Rose, A., Allen, R., Fulton, K. (1999)
The Maryland Electronic Learning Community (MELC) is part of the Baltimore Learning Community, a Challenge Grant project funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Created as a partnership between the Baltimore City Public Schools, the University of Maryland, and corporate and public sponsors, MELC was designed to investigate how an electronic learning community could be created around the development and use of a multimedia digital library for teacher-generated lesson plans and activities. In addition to audio, video, image, text, and web resources available in the library, multiple communications technologies (i.e., a community web site, email, a threaded discussion board, and distance learning laboratories) have supported collaboration and interaction among the teacher and university participants. In this paper we present a preliminary analysis of the impact of these technologies on teacher interaction and technology use. We find a substantial level of teacher communication and collaboration across media and we look for evidence that the multiple channels of interaction facilitate teacherís professional development and increasing comfort with technology.