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The evolution of an online community - a case study
journal contributionposted on 2007-11-01, 00:00 authored by S Riverin, Elizabeth Stacey
This article reflects findings from a long term case study of an online community of practice established through a network for the professional education of teachers in Ontario, Canada. The Education Network of Ontario/Réseau éducatif de l'Ontario (ENO/REO) was created in 1992–1993 to support and connect teachers from kindergarten to grade 12 in the province of Ontario. Its mandate was to ensure that all teachers had free access to the Internet and to each other and to encourage the development of skills in the area of information and communication technology with the ultimate goal of using those skills to improve classroom practice. The study investigated whether information technology had the potential to connect teachers to each other in order to build the capacity to create networks where professional learning could take place in a cost-efficient and flexible time and/or place. It was found that participants were early adopters who enjoyed innovation, that online networkswere supportive for learning but hard to maintain over time, and though they supported the integration of technology in the classroom, other barriers within schools could challenge this effect.