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I am a developmental cognitive psychologist with interest in researching play and development in neurodiverse and typically developing children. Currently, I am the recipient of a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship (2021-24 cohort) and work as a Research Fellow in the department. I initially joined the department as a White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow (WRDTP - 2020-21 cohort). Prior to this, I worked as a Research Associate at the EdTech Hub at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. My career in education began as a primary school teacher where I worked for ten years before undertaking graduate studies.
I completed a PhD in Education with the research centre for Play Education Development and Learning (PEDAL) and an MPhil in Education and Psychology at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. I also hold a BEd in “Educational Testing Measurement and Evaluation” from the University of West Indies. More broadly, I am passionate about research that supports the development and learning of marginalised children. Specifically, I apply quantitative research methods like latent variable modelling, twin modelling, meta-analyses, etc. to study child development in diverse samples.
Francis, G., Deniz, E., Torgerson, C., & Toseeb, U. (2022). Play-based interventions for mental health: A systematic review and meta-analysis focused on children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder and developmental language disorder. Autism & Developmental Language Impairments, 7, 23969415211073120. https://doi.org/10.1177/23969415211073118
Lynch, P., Singal, N., & Francis, G. A. (2022). Educational technology for learners with disabilities in primary school settings in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic literature review. Educational Review, 0(0), 1–27. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131911.2022.2035685
Major, L., Francis, G. A., & Tsapali, M. (2021). The effectiveness of technology-supported personalised learning in low- and middle-income countries: A meta-analysis. British Journal of Educational Technology, n/a(n/a). https://doi.org/10.1111/bjet.13116
Francis, G., Farr, W., Mareva, S., & Gibson, J. (2019). Do Tangible User Interfaces promote social behaviour during free play? A comparison of autistic and typically-developing children playing with passive and digital construction toys. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 58 68-82. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2018.08.005
My primary research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust investigates ‘Genetic and Environment Influences on Young Children’s Play’. I collaborate with Dr Umar Toseeb who leads the Child and Adolescent Neurodevelopmental Diversity (CANDY) Group and Professor Kathryn Asbury Director of the GenOmics And Life Stories (GOALS) group.