[Alumni Stories] Dr Abdul Al Lily connects, cultivates and inspires!

Dr Abdul Al Lily  graduated from the MA: Digital Technologies, Communication and Education in 2008.


Since then, Abdul, has done a DPhil in Oxford and written a book The Bro Code of Saudi Culture, that was a bestseller in the Saudi section of Amazon. Read more about Adbul’s best selling book.

He was employed at King Faisal University as an assistant professor.  He has written extensively, which has helped him get promoted to an associate professor. He has published in impact-factor journals, with the largest academic publishers: Elsevier, Springer, Taylor & Francis, Wiley, Sage & Oxford University Press. He has written in different languages; for academic & non-academic magazines (e.g. Australasian Science, openDemocracy, Your Middle East, Vocativ & the Italian Journal of Geopolitics).


He has pioneered an innovative approach to research, labelled Crowd-Authoring . He has acted as the initiator, mediator & first author of an article by 99 authors, which Oxford has declared to be ‘the first manuscript in the Social Sciences to be written by such a large group’. Based on this experience, He has  written a book entitled Crowd-Authoring in the Social Sciences. Some of Abdul’s articles were among the most read articles in some impact-factor journals. His work has been cited more than 100 times. He was a 0.5%-researcher on Academia.edu in 2016. For more information, please visit his personal website: https://abdulallily.wordpress.com/


We asked Abdul how has DTCE fed into your way of thinking and seeing the world?

”There are four main lessons that I have learnt through DTCE. The first is to look at education and technology from a non-educational and non-technological perspectives, i.e. from social, cultural, economic and political prespectives. The second is to take readers of education and technology outside their comfort zone by destabilising and problematising the current and often-cited approaches to education and technology. The third is to write and cite theories and approaches that have no history of application in education and technology. The fourth is to ‘philosophise’ and ‘politicise’ education and technology (see below).

Since my graduation, my work has been structured around these lessons, which is I think one of the secrets how I got into Oxford and how I have managed to generate many article ideas and publish in reputable journals.


What the future will hold in the next 10 years is, hopefully, the emergence of academics who use, in their writings, theories and approaches that have no history of application in education and technology. Lately, the field of education and technology has not registered fundamental progress. Many of its modern-day scholars merely follow almost the same way as their ancestors had done in past decades. They have subjected novelty to conservatism and have resorted to tradition to judge innovation. They have investigated new technologies in old fashions. They have essentially remained almost the same, ruminating over themselves and functioning in a ‘bubble’ until they have become locked in stasis, frozen by convention. They are better described as ‘time-travellers’ who live now and yet act as past individuals. They have operated within an almost closed sphere, dwelling within a repeated, iterated and ‘dead time’ and therefore acting like the ‘living dead’. They have shown defensive and protective reactions towards ‘ancient’, over-used theories and notions and have defended and protected deep-rooted and long-standing cultural configurations and standpoints. Journals are flooded with counterfeit writings imitating well-established traditional thoughts. Bearing these arguments in mind, if DTCE would like to be globally outstanding and lead the field in the next 10 years, it should employ researchers (and post-docs) whose (only) role is to address the following two questions: 1) what theories and notions are ‘out there’, outside the field of education and technology? and 2) how could these theories and notions be exploited for the benefit of the domain of education and technology?


Since my graduation, I have been to 37 countries and was on 150 planes in 3 years. I scuba-dived 30 km to see Underwater Museum in Mexico. I cycled on a safari trip in Kenya. I flew on a seaplane in the Maldives. I was on a cruise trip on Britannia. I visited Tibet. I did rafting and wild-swam under Bali’s largest waterfalls, in Mexico’s caves and by the edge of green valleys. I dined at the Dark Restaurant in Cologne. I went to an indoor pillow cinema at a converted underground station in London and an open-air beanbag cinema in Oxford. I went blow-karting in Holland. I saw real pandas in China! I drove throughout Bali and Sri Lanka and self-drove through the desert by a 4*4 car. I snorkelled in the Philippines to watch turtles and explore the Coral Garden.


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