Network communities

The vision underlying our work is that of network communities --- groups of people regularly gathering together on line to talk, build, play, read, write, work, have fun, browse ... in general, live online life together. (A somewhat richer descriptionis given in an early incomplete draft of a whitepaper describing the Meadows International work.)

We have been exploring this vision primarily in the context of school-centered network communities . The power of the idea of developing school-centered learning communities around classroom-fielded network spaces (such as MOO) has been established by the Pueblo project in the context of K-6 education in an inner-city environment. Fundamental questions remain to be investigated about the applicability, viability and sustainability of this learning space model across the rural/urban, cultural and socio-economic spectrums of contemporary American and international society. The Meadows project seeks to investigate fundamental social, educational, anthropological and computational issues in the development and deployment of internetworking communities : commonwealths of geographically distributed and culturally diverse communities of students, teachers, administrators, parents and elders, each centered on a separate K-12 school district and located within the context of the culture, values, mores and learning practices of that school district and the physical community it is embedded in. Our initial school partners have been chosen from diverse geographical, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds: suburban New Jersey and semi-urban Western Montana. Fundamental questions relating to the assessment of learning in these rich computationally-mediated social environments will be addressed.

Some more ideas may be found in a course outline I have prepared for Meadows, intended to be taught to educators and parents interested in participating in Meadows-like worlds.

Some papers of interest