Samantha-Kaye Johnston, a Jamaican who is a resident of Australia, is currently working as a Research Officer in the Oxford University Centre for Educational Assessment (OUCEA) within the Department of Education, a facility that works collaboratively with other researchers and agencies worldwide to confront the challenges facing educational systems seeking global qualifications and standards.
At the same time, she is working as a Research Affiliate at Harvard University’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, an interdisciplinary entity that brings together the “sharpest, most thoughtful people” from around the world to address the greatest challenges presented by the Internet and to push the envelope of scholarly research in creating new tools and platforms to foster innovation and encourage the development of active networks across diverse communities.
Johnston, who said she was honored to be on both research teams, added she finds both to be exciting and the research timely due to the need for a better understanding of learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Reading and Learning Scientist, Johnston works at the intersection of reading development, psychology, and technology. She is a University Associate and Teaching Academic at Curtin University, which is based in Bentley, Perth, Western Australia, and is also a member of its undergraduate psychology teaching team. Johnston founded the platform Reading for Humanity to focus on the importance of the sciences of reading, learning, and technology in early reading instruction. Her experience as an advocate and researcher in Jamaica, England, and Australia within the K-12 sector, and her work with non-governmental, private, and community organizations and United Nations entities informs her research. Johnston currently serves as a member of the United Nations Education Reference Group (Western Australia).
Johnston earned a Ph.D. in Psychology at Curtin University and was awarded the Chancellor’s Commendation for Outstanding Doctoral Research. She has an MA in Education from Liverpool Hope University in England and a B.Sc. in Psychology from the University of the West Indies in Jamaica.
The subject of her current research is Internet governance in the context of reading instruction, with a particular focus on protecting the rights of students as they interact in the digital space and ensuring students have a voice in decision-making processes.
Samantha-Kaye Johnston described her vision on Facebook, posting, “It’s important to have a vision and not let that go. My vision is for all students to have a quality education. When approached by Oxford and Harvard (and I write this in awe of God’s continued favour), I wasn’t sure which role to choose but recently, the door opened for both roles to work in a seamless fashion, despite being in two different countries. In this role, I will be strategically integrated within the Harvard Law School to research the ethical implications of teaching online, including the delivery of reading instruction in an online environment. A key lesson is to do what you enjoy doing and do it consistently. You never know who is watching.”