ERIC Number: ED348990
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Jan
Reference Count: N/A
Electronic Communities of Learners: Fact or Fiction.
This paper summarizes the experience of several pre-college telecommunications projects, with special emphasis on those administered by TERC, including an in-depth account of the evaluation findings in the largest project, TERC Star Schools. It begins by discussing networks and educational change in the context of changing teaching approaches and beliefs, teacher concerns, the role of collaboration, changing patterns of interaction in classrooms, readiness to change, effect on students, and the role of institutions. Collaboration, communication, and learning are then discussed, including student communication and collaboration and teacher collaboration on a network. Patterns of teacher participation are analyzed by contrasting the Science Teachers' Network, which provided teacher support and development but was not specifically linked with any curriculum, and TERC Star Schools, which offered an integrated program that linked technology, curriculum, and teacher support, and documented evidence of changing classroom practices. Several studies dealing with the effect on students of their participation in telecommunications activities are reviewed, with details drawn mainly from two TERC projects: Star Schools and the National Geographic (NGS) Kids Network. Finally, factors involved in predicting network success are discussed, and the major findings from each section are summarized. It is concluded that, when telecomputing is embedded in an integrated program of teacher support and curriculum development, with an involved school administration, it can be a powerful agent of educational change. Additional information about specific networks is provided in 8 notes, and 34 references are listed. (BBM)
Descriptors: Adoption (Ideas), Computer Networks, Cooperative Learning, Educational Change, Elementary Secondary Education, Instructional Innovation, Program Evaluation, Student Attitudes, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Student Relationship, Telecommunications, Teleconferencing
TERC Communications, 2067 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140.
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Department of Education, Washington, DC.; National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: TERC Communications, Cambridge, MA.