A. Gitlin

University of Georgia (UNITED STATES)
In todays schools, colleges and universities, learning is limited through the standardization of assignments, textbooks, and silo type structures( i.e.,learning is limited to the classroom professor or teacher and students within classrooms, departments, grade levels subject areas, etc.). Based on the principle that learning occurs best when students learn from the professor or teacher as well as from other students, ClaroNetwork allows professor teachers students and others outside the classroom to participate in the learning process. By doing so,a learning community can emerge based on the desires of a professor/teacher as well as an individual or a group of students. For example, teachers can work with parents and students to establish a closer connection between the home culture and school culture. Students can study with any number of other students world-wide that might have an interest and knowledge in a certain topic. Parent/ teacher communication can be vastly improved in that once the community is established a message of any sort can be sent to the community or an individual. The communication, as is true of the learning is two-way. Student at all levels of learning (e.g., middle school high school, undergraduate and graduate) will be able to establish a community library where any number of references can be shared. As important, students will have a history of their own work which they can draw on in the future. Obviously this also applies to teachers and professors that can break the isolation so common among these groups. And this isolation is replaced with access across department school colleges and universities. to form a high level of collaboration and interdisciplinary knowledge.

In this paper we will use a case study methodology of two University classrooms that have utilized the ClaroNetwork. Based on these case studies, we will try to analyze the strengths of the ClaroNetwok as well as the limitations that will need to be addressed. In doing so we will also consider what these results might suggest for some of the important conceptual discussion on action research, the building of learning communities, diversity textbooks and even the old student centered and teacher centered debates.