Virtual Structures and Collaborative Processes to Enhance Teaching and Learning Across Dispersed Sites: Some Implications for Rural Societies

Virtual Structures and Collaborative Processes to Enhance Teaching and Learning Across Dispersed Sites: Some Implications for Rural Societies

Ken Stevens (Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-942-7.ch001
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Abstract

This case outlines the development of a pre-internet education initiative in New Zealand that linked eight rural schools, each with declining enrollments, to collaborate through audio technology in sharing specialist high school teachers. The collaborative structure that was formed enabled senior high school students in the intranet to access courses not available on-site, thereby expanding their range of curriculum options. Replication of the New Zealand model in rural Atlantic Canada, enhanced by the Internet, enabled senior students in an intranet to access four Advanced Placement (AP) science subjects, each taught from a participating site. Within the New Zealand and Canadian intranets collaborative teaching and learning has developed. The creation of virtual educational structures that support and enhance traditional classes has expanded the capacity of participating rural schools and reduced the significance of their physical locations. The New Zealand and Canadian initiatives highlight the possibilities of inter-school collaboration to sustain education in small rural communities.

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