School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

Staff Profiles

Dr James Stanfield



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James is a Lecturer in Education and his research interests include:

  • understanding the impact of the Internet on education, teaching and learning more generally; 
  • understanding the extent to which you can design learning environments which enable groups of children to self organise and teach themselves;
  • understanding the relevance of complexity theory across the sector as a whole;  
  • understanding the relevance of the Principles for Digital Development to help deliver the Sustainable Development Goals in education.

His current research is looking into the impact on student voice of introducing Self Organised Learning Environments (SOLE) in schools and daycare centres in Moldova, Ukraine and Romania.

James is the Module Leader for ‘EDU8213 - The Future of Learning’ and EDU8228 'Investigating Technology Enhanced Learning' and is the pathway leader for the MA Education: International Perspectives (Technology in Education). 

James was Chair of the University Task and Finish Group on Learning Analytics from 2017-2018 and he is also a member of the steering group for NUTELA - Newcastle University Advocates for Technology Enhanced Learning and the Technology Enhanced Learning Sub-Committee of the Faculty Education Committee.


Each year James is the dissertation supervisor for several MA students on the MA International Development in Education and the MA Education: International Perspectives.  

James is also currently helping to supervise the following PhD students:

  • Gemma Mitchelson - 
  • Jing Jang - 
  • Gillian Brown - 
  • Fatma Otain - Future of Learning: A Case Study of the Implementation of SOLE in a Saudi Primary School
  • Leonidia Lymperi - Self Organised Learning Environments (SOLE) and EFL proficiency attainment in primary schools operating in remote areas of Greece.
  • Lia Cacheiro Quintas - factors Influencing Student Persistence, Continuity or Dropout of Non-Traditional Adult Workers in Online Non-Regulated English Courses in Spain.
  • Shatha Mohammed M Almalki - A narrative study to explore Saudi pre-service school teachers experiences of using electronic reflective journals during their field experience.
  • Mohammed Alwagdani - Investigating the Impact of Flipped Learning on Students Engagement and Achievement in a Saudi High School

Previous PhD students:

  • Sally Rix - Self Organised Learning Environments: Appropriation in an English Secondary School Context.
  • Malik Hamed Saif Al Zakwani - Developing Proficiency in the Context of English as a Foreign language Learning in a Foreign Language Centre in Oman: An Action Research of the Application of a SOLE Pedagogy.
  • Yang Du - Electronic Devices as a Resource for Getting 'On Task' and Deepening Group Knowledge: a Multimodal Conversation Analytic investigation of a Self Organised Learning Environment at a UK university.
  • Gopal Iyer - The effectiveness of the Right to Education (RTE) Act in Delphi, India.


I am currently the Primary Investigator on the following funded research project:

Using SOLE Across Boundaries in Romania, Ukraine and Moldova, CARITAS 2017-2019 (£90,000)

SOLE is being introduced in a number of schools and day care centers in Ukraine, Romania and Moldova and we are evaluating the impact on children, teachers and families as well as the relationships between these groups.  We are looking for evidence that children are developing learning habits which enable them to Dream Achieve, Realise and Express and how these might empower children to develop their 'voice'.  Over 1,000 students are taking part in this 2 year study.


From 2015-2018 James was the lead Education Consultant on the Human Development Innovation Fund (HDIF) - a £40 million challenge fund in Tanzania.  James helped to assess new funding applications and provided technical support to all education grantees.  James also led on the development of case studies relating to the Principle for Digital Development.  Download the report Digital Innovation for Social Change: Principles into Practice (2018) and the related case studies.  This consultancy work generated an income of and it also led to additional research funding.  

Professional activities

  • Investigating Student Collaboration within Self Organised Learning Environments, a paper presented at International Conference on Modern Research in Education, Training and Learning - 5-7 June 2019.


  • Module leader: EDU8213 - The Future of Learning
  • Module leader: EDU8228 - Investigating Technology Enhanced Learning