Food & Culture Project

Current Research Interests

Current research interests include the role and implementation of emerging technologies, especially the Internet, multimedia, and social networking as tools to design and deliver 21st century curriculum and instruction.  This includes, but is not limited to, the use of these tools to create virtual learning environments, online courses, collaborative projects for students, and professional development for educators.

Other research interests include development of 21st century schools, from the actual architecture of the buildings, to designing the classroom; creating change, or paradigm shifts in how we think about education; examining emerging new schools; and developing 21st century curriculum and instruction.

Workshop topics range from curriculum design to service learning, after school programs, Web 2.0 tools, media literacy, multiple literacies for the 21st century, the global collaborative classroom, greening the classroom and the curriculum and greening the school district.


Course Descriptions for Independent Study Coursework at University of Texas at Austin (1995-2000):

PHL 388       Digital Research -  examining the role of hypermedia in conducting and publishing research.  In what ways do the roles, or interpretative messages, contained in and delivered through various media impact educational research?  An introductory exploration into digital, or hypermedia, research.  This was a basic level investigation into digital research.  What is digital research, how does it differ from other methods of research, how does a digital, or virtual, researcher address issues such as validity, reliability, and generalizability?  This investigation led to topics such as:  hypermedia as a new medium for authoring, linking together of data, analysis and interpretation in the same medium;  video as a document;  video data collection and analysis;  conducting research online;  evaluating online resources;  creating virtual communities in research;  multimedia technology as provider of new tools for historical research and documentation;  qualitative research methodologies and their philosophical underpinnings ;  the role of narrative in designing interactive multimedia systems;  cyberspace, virtual reality and critical theory. 

PHL 388       Qualitative Research Design  -  an exhaustive effort to determine types of research and their design methodologies for a philosophical, theoretical dissertation.  As this researcher’s interests and studies have been largely composed of the analysis and critique of various theories, and it was determined that experimental research was inappropriate for this dissertation as were the most commonly treated qualitative methods such as ethnographic studies, case studies, action research, etc., an intensive search was conducted to determine what other types of research methodology would be most appropriate for this dissertation.  This research not only involved an intensive search of the materials available at the PCL at UT, but also involved a highly scrutinized investigation of methodologies used in recent dissertations, and finally, an intensive search via the Internet. 

EDC 396V    Herbert Marcuse, the Frankfurt School and Critical Theory – an in-depth study of the life, work and theories of Herbert Marcuse, a member of the Frankfurt School and founders of Critical Theory. 

EDC 396V    Integrating Theory into Practice:  a Course for Student Teachers – designed a course for preservice teachers which enabled future teachers to understand the connections between theory and practice – the connections between what is done in the classroom and why it is done.  The course is designed so that student teachers learn in the same way they are being taught to teach – they learn through actual experience, not by listening or reading only.  Project-based, this course prepares student teachers to enter their first classroom prepared to teach and assess their students authentically.  Theories included are those of William Glasser, Lev Vygotsky, John Dewey, Howard Gardner, Jerome Bruner, and others, related learning, curriculum design, instruction and behaviors. 

EDC 396T     Democracy and Education  - the Purpose of Schools and Critical Pedagogy  -  the theories and ideals of John Dewey form a large part of the foundational ideals of critical pedagogy.  This course examines the writings of John Dewey as they pertain to social justice, democracy in society, the democratic school and classroom, freedom, consciousness and citizenship, social change, the nature of reality, of learning, of growing, and the constantly evolving purpose of education as it relates to the wider society. 

EDC 396T     Creating the 21st Century Classroom -  Interdisciplinary, Thematic and Integrated Curriculum Design -  examines the development and implementation of a curriculum which is aligned with the needs of 21st century life.  Several different thematic and interdisciplinary units are designed which incorporate a variety social, cultural, behavioral, psychological, instructional and learning theories.  Here we find that there is no real separation of curriculum, classroom management, instruction, learning, teaching and assessment.  Rather, the curriculum is designed on several levels simultaneously – learning and curriculum theories, scheduling, arrangement of the learning environment, selection of activities and materials, determination of learning outcomes, methods of authentic assessment and matters pertaining to diversity and social issues.   

PHL 388     Possibilities – a Digital Archive -   this ongoing project is the development of a web site which will serve as a significant portion of a doctoral dissertation.  Constantly evolving as a result of further research and learning on the part of the web site designer, as well as a result of the interactions between the web site designer and visitors from around the globe, this web site strives to 1.)  contribute knowledge to the field of critical pedagogy, and 2.)  expand knowledge of critical pedagogy, its implementation and possibilities, to educators. 

