Distance Education in Rural China achieves Inter-School Collaboration and Increased Access to Education
Weiyuan Zhang, Li Chen, Xiaoying Feng, Institute of Distance Education, Beijing Normal University, China
Asian Journal of Distance Education Volume 6, Number 1 ISSN 1347-9008
Interscholastic collaborative learning could not only develop student integrated skills but could also promote sharing of teaching ideas and methods among schools. The purpose of this study was to design and use scaffold strategies to conduct a cross-regional collaborative learning activity among secondary schools in China. The three thematic learning activities - ‘Olympics in My Eyes’, ‘Athletic Sport & Culture in My Hometown’, and ‘Regional Athletic Sport & Culture Website’ - under the theme of Athletic Sport & Culture were designed for online collaborative learning. The 45 specific scaffold strategies within an eight-stage system of scaffolding were designed to encourage effective online collaborative experiences for all participants. The eight-stage system of scaffolding consisted of ;- purpose clarification, content, group tasks, collaboration skills, data collection, data processing, outcome presentations, and evaluation. Thirty-six secondary schools, which ranged across the most educationally- developed to the least educationally-developed areas in China, were selected and participated in the study. After completing the study, the effectiveness of the 45 scaffold strategies within the eight stages was evaluated by participating teachers in the 36 schools. The study found that systematic scaffold strategies were essential for a variety of students to have effective cross- regional online collaborative learning experiences. The authors suggest that educational scaffold strategies should not only be used at the beginning of learning, but should also be provided at each stage of collaborative learning as a system. It is expected that the findings of this study could be valuable for educators and practitioners to use information and communication technology in enhancing and facilitating cross-regional collaborative learning.
Zhang, W., Chen, L. & Feng, X. Distance Education in Rural China achieves Inter-School Collaboration and Increased Access to Education. Asian Journal of Distance Education, 6(1), 27-38.