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Curriculum, Teaching  & Learning

High-impact, funded research 

Here are some examples of recently awarded research projects which demonstrate the impact of our research on education and learning. For a comprehensive list of our faculty's funded research projects, click here


What does interaction really contribute to the online learning experience?

Principal Investigator: Clare Brett
Co-Investigator: Jim Hewitt 
Type: SSHRC Insight Grant

This project looks at the role of interaction and collaboration in online learning spaces from a variety of theoretic and methodological perspectives. It looks at interaction broadly – including public and private communications – within OISE's online learning environment, Pepper.

The project examines relationships among socio-cultural learner perspectives and social, academic, intrapersonal, and affective aspects of online learning experiences.

There are 3 overarching objectives in the project:

1. Investigate how students interact with one another, with instructors or teaching assistances in private exchanges, and how these interactions differ from public exchanges

2. Investigate how socio-emotional and cultural elements of online interaction contributes to learning and examine the relationship between socio-emotional, the cultural and cognitive dimensions of online discourse

3. Investigate how different types of online interaction contribute to learning.

The experiences of LGBTQ families in Ontario schools

Principal Investigator: Tara Goldstein
Type: SSHRC Insight Grant


The goal of this study is to video-interview lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) families living in four different regions in Ontario – Toronto, Ottawa, Windsor, and Sudbury – about how they work with teachers and principals to create safe and respectful learning environments for their children.  

Since the fall of 2015 Ontario teachers have been responsible for implementing a new health and physical education curriculum for grades 1-8 and 9-12 that provides students with:

(1) an understanding of gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation and
(2) the ability to identify factors that can help individuals of all identities and orientations develop a positive self-concept.  

LGBTQ families have much to teach educators about the kind of support that is needed to create positive school experiences for LGBTQ students and families. 

Our study is making the knowledge they share with us available on our website lgbtqfamiliesspeakout.ca

Contemporary art practice as pedagogy: Innovation, impact and student learning

Principal Investigator: Stephanie Springgay 
Co-Investigator: Diane Borsato (Guelph University)
Type: SSHRC Insight Grant

The extensive history of artists working in the context of their university classroom, of incorporating methods of teaching as an artistic practice, and of collaborating with students to realize works of art is often eclipsed in the larger discourse regarding contemporary art practice, as it took place in classrooms, which were often seen to ‘lack an audience’ and therefore not as valued in the larger art market.

Moreover, the teaching strategies used in the classroom to promote collaborative working relationships are often absent from the prevailing discourse around ‘pedagogy’ in contemporary art criticism, and the historical underpinnings of such practices are based on isomorphic connections to the avant-garde rather than on the curriculum reforms and radical teaching practices of the time.

In this project, the researchers contend the intersection between contemporary art and teaching is under examined, and poorly documented and archived. The study will include historial/archival research into artist-teacher practices, coupled with a case study analysis of 15 current artist-teachers. 

Multiliteracies teaching in a digital age: Balancing the old and the new

Principal investigator: Clive Beck
Co-investigator: Clare Kosnik
Type: SSHRC Insight Grant


The purpose of this research is to study school teachers in mid to later career regarding how they can and do incorporate innovative understandings of literacy and digital technology into their teaching practice. The project aims to study multiliteracies theory directly, offer adjustments to the theory, and provide insight into how teachers can implement digital technology in literacy teaching.

Drs. Beck and Kosnik (co-investigator) build on their three successive large-scale SSHRC-funded projects following 45 teachers over their initial 7-10 years of teaching; they will continue to study the same teachers for a further 5 years.

This project aims to examine the changes and lack thereof of teachers’ understanding of literacy and the use of digital technology within literacy teaching.

The data collection process will include interviews and classroom observation, focus groups, artifact collection, teacher-completed diaries on multiliteracies practices, and teacher-completed charts on personal and professional learning regarding digital technology and literacy.


Youth, theatre, radical hope and the ethical imaginary: An intercultural investigation of drama pedagogy, performance and civic engagement

Principal investigator: Kathleen Gallagher
Type: SSHRC Insight Grant


In this research, Dr. Gallagher argues that the lives and life prospects, of young people have been destabilized by global economic and political uncertainty. The research aims to initiate and document the relationship between creative drama activity and youth engagement with civic life in schools and communities in Canada, England, Greece, India and Taiwan.

The research explores the connection between engaged youth and a thriving democracy by examining the aspirational ideals of democratic theories, the pragmatic conditions of classrooms, and a theatre pedagogy focused on collectively produced and digitally shared work.

The research activities focus on the collective production and sharing of 'live’ and ‘digital’ data that emerge in the different theatre-making contexts. To probe further the interrelationship between engaged youth and a thriving democracy, Dr. Gallagher proposes to position youth as co-researchers, where they create and document through video the production of their live performances, sharing these across sites and engaging in virtual dialogue.

Ultimately, the perspectives and art practices of socio-economically challenged youth living in diverse contexts will be captured through the:

(a) examination of the cultural contexts of their schools/theatre organizations,
(b) interviewing of key players in the schools and communities,
(c) creation of digital productions of their arts practices across research sites, and
(d) engagement in collaborative analysis of the ‘live’ and ‘digital’ data.

These activities will build a theoretically rich and empirically grounded account of the ways in which the concepts of hope and care function in the lives of young people today and in turn how participation in artistic practices and local-global social relations might provoke forms of engaged citizenship worth considering in times of increasing youth social unrest.

Rethinking literacy teacher education for the digital era: Teacher educators, literacy educators, and digital technology experts working together

Principal Investigator: Clare Kosnik
Type: SSHRC Insight Grant


Dr. Kosnik seeks to address how teacher educators should prepare student teachers for a digitally-complex world. She aims to answer the question: How do we create a literacy pedagogy that promotes a culture of flexibility, creativity, innovation, and initiative. 

One of the aims of this project is to develop a statement on literacy teacher education that offers direction on how to integrate digital technology into teacher education literacy/English courses.

The project includes scholars from three disciplines: teacher education, literacy education, and digital technology, and four countries: Canada, United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.