Evaluating the social effects of distant education beyond the desktop computer

Abstract. In this article, we explore the methodological aspects for the longitudinal evaluation of a mass communication system that brings together a physically distributed educational community. There is a significant body of related research, but no integrated approach. In particular, previous academic research has not been evaluated with casual users in public spaces for prolonged periods of time. As a matter of fact, the most interesting effects of distance communication systems on everyday life, such as community identity, community awareness, and civic participation have not been documented. For this purpose, we plan to deploy an ambient and social interactive TV platform that supports social communication between remote and isolated schools. Here, we describe tools and techniques for a systematic longitudinal evaluation of the social effects of the media communication system on an educational setting.

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