquez, A.M., García Carrión, R., Maine, F., Ríos, R.M. (2016). Developing an analytic coding scheme for classroom dialogue across educational contexts. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, 9, 16-44. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2210656115300507 (open access)
Haßler, B., Major, L., Warwick, P., Watson, S., Hennessy, S., Nicholl, B. (2016). Perspectives on Technology, Resources and Learning: Productive Classroom Practices, Effective Teacher Professional Development. Report commissioned by ARM. tiny.cc/perspectives.
Hennessy, S., Haßler, B., & Hofmann, R. (2015). Challenges and opportunities for teacher professional development in interactive use of technology in African schools. Technology, Pedagogy and Education 24(5). Invited paper for Special Section on “Capacity Building for 21st Century Learning in Africa: A Focus on ICT Integration in Education” edited by J. Tondeur & J. Voogt. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1475939X.2015.1092466
Haßler, B., Major, L., & Hennessy, S. (2015). Tablet use in schools: A critical review of the evidence for learning outcomes. Journal of Computer-Assisted Learning 32 (2), 139-156. DOI: 10.1111/jcal.12123
Hennessy, S., Haßler, B., & Hofmann, R. (2015). Pedagogic change by Zambian primary school teachers participating in the OERS4Schools professional development programme for one year. Research Papers in Education. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02671522.2015.1073343.
Hennessy, S. (2015). Interactive whiteboards in the science classroom. In D. Gunstone (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Science Education (Technology-Enhanced Learning section). New York: Springer.
Hennessy, S. (2014). Bridging between research and practice: Supporting professional development through collaborative studies of classroom teaching with interactive whiteboard technology. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. You can preview the first two chapters of the book or purchase it via this order form.
Hennessy, S., Warwick, P., Brown, L., Rawlins, D., & Neale, C. (Eds.). (2014) Developing interactive teaching and learning using the IWB: A resource for teachers. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. An outline of the contents is available here; see also the free online resources. To purchase the book, use this order form.
Hennessy, S. (2014). Using the interactive whiteboard to support dialogue in the whole class context. In N. Pachler & M. Leask (eds.), Learning to Teach Using ICT in the Secondary School. Routledge.
Haßler, B., Hennessy, S., Knight, S., Connolly, T. (2014). Developing an Open Resource Bank for Interactive Teaching of STEM: Perspectives of school teachers and teacher educators. Journal of Interactive Media in Education. Available at: http://jime.open.ac.uk/jime/article/view/2014-09.
Hennessy, S. & London, L. (2013). Learning from international experiences with interactive whiteboards: The role of professional development in technology integration of in classroom teaching. In Review of the Italian Strategy for Digital Schools (report for the Ministry of Education). Paris: OECD Publishing.
Mama, M. & Hennessy, S. (2013). Developing a typology of teacher beliefs and practices concerning classroom use of ICT. Computers & Education, 68 (October), pp. 380-387. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2013.05.022.
Hennessy, S., Haßler, B., and Mwewa, G. (2012). Using digital technology and school-based professional development to leverage interactive classroom teaching in Zambia. In J. MacBeath and M. Younger (Eds.), Millennium Goals Revisited: A Common Wealth of Learning. London: Routledge.
Hennessy, S. (2011). The role of digital artefacts on the interactive whiteboard in mediating dialogic teaching and learning. Journal of Computer-Assisted Learning, 27 (6), 463-586, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2729.2011.00416x.
Warwick, P., Hennessy, S. and Mercer, N. (2011). Promoting teaching and school development through co-enquiry: Developing interactive whiteboard use in a 'dialogic classroom'. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 17(3), 303-324.
Deaney, R. and Hennessy, S. (2011) "A case study of using multiple resources to teach straight line graphs." In A. Oldknow and C. Knights (Eds.), Enhancing Mathematics with Digital Technologies, Chapter 3: Key pedagogical issues in embedding ICT in teaching and learning mathematics. Continuum International.
Hennessy, S. and Warwick, P. (2010). Editorial: Research into teaching with whole-class interactive technologies. Technology, Pedagogy and Education (themed issue on interactive whole class technologies) 19(2), 127-131.
