In the paper, Two frameworks for preparing teachers for the shift from local to g..., Barbara Craig and Ken Stevens (working at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, and Victoria University of Wellington) provide an interesting overview of introducing eLearning at high school, in particular in rural schools away from main settlements.
The suggestion is that the initiative should be built on a collaborative model, which incorporates a conceptual shift at the teacher education stage. The notion is that sustainable eLearning communities are based around collaboration, adaptation, cultural identity and innovation. As such, the collaborative model includes inter- and intra- institutional communication, virtual classes meeting traditional classes, and also (and most controversially they have found) challenging the notion of traditional schools.
They outline three main steps for the enhancement of eTeaching in rural schools, and introduce a pedagogy for eLearning which incorporates open learning structures, collaboration, learning circles, and building shared realities for understanding. A cybercell is a face-to-face group whose members extend their discussion into the virtual, and can invite in guest and expert voices from around the world. The proposed model appears to be scaleable and sustainable, which also recognises issues of access and equitability.
The abstract reads:
The research outlined in this paper is based on the convergence of two conceptual frameworks that guide the transfer of knowledge and skills from traditional teacher education, which focused on teaching in single classrooms, to open networked learning environments that include both inter-institutional teaching and learning and local and global community engagement. Through these frameworks, schools can be extended in terms of time, space, organisation, and capacity. This will be demonstrated on the basis of New Zealand research in inner-city urban environments and Canadian research in rural Newfoundland and Labrador. There are implications for the professional education of teachers from schools that have the capacity to engage with global learning environments, including new ways of relating to learners, learners’ parents, networks, and communities. Several of these implications will be analysed in the conclusion of the paper and should generate discussion that will inform current and future research.
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