Jennifer Higgs is an assistant professor in the School of Education. Her research focuses on digital tool use that supports learning and teaching, adolescents’ digital literacies, and teacher education in the language arts. Using mixed methods and sociocultural theories of learning, Dr. Higgs investigates practices around digital tools as well as improvement of digital tool practices. What fundamentally drives her work is a desire to learn how the possibilities afforded by new cultural tools can support robust and socially just learning. Prior to pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Higgs was a middle and high school English teacher in Virginia and Illinois public schools for five years and an English teacher in Japan for a year. Her research has been funded by the National Academy of Education, the Spencer Foundation, the Berkeley Center for New Media, and the McDonnell Foundation.
Digital technologies in teaching and learning; educational equity; digital literacies; pre-service and in-service teacher education; English education; social semiotics
Ph.D., Education with a Designated Emphasis in New Media – University of California, Berkeley, 2017
M.S., Education and Social Policy — Northwestern University, 2008
M.A., English Literature — Northwestern University, 2007
B.A., magna cum laude, English — Cornell University, 2001
Gutiérrez, K., Higgs, J., Lizárraga, J., & Rivero, E.* (2019). Learning as movement in Social Design-Based Experiments: Play as a leading activity. Human Development, 62, 66-82. *Equal co-authors
Vakil, S., & Higgs, J. (2019). It’s about power: A call to rethink ethics and equity in computing education. Communications of the ACM, 62(3), 31-33.
Gutiérrez, K., Cortes, K., Cortez, A., DiGiacomo, D., Higgs, J., Johnson, P., Lizárraga, J., Mendoza, E., Tien, J., & Vakil, S.* (2017). Replacing representation with imagination: Finding ingenuity in everyday practices. Review of Research in Education, 41, 30-60. *Second authors are listed alphabetically.
Freedman, S. W., Hull, G. A., Higgs, J., & Booten, K. (2016). Teaching writing in a digital and global age: Toward access, learning, and development for all. In C. Bell & D. Gitomer (Eds.), Handbook of research on teaching (5th ed.). (pp. 1389-1449). Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.
Schultz, K., Hull, G. A., & Higgs, J. (2015). After writing, after school. In C. MacArthur, S. Graham, & J. Fitzgerald (Eds.), Handbook of writing research (2nd ed.). (pp. 102-115). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
Higgs, J., Miller, C. A., & Pearson, P. D. (2013). Classroom digital interaction: High expectations, misleading metaphors, and the dominance of Netspeak. In K. E. Pytash, and R. E. Ferdig, (Eds.), Exploring technology for writing and writing instruction (pp. 239-260). Hershey, PA: IGI Global Publishers. doi: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4341-3
Stornaiuolo, A., Higgs, J., & Hull, G. A. (2013). Social media as authorship: Methods for studying literacies and communities online. In P. Albers, T. Holbrook, & A.S. Flint (Eds.), New methods of literacy research (pp. 224-237). New York, NY: Routledge.
Assistant Professor, School of Education, University of California, Davis, 2018-present
Awards and Honors
2018 – Division K Outstanding Dissertation Award, American Educational Research Association
2016 – National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship (2016-2017 cohort)
2016 – Peter Lyman Graduate Fellowship in New Media, Berkeley Center for New Media
2014 – Fellow, Summer Institute for Preparing Future Faculty, University of California, Berkeley
2014 – Russell Family Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley
2012 – Finalist, Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) Big Ideas Contest (1 of 9 teams selected from 150+ submissions), University of California, Berkeley
2011 – Lily Wong Fillmore Award, University of California, Berkeley
2007 – Distinguished Thesis Award, Northwestern University
Courses Taught at UC Davis
ED 180A/B: Computers in Education for English Language Arts and Social Science
ED 292: Digital Literacies
ED 205B: Ethnographic Research in Schools II: Field-based Research Projects