Building Virtual Community in a K-6 School: An Action Research Project
From Virtual Communities
Alicia Iriberri, School of Information Science, Claremont Graduate University
Virtual communities (VCs) potentially increase community interaction, social support, civic engagement, and social capital. Concurrently, education research suggests that one important factor in improving student achievement is community and parent involvement. Would building a VC in a K-6 school to support information exchange facilitate parents´ involvement in school activities? How can a K-6 public school with limited resources build a VC? This paper reports on an action research project conducted in a public school to build a VC including such components as dynamic website and discussion forum. Findings suggest that school and community´s access to technology, teacher training and static websites are not enough to attract parents. Extensive analysis of needs and facilitation by a change agent is necessary to design and implement VC technology, to encourage community information exchange and interaction, and to ultimately realize the benefits of building social capital and increasing parental involvement.