New faces: Two new faculty members join the Faculty of Education

The Faculty of Education welcomes two new faculty members: Bryan Smith, a sessional assistant professor interested in social studies learning and curriculum theory; and Jennifer Wemigwans, a sessional assistant professor specializing in the convergence between education, indigenous knowledge and new media technologies.

“We are delighted to welcome Bryan and Jennifer,” said Lyndon Martin, dean of the Faculty of Education. “Both bring exciting new dimensions and perspectives to the kinds of social justice issues the Faculty is concerned with. Their important and timely research will infuse their teaching and ensure we offer students relevant and engaging learning experiences.”

bryan-smith1Bryan Smith – Smith’s research interests include social studies learning (history, geography and citizenship), anti-racism and decolonization theory and pedagogy, curriculum theory and the role of custom-built mobile applications as tools to facilitate critical interventions in social studies classrooms. His current work explores the development of place-based mobile applications and their potential for building critical understandings of how place teaches history and shapes historical consciousness for students and teachers. Building on theories of place and critical toponymy, this research seeks to bring into critical consciousness the role of place-names and artifacts of the “everyday landscape” in framing taken-for-granted narratives of our communities.

Previously, his research explored how RNMobile (Canadian Association of Foundations of Education 2015 Online Learning Tool award) might help introduce teacher candidates to the history of residential schools and the power of oral histories in (re-)telling histories of Canada. He was recently published in the Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy and the Citizenship Education Research Journal. He is also working with colleagues to co-edit two forthcoming books.

Prior to York, Smith was at the University of Ottawa where he taught social studies teacher candidates. There, he was a member of the Virtual History Lab where he participated in a SSHRC-funded research project exploring the use of technology in facilitating the development of history pedagogy skills for teacher candidates.

j-wemigwans-hs1Jennifer Wemigwans – Wemigwans is Anishnaabekwe (Ojibwe/Potawatomi) from Wikwemikong First Nation and is president of Invert Media. She is a new media producer, writer and scholar specializing in the convergence between education, indigenous knowledge and new media technologies. Her research examines how online indigenous knowledge sites serve indigenous resurgence by contributing to the efforts and goals of indigenous nation-building, and therefore represent a new cultural form and social movement online that delivers new capacity for indigenous communities.

Currently, her research work is under peer review for publication with the University of Regina Press. She is also collaborating on a SSHRC Partnerships Development Grant award (2016-19), “Indigenous knowledge and pedagogies in online learning environments: gaining insight into wise practices for web-based Indigenous education innovation,” as well as producing an international indigenous digital-based project that explores timekeeping methods and calendars from diverse indigenous communities.

This past year, Wemigwans completed her PhD in the Department of Social Justice Education at OISE University of Toronto, where she researched the impact of indigenous knowledge online.