Mama, M. and Hennessy, S. (2010). Level of technology integration by primary teachers in Cyprus and student engagement. Technology, Pedagogy and Education (themed issue on interactive whole class technologies) 19(2), 269-275.
Mercer, N., Hennessy, S. and Warwick, P. (2010). Using interactive whiteboards to orchestrate classroom dialogue. Technology, Pedagogy and Education (themed issue on interactive whole class technologies) 19(2), 195-209.
Hennessy, S. and Deaney, R. with Tooley, C. (2010). "Using the interactive whiteboard to stimulate active learning in school science." In M. Thomas and E. Cutrim-Schmid (Eds.), Interactive Whiteboards: Theory, Research and Practice, 102-117. Hershey, PA: IGI-Global.
Hennessy, S., Harrison, D. and Wamakote, L. (2010). Teacher factors influencing classroom use of ICT in sub-Saharan Africa. Itupale Online Journal of African Studies (Education in Africa: Developments in the 21st century), (2) 39-54.
Hennessy, S. and Deaney, R. (2009). The impact of collaborative video analysis by practitioners and researchers upon pedagogical thinking and practice: A follow-up study.
Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 15 (5), 617-638.
Hennessy, S. and Deaney, R. (2009). 'Intermediate theory' building: Integrating multiple teacher and researcher perspectives through in-depth video analysis of pedagogic strategies. Teachers College Record, 111 (7), 1753-1795.
Bowker, A., Hennessy, S., Dawes, M., and Deaney, R. (2009). Supporting professional development for ICT use in mathematics using the T-MEDIA multimedia resource. In Joubert, M. (Ed.) Proceedings of the British Society for Research into Learning Mathematics, 29(1), 19-24.
Hennessy, S., Mercer, N., and Warwick, P. (2008). Exploiting interactive digital technology to enhance dialogic classroom interaction. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), New York.
Ruthven, K., Hennessy, S., and Deaney, R. (2008). Constructions of dynamic geometry: A study of the interpretative flexibility of educational software in classroom practice. Computers and Education, 51 (1), 297-317.
Dunham, P. and Hennessy, S. (2008). "Equity and use of educational technology in mathematics."
In K. Heid and G. Blume (eds.), Research on Technology in the Learning and Teaching of Mathematics: Syntheses and Perspectives. Information Age Publishing, Charlotte, NC.
Hennessy, S., Deaney, R., Dawes, M. and Bowker, A. (March 2008). Supporting professional development for ICT use in the secondary classroom using a multimedia resource: A Report to NCETM. Downloads available
Hennessy, S., Deaney, R. (Sept. 2007). Teacher mediation of subject learning with technology: A multimedia approach. Final Report to ESRC. Downloads available
Hennessy, S., Deaney, R., Ruthven, K. and Winterbottom, M. (2007). Pedagogical strategies for using the interactive whiteboard to foster learner participation in school science. Learning Media and Technology, 32 (3), 283-301.
Deaney, R. and Hennessy, S. (2007). Sustainability, Evolution and Dissemination of ICT-supported Classroom Practice. Research Papers in Education, 22 (1), 65-94.
Hennessy, S., Wishart, J., Whitelock, D., Deaney, R., Brawn, R., la Velle, L., McFarlane, A., Ruthven, K. and Winterbottom, M.
Pedagogical approaches for technology-integrated science teaching. Computers and Education, 2007, 48 (1), 137-152.
Hennessy, S. (2006).
Integrating technology into teaching and learning of school science: a situated perspective on pedagogical issues in research. Studies in Science Education, 42, 1-50.
Hennessy, S., Deaney, R. and Ruthven, K. (2006).
Situated expertise in integrating use of multimedia simulation into secondary science teaching.
International Journal of Science Education, 28 (7), 701-732.
Deaney, R., Ruthven, K. and Hennessy, S. (2006).
Teachers' developing 'practical theories' of the contribution of information and communication technologies to subject teaching and learning: an analysis of cases from English secondary schools.
