Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Education

Contact Details

Dr Carlo Perrotta

University Academic Fellow

I am University Academic Fellow in digital learning. Before joining the University of Leeds I was a Research Associate at the Institute of Education in London and a researcher at Futurelab, a non-for-profit research organisation that explored the potential of digital technology in formal education. My background is in social psychology and I hold a PhD from the University of Bath. My doctoral research focused on the relationship between identity and learning in online communities.

Research Interests

I am interested in educational technology and my background is in social psychology, sociology and cultural theory. I have published about a variety of topics including teacher beliefs, the datafication of education and the use of video games in schools. I am also interested in recent  trends in "massively open" education, mostly from a sociological and material-semiotic perspective.

Current research projects

Digital Making across the Curriculum (2015-2016) – PI

This project is funded by the Society for Educational Studies (SES) and it focuses on the micro-political and sociocultural changes that occur when ‘making’ practices (hacking, coding, fabrication, etc.) are brought into formal school contexts. The project involves observations and interviews in two schools in Leeds.  

Gaming Horizons (www.gaminghorizons.eu), (2016-2018) – PI

This project is funded by the European Commission as part of the H2020 Programme. The research is based on a partnership with NHTV Breda in the Netherlands and the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR) in Italy, and it aims to explore ‘alternative’ ways in which gaming can be used to for positive and socially progressive ends. The project tries to build on recent debates about the representation of gender, race and culture in mainstream gaming, and it considers the implications for other areas where games or ‘gamification’ are being used - including, of course, learning.  

Unbundling education: Mapping the changing nature of Higher Education in South Africa (www.unbundleduni.com) (2016-2019) – Co-I

This project is jointly funded by the ESRC, the UK Newton Fund and the South African National Research Foundation (NRF). The aim is to develop a rich descriptive picture or 'map' of the HE landscape in South Africa and the UK, in the context of an increasingly globalised and networked higher education sector. Our partner in South Africa is the University of Cape Town.  In particular, the project will examine the so-called 'unbundling' of educational provision through digital technology, exploring decision making processes, marketisation dynamics (e.g. business models, alternative provision and involvement of private providers), changing roles and relationships and the implications for a range of stakeholders (students, academic staff and employers).   

 Other research-related activities

  • I am involved in the Centre for Digital Learning at the University of Leeds, developing research and scholarship at the intersection of educational technology studies and the social sciences.
  • I am one of the coordinators of the Critical Data Studies group at the University of Leeds. The CDS is an interdisciplinary group of researchers interested in the implications of ‘datafication’ in various social spheres: education, public policy, political participation, health, and so forth. We meet periodically in the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA). Events and workshops include monthly seminars to discuss issues relating to critical data studies in each of our fields of study, workshops on how to extract, analyse and interpret data from online platforms and other websites and conferences to present current issues relating to critical data studies.
  • I am one of the editors of Research in Learning Technology, the Open Access journal of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT), the UK's leading membership organisation in the learning technology field.





I am involved in teaching the following modules in the Masters in Technology, Education and Learning (campus-based and Distance Learning) in the School of Education:

EDUC5263M: Digital Learning in Practice 

EDUC5257M: Learning with Digital Technologies 

EDUC5259M: Technology, Education and Society 



PhD Supervision

I am very interested in supervising students in the following areas:

  • The study of MOOCs from a sociological, semiotic and cultural perspective
  • Critical approaches to data analytics in education
  • Digital media and learning
  • Technology adoption in formal education settings (especially critical and sociological perspectives)
  • Innovation processes in education
  • The critical study of video-games in education

Even if your topic is not a perfect fit with the above themes, I would still like to hear from you, as long as you are interested in theory-informed, social-scientific research in educational technology. 

Key Publications

Journal Articles


  • Perrotta C, Featherstone G, Aston H, Houghton E, Game-based learning: latest evidence and future directions, ([n.pub.], [n.d.])

Media Contact Areas

  • Innovation in schools and HE
  • Digital technologies and young people

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