L595 – High Tech Learning. Instructor: Annette Lamb
Foodie 101: Exploring the Diversity of Cuisine in Your Own Neighborhood
“Foodie 101” is about exploring regional and international culinary practices. I visualize
this project being web-oriented, but it could be a component to an in-person class. The
ideal audience for this project is someone with an interest in learning about food practices
and traditions, so the audience can range from learners (both life-long and traditional) in
the culinary arts, food anthropology, to first-year learning communities in a college
Being aware of cultural traditions other than your own is an essential part of being an
informed individual. One informal yet effective way to experience a culture is through
their food. As more rural cities and towns become home to diverse populations, being
aware of the depth and breadth of your community is essential. Seeking out authentic
foods (not American-ized versions from chains like Don Pablo’s, Taco Bell, P.F. Chang’s
and the like) allows learners to expand their palates and contribute to their local
Upon completing this project students will be more aware of regional and international
culinary practices throughout the United States. Learners will patronize local restaurants
in their community and report their findings to the class. Learners will also select and
prepare a dish or meal, provide the class with thorough instructions, and recount their
experience in preparing the item.
The project is divided into three sections:
1. Where Are We Going?
Students will contact their instructor with a region, culture, or food practice they
want to explore. Students will provide a brief introduction of their topic and
expand on the culinary practices of the selected group or region. Students must
provide at least three resources where they located their information. Students will
post their findings on the class wiki.
2. Get Out There!
Students will select an ethnic or regional restaurant in their city and provide the
class with a detailed review. The catch? The restaurant must be locally owned.
Some of the most authentic ethnic and regional foods come from these “mom and
pop” businesses. Restaurant choice can be different from the topic covered in the
report. Reviews must contain the restaurant’s contact information; a description of
the restaurant’s environment; what they ordered; and what they liked (or disliked)
about the meal. If they obtain permission from the owners, students can take
pictures, or include an interview with the owners and/or servers. Students will
post their reviews on the class blog.
3. The Tastiest Food Comes From the Heart(h)
Using their classmate’s reviews as background, students will create a dish or meal
from one of the cultures or regions discussed in class. Learners will provide the
class with a recipe and detailed instructions. Students must provide at least one
original photograph in their final project. Students can opt to use Microsoft’s
Office and/or Power Point (or related program.) The class will then create a
separate space within the original wiki to post their recipes. The students may use
the wiki to discuss any issues encountered in the process.
Wiki technology is used throughout the project. The free-flow of information allows
learners with little or no experience with HTML to actively engage with others in an
educational environment. Where a topic such as “food and culture” is a lengthy subject
matter that would take one person a long time to compile, the collaborative nature of
wikis allows multiple users to become “experts” in their subject area and contribute to a
larger body of knowledge. Brian Lamb’s article, “Wide open spaces: Wikis, ready or not”
provides readers a thorough introduction to the range (and possible pitfalls) of the
technology. In the section titled, “Why Wiki?” he explains how wikis that originally
started as a project among a definite group takes on life of its own once additional authors
are introduced, citing Wikitravel <http://wikitravel.org>, among others.
Blog programs provide users with little or no HTML experience easy access to creating
and sharing with others. Unlike the open format options of wikis, blog entries are
grouped in reverse chronological order. Like wiki technology, blogging allows multiple
authors to contribute entries, and increasingly more blog programs allow authors to create
tags for entries so a reader can easily navigate to specific content. A wiki could also be
used for the restaurant review, but I feel that a blog gives learners another learning
perspective. There are many appealing templates to choose from, and unlike wikis -
where someone could potentially alter the content - a blog allows an entry to read in its
entirety. Readers can use the comment feature to provide feedback, which may lead to
new entries, and so forth.
Finally, digital photography provides learners with a visual perspective. A picture
provides clarity to a subject matter and provides aesthetic appeal to a webpage, wiki,
Power Point presentation, etc. Original photographs are emphasized to minimize copying
images from the web, in addition to creating new images for shared use. It also allows
learners to become more comfortable with operating a camera.
I intend to provide a mock-up of the wiki and blog by using Wikispaces and Blogger,
respectively. Wikispaces provides WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editing
options, and has a history feature if in the event that someone radically alters a page. The
help feature is extensive, and if learners run into any questions, the discussion forum is
active and the Wikispaces team is quick to answer e-mail questions. Blogger offers many
templates to choose from and is relatively easy to use. The tutorials are helpful, and like
Wikispaces, offer a discussion section in the event someone needs additional assistance.
Both programs are freely available, so cost should not be a major issue. Students will
need to use a digital camera, but if in the event they do not own one they will either have
to borrow a camera, purchase a one-time use digital camera, or use a Polaroid or 35-mm
camera and use a scanner.
Since learners in this course will fall into varying degrees of “digital natives” to “digital
immigrants,” the idea of community needs to be emphasized early on. Students are
encouraged to work with others and communicate any technology-related issues with the
class and the instructor. The project can be adapted for various audiences, but in the event
the project is taught in a classroom or campus environment, the instructor should provide
the contact information for that school’s computer technology department.
The digital native and immigrant terms were coined by educator Marc Prensky, who has
written extensively on tech-savvy students and their educators who may be falling
behind, technologically speaking. Additional information on this concept can be found on
his website http://www.marprensky.com and in his article featured on Edutopia.org,
“Adopt and adapt: 21st-century schools need 21st-century technology.”
Lamb, Brian. (2004) .Wide open spaces: Wikis, ready or not. EDUCASE Review, 39, 36-
48. Retrieved November 26, 2006, from
Prensky, Marc. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon/NCB
University Press, 9, 6pp. Retrieved November 26, 2006, from
Prensky, Marc. (2005). Adapt and Adopt: 21st century schools need 21st century
technology. Edutopia, December. Retrieved November 26, 2006, from