virtual communities in high schools

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Virtual Communities in High Schools: Effects on Social Capital :

Virtual Communities in High Schools: Effects on Social Capital Leslie Hightower EDET 780 May 23, 2011

Research Study:

Do high school students who participate in school-based virtual communities demonstrate an increase in social capital? Research Study

What is social capital?:

“The sum of the resources, actual or virtual, that accrue for an individual or a group by possessing a network of relationships of mutual acquaintance and recognition.” Social capital is positively related to student performance. What is social capital?

Bridging versus bonding of social capital:

Bridging Literally “Bridges” those who might not encounter one another in their daily lives Relationships may lack depth, but they offer breadth Get to know others of diverse backgrounds Bonding Built between individuals engaged in tightly-knit emotionally close relationships Family and friends Little diversity in their background Bridging versus bonding of social capital

Supporting Literature:

Internet use Effects of virtual communities and social network sites that are exclusive to the school High School v. College communities Supporting Literature


Students belonging to an online school community would show higher levels of both bridging and bonding social capital. Participants were 264 students in a large high school in Italy 126 students were members of the school’s online community, 138 did not belong Both groups utilized the Internet Study

What was collected:

Scales and subscales which measure bridging and bonding social capital Likert -scale attitudinal surveys- intensity of social networking, and use of social network to communicate What was collected

What the study concluded:

Very high levels of bridging capital were obtained by participants who were members of the virtual community with frequent use Members also had high levels of bonding social capital in a school-based virtual community What the study concluded

More research :

School climate studies- multiple schools Longitudinal studies following ninth graders who use the virtual community High school drop-out prevention: Do high schools that have online communities have lower drop-out rates? More research

Implications for Educators:

Social capital is positively related to school performance. Social capital can be increased with the use of virtual communities . Implications for Educators

Implications for Educators:

Educators are preparing students to be technologically literate for post-secondary opportunities and their lives Educators must care for student’s socio-emotional well being Implications for Educators

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