This blog is the digital space where I reside online. This space is open to students, interested readers, and is a place where I share my adventures in reading, challenge the status quo, present ideas, and share new and captivating finds from the field of education and the wider world -- both on and offline.

I ask that if you have private questions to please email me at my University of Ottawa account rather than post here.


Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Urban Communities Cohort Framework

As I begin a new school year at the University of Ottawa, I am excited to think about the ways our new Urban Communities Cohort (UCC) students will engage with their teaching practices and community involvement around the city. This infographic outlines some of the core elements of the program and helps us to organize our thoughts about what it means to be a member of the UCC.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Questions and Conversations about Digital Citizenship

What does it mean to be a teacher who asks students to work through questions of identity in various classroom projects? How have our histories with education influenced the way we teach and the ways we ask students to represent themselves? A group of B.Ed students from the Urban Communities Cohort at uOttawa has a frank and candid discussion about these questions.

Monday, 1 May 2017

“If the stars are spotlights, I wanted the sun”: Hacking children’s literature in Raziel Reid’s When Everything Feels Like the Movies

I want to offer up some food for thought about risky texts and the concept of "hacking education." This chapter will be featured in a forthcoming book entitled Hacking Education in a Digital Age: Teacher Education, Curriculum, and Literacies.


In addressing the title of this book, Hacking Education, we are asked to consider how hacking might be a necessary part of moving educational discourse forward through a type of “productive destruction” so that educators can “spurn obedience to common sense patterns of acting/teaching/being.”  This paper considers how Raziel Reid’s (2014) When Everything Feels Like the Movies challenges the idea that children’s literature is a place where one can safely escape to avoid confronting the hyper realism of our times through hacking the conventional melodramatic form of historical fiction. When Everything Feels Like the Movies represents how the digital negotiates the liminal spaces of belonging and what is at stake there. In the main character Jude’s world of augmented reality, Reid establishes the allegorical significance of the gay male body as a means to address the social reality of the endangered lives of gay youths, children who do not conform to the readily consumable trope of the unproblematic child. 

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Learning about Digital Citzenship through film

In this paper, inspired by the challenge Atom Egoyan provides for educators in Adoration, I offer the film as a heuristic to digital citizenship to read two university driven digital initiatives. I argue that digital citizenship is always emerging, and can be understood as a form of currere, where the personal and historical underpin “digital acts” that rewrite the notion of subjectivities as being disembodied in the seemingly atemporal space of being online. As a teacher educator who is part of the Urban Communities Cohort (UCC) team, one of the five different streams incoming Bachelor of Education students choose upon entering the program at the University of Ottawa, I am interested in exploring the concept of currere as it applies to digital citizenship and asking why it matters to urban schools in Ottawa. My inquiry is part of a larger project entitled, Developing Mobile Media Spaces for Civic Engagement in Urban Priority Schools, located in Ottawa, Canada that is supported by Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Grant.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Disney Confessions!

What does Disney have to do with education? Disney is one of the most commonplace "educators" of the youngest of children, the movies are an instantaneously recognizable form of public pedagogy (Giroux, 2004). In this recent work with Tasha Ausman, we explore what it at stake in the viewing and learning that takes place in relation to Disney and how pedagogies of affect and questions of what is at stake in our subjectivities through our attachments to Disney can be reproduced in the confessional and anonymous space of the Tumblr world. The feed entitled waltdisneyconfessions@tumblr is a "digital space that enacts a confessional curriculum of desire helping to reproduce Disney ideologies" (Sandlin & Garlen, 2016).

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Through recovery of an understanding of the topos, especially of imaginary and physical landscape and our history within it, we may find a place to begin the difficult work of reaching into and across the territories of difference, And thus….write a topography for curriculum theory, one that begins at home but journeys elsewhere.” Cynthia Chambers 1999

This will be my third spring teaching Internationalization of Curriculum Studies, and I decided that it was time to move this course from behind the iron curtain of Blackboard Learn to inviting students to create personal blogs.  A personal web space where one can situate oneself, share ideas and interact with others beyond a specific border in many ways performs the spirit of the field of Curriculum Studies.

