Castañeda founded and directed the independent Field School in Experimental Ethnography (1997-2000) as a way for undergraduate and graduate students to get on-site, hands-on training in ethnography. The Field School gave student researcher-participants the opportunity to conduct collaborative team research in three areas: the transcultural dynamics of teaching English to Maya children, the community history of Pisté in relation to 100 years of anthropological presence, and the contemporary Maya art of Chichén Itzá. The Field School was supported in part by a major grant from the Fideicomiso Mexico-USA, a bi-national organization formed by the Rockefellar Foundation, Bancomer Cultural Foundation and the Mexican Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (FONCA).
In 2003, Castañeda and Dr. Juan Castillo Cocom collaborated to create the Open School of Ethnography and Anthropology as a non-degree training program focusing on field study abroad programs. In addition to providing anthropological training programs, OSEA also develops and sponsors research conferences and publishing projects.