ABS221 - Networking for the benefit of education in the Icelandic countryside. Formation and development of a network of upper secondary schools in Iceland

2.1 Learning and development in onsite communities and online spaces
20 minutes
The study explores formation and development of The Distance College, a grass-root collaboration of 13 upper secondary schools in the Icelandic countryside. The aim of the study is to understand the network as a response to societal changes and shed light on the way in which the network supports schools for the benefit of education in rural communities. An ethnographic approach was used for generating data and Cultural-historical and activity theory is the theoretical framework. The focus is on the development of practice in the onsite communities in the schools and in the online spaces which serve as a tool for networking and as a platform for distance learning and teaching. Engeström’s (e.g. 1999, 2011) model of the expansive learning cycle is used for analyzing the formation and development of the network. Findings direct attention to the importance of the interplay of conceptual and material tools (Vygotsky, 1978) in developing changed practice. The vision for the importance of education has supported school practitioners in changing their practice which involves learning to network with colleagues and using ICT tools for learning and teaching. The collective responsibility of the teachers and the principals in the schools and the way in which they are learning to develop a changed practice in and between the schools are noteworthy. The study gives insight into the way in which educators in sparsely populated regions in Iceland, respond to social realities well known all over the world.
University of Iceland. School of Education

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