Curriculum Studies is an intellectually dynamic and ever changing field. For curriculum scholars either here in Canada or abroad, situating and defining the broader international field of curriculum studies and its development remains a historically situated and contested “complicated conversation.” Therefore within the context of this course our study of certain international educational issues will be contradictory, contested, and sometimes paradoxical. As a result, each week we will try to reconceptualize and complicate our historical, present, and future understandings of the differences between various international educational movements and interdisciplinary discourses, which in turn inform curriculum studies.

Our introductory readings are Cynthia Chambers (2006) “Where do I belong?”  and Steven Talbert (2009)  International Travel and Implication. After completing the readings, as a class we are working to construct our online biography on a blog. Thus our first online activity is to create an online biography or profile after thinking about what the authors have to say about the concept of travel in relation to their identity. Through this venue I am hoping to open the question about what has been our "lived experiences" of traveling either across Canada, to Canada, or other countries around the globe? While I have asked students to write about what passages from the readings provoke them to think about those lived experience, I’ve shared mine below. 

Where do I belong?
My mother and father’s wedding at my Grandparent’s home in Brooklyn 1962

I’ve read the Chamber’s piece “Where Do I Belong?” Canadian Curriculum as a Passport Home a number of times but it just dawned on me during this reading that I was one of those people who experienced travelling across the US/Canada border without a passport.  I was a kid though so, at the time, I never really noticed. Born in Brooklyn, NY and then moving to the suburbs of New Jersey, I grew up as an American but every summer travelled to cottage country north of Toronto until finally my Canadian father who had moved to the US because my mother was homesick for her family. Having had enough of working in NYC, he moved the family to Toronto. 

While it didn’t feel that way at the time, in many ways the timing was perfect because at 16 years old I found myself in a Grade 10 History class where I became fascinated with the teacher’s preoccupation with the topic of Canadian identity. This seemed like such a strange topic to me, as American identity had never been spoken about in my previous years of schooling; yet the pledge allegiance and star spangled banner seemed to be part of my very being. That I would later write my MA thesis on the how this struggle with defining a Canadian identity had an impact on how regional Canadian literature, especially texts set in rural settings, was undervalued was no coincidence. After my MA I completed my B. Ed. and taught literature for about 10 years.  Reading Chambers now, I see how central her question, “Where Do I Belong?” might have been to my graduate research asking about the significance of stories of place across the expansive nation. Chambers’ questions opens up how such stories embody a curriculum of identity that allows for the deep engagement with social and cultural difference rather than the homogenizing American ethos.

My mom with her parents at their pizzeria in Brooklyn 

In retrospect, it would appear that I have been travelling the path to curriculum studies, which I now find myself teaching, for some time precisely because it looks at how home is the place where, as Chambers notes, “the past is continually in the present.” This always complicates where we are now.   Following Chambers, I have turned to using life writing as a form of inquiry to look at my family history in relation to the larger history of immigration and how we continue to live that history.  What are the everyday lived moments of a geneology that involves immigration and how do we return to it in our daily living. For me, some of these everyday lived moments include a story about my grandfather’s immigration from Italy and my mother’s persistent sense of cultural self-loathing of being Italian and not “truly” American.

I hope you too will find the field of curriculum studies offers you a space to explore the self reflexive space of your lived history in the context of genealogy, migrancy and transnationalism.

 Me! March 2015 Brooklyn journey

Sunday, 20 December 2015

A 10-panel comic explores a subtle kind of racism many people of color experience.

Alisha Huber curated a page on everyday racisms for the page Upworthy on Dec 18th, 2015.  Here's what she had to say:

"If we're being honest, we all make assumptions about other people, right?

We look at their skin, their clothes, and their car, and we make guesses about them that we don't even realize we're making. Everyone does it.
You ask a pregnant female coworker if she'll keep working after the baby is born — but you wouldn't think to ask that question of a guy who was about to become a dad.
You ask that nice girl behind the counter at the bagel shop whether she'll ever go to college so she can get a better job — only to learn that she's an underemployed Ph.D.
You ask a hipster-looking guy on the subway whether he's into artisanal pickles — but he just happens to be a bad dresser who has no idea what you're talking about.

The fact is, though, that people of color deal with other people's assumptions constantly.

Research shows that other people's expectations can have a profound effect on us. They can determine our success or failure. And black women deal with this nonsense more than others. In a recent study, nearly half of the female black and Latina scientists polled reported being mistaken for janitors or administrative staff."