PHL 388     Philosophical Foundations of Critical Pedagogy -  an archaeology of the sociohistorical and theoretical foundations of critical pedagogy, including Marcuse, Hegel, Marx, Husserl, Heidegger, Lukacs,  Korsch, the Frankfurt School, Horkheimer, Freud and others. 

PHL 388     Technology, the Media and Education in the New Millennium -  a first look at the rapid developments in technology and the media and how these developments impact the field of education.  Primarily researched through the Internet, and supplemented by print texts, this study strives to establish a foundational knowledge in the wide area demarcated by the intersections of technology, media, education and life in the new century. 

PHL 388     Intersections – Media and Education -  an examination of cultural and media studies which analyses the saturation of daily life by multiple forms of media, and what this means for education. This saturation by the media extends from the global -  transnational capitalism, nation-states, to the individual – and the processes of identity formation and perceptions of reality.  Examination of the phenomenon of media and education is conducted from multiple perspectives such as media studies, cultural studies, critical theory, feminist theory, critical race theory, postmodern theories and communication theories. 

PHL 388     Learning Theories and Critical Pedagogy -  an examination of the contributions of various learning theories to the development of critical pedagogy.  Includes Vygotsky, Bruner, Dewey, Gardner. 

PHL W388   Multiple Literacies and Critical Pedagogy  -  a study which investigates the multiple literacies required for successful life in the 21st century.  Beginning with a review of what literacies were considered as necessary in the 20th century, this study then ferrets out a new set of literacies required as a result of drastic and rapid changes in society due to technology, making a call for equally drastic changes in how schooling is structured, and how curriculum is designed and delivered.  New literacies required include media literacies, financial literacy, ecoliteracy, cultural literacies, computer literacy, and many more. 

PHL W388   Media Literacies and Pedagogy  - a relatively new arrival to the field of education in the United States, media literacies have been an integral part of education in Canada , New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom.  This course involved an investigation of the development and evolution of media literacy as an integral part of curriculum and instruction for the 21st century, an exploration of topics and methods utilized in more experienced programs in other countries, an exploration of the beginnings of media literacy as part of education in the United States, discovering the many facets of media literacy, and locating resources for educators who wish to pursue media literacy, or the critique and use of multiple forms of media, as part of their curriculum.   

PHL W388   Paulo Freire and Multimedia -  this course examines the writings and life of the Brazilian educator, Paulo Freire.  Considered by many as the “father of critical pedagogy”, he has been criticized by some as being “anti-media”.  This course examines the theories of Freire and how they actually support multiple media literacies as a necessary part of education today.  

PHL W388   Panopticon Elementary – an autobiographical narrative. Adopting a storytelling format as she relates her experiences, observations and feelings, the author reflects upon and analyses her experiences as a teacher implementing critical pedagogy at an elementary school.  During this experience, the author is able to connect many of the theories of Henry Giroux and Peter McLaren to real life in a particular school and community. As a result of her studies in critical pedagogy, which are based upon the works of Giroux and McLaren, the author is able to observe with heightened awareness the injustices and inequities which operate within our educational and social systems that are based on race, class, gender, ethnicity, religion, etc.  These observations lead to new understandings of critical pedagogy and ideas for its development and implementation. 


Other independent coursework has included, but has not been limited to, the following topics:   

September 11 -  9/11 in the Classroom and September 11

The Global Classroom -  designing and implementing curriculum and instruction with collaborative colleagues around the world

Video Production in Education


The Digital Divide – from the local to the global – the city of Austin,  Austin ISD, Texas, the United States and Global Gaps in Accessibility

Social Action for Kids – a study of real life examples of children making differences, creating personal and social change, and resources for classrooms who want to do the same.

The Colonias of Texas – an example of critical pedagogy and creating social change via the media

National and State Standards in Curriculum

Standardized Testing – analysing the debates

The Isms and Education -  classism, racism, sexism, linguicism, heterosexism, anti-Semitism and religious oppression, ableism and ageism

The Language of Critical Pedagogy

Analysing the Media – Presidential Election 2000 – a case study

Funding in Education

Democracy in Education – democratic schools, the democratic classroom, the role of education in a democratic society

Educational Reforms

Computer Literacy -  Developing and Maintaining Web Sites, an ongoing project

Focused studies of the works of Henry Giroux, Peter McLaren, Douglas Kellner, Herbert Marcuse, Michel Foucault, the Frankfurt School of Germany, John Dewey, Howard Gardner, Paulo Freire,

Teacher Education and Critical Pedagogy

21st Century Issues  -  for example, Racism, World Poverty, Ecology, Diversity, Globalization, Cloning, etc

Media Literacies

Qualitative Research Methods

Children’s Literature – as part of an interdisciplinary, thematic unit;  multicultural children’s literature and authors in various genre;  connections to other media – film, radio, theatre, music, multimedia, hypermedia, etc.;