Term of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Marla Morris

Committee Member 1

John Weaver

Committee Member 2

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 3

Michael Mahan

Committee Member 3 Email



The aim of this dissertation is to discuss how symbiotic relationships carve out the human niche in both the natural and artificial settings of our world. The human niche is naturally one of interdependence. However, as our society operates within the realm of the artificial, the human niche has been redirected to become one of independence instead of interdependence. My argument is that as we trade our natural niche for an artificial one, we lose touch with our sense of self as being humans created to exist in the natural world. In the context of curriculum studies, I discuss the relationship of the human niche and human psyche to nature and technology and the educational settings that work to catalyze our understanding of how we work and live in these arenas. Interdependence and how the human niche is formed through the process of symbiosis is taken into consideration along with an assessment of the irony behind the traditional, yet contradictory approach to studying life, studying the dead, and the ethics of such biological curriculum. Technology and its co-evolution with the human species is also examined. Discussing this history is important because it helps us comprehend where humans as a technological species originated in order that we may better understand the relationships we have with the technology of the present and where these relationships are headed as we look toward the technology of the future. Symbiosis between technology and the human species has pushed us into a post-human condition so that what we consider to be a natural state of existence no longer lines up with what we study in biology classrooms as being natural. With the symbiotic relationship we have with technology redefining the existence of the natural human we have to some degree lost touch with our niche in the biological world. My final argument is that we need to create an eco-curriculum delivered through an ecopedagogical approach in order to help our students think critically and see relatedness between what they are expected to know and their lived experiences within the realms of the natural and artificial.