Mediating the flow of professional capital: The potential of technology for rural teachers professional learning in Scotland
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Coker, H. (2019) Mediating the flow of professional capital: The potential of technology for rural teachers professional learning in Scotland. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 29(3), pp. 39-55.
Professional learning opportunities for teachers working in rural settings can be restricted by the time, distance and cost involved in accessing face-to-face events. The expansion of internet connectivity to rural areas provides new ways for rural teachers to engage with professional learning. This study explored the experiences of rural teachers in the north and west of Scotland at a time when internet connectivity was being expanded in rural settings. Analysis focused on the mediating role of technology in relation to its capacity to enable or restrict the flow of capital. The findings highlight the potential of technology for professional learning in rural areas. The gains are exponential compared to their urban counterparts as technology can enable access to the professional community, previously constrained by geography. The gains are not automatic though. While technology can enable the flow of capital in rural areas, it also mediates it. Understanding the mediating role of technology and the experiences of rural teachers when engaging with it, are important considerations for both future research and those working to deliver or provide professional learning opportunities for teachers in rural schools.