British Educational Research Journal, 32 (3), 459-480.
Deaney, R., Hennessy, S. and Ruthven, K.
Teachers' strategies for making effective use of data logging in secondary science lessons.
School Science Review, 2006, 88 (323) 103-110.
Hennessy, S., Deaney, R. and Ruthven, K. (2005).
Emerging teacher strategies for mediating 'Technology-integrated Instructional Conversations': a socio-cultural perspective. Curriculum Journal, 16 (3), 265-292, doi: 10.1080/09585170500256487 (Available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09585170500256487)
Hennessy, S., Ruthven, K. and Brindley, S. (2005).
Teacher perspectives on integrating ICT into subject teaching: commitment, constraints, caution and change.
Journal of Curriculum Studies, 37 (2), 155-192, doi: 10.1080/0022027032000276961
Ruthven, K., Hennessy, S. and Deaney, R. (2005).
Incorporating Internet resources into classroom practice: pedagogical perspectives and strategies of secondary-school subject teachers. Computers and Education, 44 (1), pp. 1-34, doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2003.11.001
Ruthven, K., Hennessy, S. and Brindley, S. (2004).
Teacher representations of the successful use of computer-based tools and resources in teaching and learning secondary English, Mathematics and Science. Teaching and Teacher Education, 20 (3), 259-275.
Deaney, R., Ruthven, K. and Hennessy, S. (2003).
Pupil perspectives on the contribution of ICT to teaching and learning in the secondary school. Research Papers in Education. 18 (2), 141-165.
Ruthven, K. and Hennessy, S. (2002).
A practitioner model of the successful use of computer-based tools and resources to support mathematics teaching and learning: An exploratory study through departmental interviews in English secondary schools. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 49, 47-88.
Hennessy, S., Fung, P. and Scanlon, P. (2001).
The role of the graphic calculator in mediating graphing activity. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 2001, 32 (2), 267-290.
Hennessy, S. (2000).
Graphing investigations using portable (palmtop) technology. Journal of Computer-Assisted Learning, 16 (3), 243-258.
Murphy, P. and Hennessy, S. (2001).
Realising the potential - and lost opportunities - for peer collaboration in a DandT setting. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 11, 203-237.
Hennessy, S. and Murphy, P. (1999).
The potential for collaborative problem solving in Design and Technology. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 9 (1), 1-36.
Hennessy, S. (1999).
The potential of portable technologies for supporting graphing investigations. British Journal of Educational Technology, 30 (1), 57-60. Download full version (67 pages)
Fung, P., O'Shea, T. and Hennessy, S. (1998).
Pocketbook Computing: a paradigm shift? Computers in the Schools, 14 (3/4), 109-118.
Hennessy, S. Twigger, D., Driver, R., O'Malley, C.E., Byard, M. Draper, S. Hartley, R., Mohamed, R., O'Shea, T. and Scanlon, E. (1995). Design of a computer-augmented curriculum for mechanics. International Journal of Science Education, 17 (1), 75-92.
Hennessy, S., Twigger, D., Byard, M., Driver, R., Draper, S., Hartley, R., et al. (1995). A classroom intervention using a computer-augmented curriculum for mechanics. International Journal of Science Education, 17 (2), 189-206.
Hennessy, S. et al. (1995).
A classroom intervention using a computer-augmented curriculum for mechanics. International Journal of Science Education, 17 (2), 189-206.
Hennessy, S. and O'Shea, T. (1993).
Learner perceptions of realism and 'magic' in computer simulation. British Journal of Educational Technology, 24 (2), 125-138.
Hennessy, S. (1993).
The stability of children's mathematical behaviour: when is a bug really a bug? Learning and Instruction, 3, 315-338.
Hennessy, S. (1993).
Situated cognition and cognitive apprenticeship: implications for classroom learning. Studies in Science Education, 22, 1-41.
Hennessy, S., McCormick, R. and Murphy, P. (1993).
The myth of general problem-solving capability: design and technology as an example. Curriculum Journal, 4 (1), 74-89.