BEV Logo

Project Summaries

The content contained within the Research section of the site is for archival purposes, and may or may not be current.

Planning for Virtual Schools in Electronic Villages

Planning grant awarded by the National Science Foundation Network Infrastructure for Education (NIE) Program to Virginia Tech and the Blacksburg Electronic Village

contact: Dr. Andrea Kavanaugh (540) 231-5488 or

Project Summary

The National Science Foundation has awarded a planning grant of $99,824 to Virginia Tech for the Blacksburg Electronic Village in collaboration with the Montgomery County Public Schools. The Blacksburg Electronic Village (BEV) is an established partnership among Virginia Tech, the Town of Blacksburg, and Bell Atlantic-Virginia. The one year planning grant (9-15-94 to 8-31-95) will build on a partnership alliance among BEV, the Montgomery County School system; and educational service providers, specifically Scholastic Network, Inc., and Busch Entertainment. The Principal Investigators on the award are Professors Roger Ehrich and Deborah Hix, Department of Computer Science, Professor Norm Dodl, College of Education, and Dr. Andrea Kavanaugh, Department of Communication Studies.

The goal of the planning period is to lay the groundwork for developing and documenting a virtual school, an unbounded educational environment with no walls, no halls, no bells, where (virtual) collaborative classrooms encompass the entire community and exploit connections among diverse educational resources -- schools, libraries, homes, businesses, global networks. This virtual school, to be implemented and evaluated over a three year development period following the planning grant, is enabled by the Blacksburg Electronic Village, or BEV, which -- by providing high-speed full connectivity throughout the entire town of Blacksburg -- offers a unique opportunity for us to create a virtual school.

In the one year planning period, we will undertake a series of planning meetings, curriculum integration workshops, and preliminary evaluations of network services and equipment for an emergent virtual school comprised of teachers and classes in two elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools in Blacksburg and rural Montgomery County. Also in the one year planning period, we will plan for study of the sociological, educative, methodological, economic, and political processes by which a replicable, sustainable virtual school model for educational (and community) networking can be constructed and sustained. We will begin documentation of our development efforts, and will formulate and initiate studies to evaluate ensuing changes, as well as document the processes by which these changes occur. The primary output of this planning period will be a proposal to be submitted to NSF for a three year development effort to create and evaluate a virtual school.

Andrea Kavanaugh, Ph.D. Director of Research Blacksburg Electronic Village (540) 231-5488