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Support for a Learning Society

Support for a Learning Society

Taiwan's online EduCity represents an entire community, consisting of school websites called EduTowns. An EduTown represents a school and consists of the websites of that school's classes, called EduVillages. An EduVillage represents a class and is composed of the personal websites of the students and the educator in that class, called EduCitizens. EduCity provides students with online resources and activities. For example, using Web 2.0 technologies, EduTowns (schools) can adopt online application programs called service items, which are provided by the EduCity. An EduTown can also develop its own service items and share them with other EduTowns. The system also supports teacher collaboration for developing learning materials and lesson plans as open content. Furthermore, every EduCitizen can open an online course in EduCity (Chan, 2009, personal communication).

In one striking story, a 13-year old student named Ah-Chung won the online teacher of the year contest in EduCity in 2000 (Young, Chan, & Lin, 2002) by teaching Visual Basic to other students. The other students did not know that their online educator was a boy younger than all of them. Since that time, EduCity has developed a facility for EduClasses – a system in which any EduCitizen can offer a course on any topic to other students and educators. EduClasses now has more than 1,000 courses in operation and use is spreading from K-12 education to corporate training.

As successful as EduCity is, many participants' experience with the site is more superficial than the original researchers would like. Ultimately, educators should learn how to structure networked learning societies so that they continuously improve and deepen the experiences they provide to participants.

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