Title: Evolving virtual communities of practice: genesis of a Spanish network of rural schools

Authors: Frederique Frossard, Anna Trifonova, Mario Barajas

Addresses: DOE – Facultat de Pedagogia, University of Barcelona, 171, Passeig Vall Hebron, 08035 Barcelona, Spain. ' DOE – Facultat de Pedagogia, University of Barcelona, 171, Passeig Vall Hebron, 08035 Barcelona, Spain. ' DOE – Facultat de Pedagogia, University of Barcelona, 171, Passeig Vall Hebron, 08035 Barcelona, Spain

Abstract: The isolation of rural communities creates special needs for teachers and students in rural schools. The present paper describes ||Rural Virtual School||, a Virtual Community of Practice (VCoP) in which Spanish teachers from rural schools share learning resources and teaching methodologies through social software applications. The paper describes an evolutionary model, in which the use of the social software tools evolves together with the needs and the activities of the VCoP through the different stages of its lifetime. Currently, the community has reached a high level of maturity and, in order to keep its momentum, the members are decisively using appropriate technologies especially designed to enhance innovative educational approaches, through which they collaboratively generate creative practices.

Keywords: VCoP; virtual communities of practice; social software; technology affordance; appropriate technologies; online communities; web based communities; Spain; rural schools; school networks; learning resources; teaching methodologies; knowledge sharing; rural communities; rural education.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTCS.2010.033320

International Journal of Teaching and Case Studies, 2010 Vol.2 No.3/4, pp.250 - 261

Available online: 24 May 2010 *

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