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The project partners who carried out the field work and developed the outputs are based in Belgium, France, Italy, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The partners have invited at least two schools in each country to participate as observation sites, one including primary age pupils (up to 11-12 years) and one secondary age (up to 16-18). More schools have been included when local funding had been identified to cover the costs of field work and - if necessary - to support school participation. Other schools - children and teachers - have been invited to participate informally, normally by means of electronic communications networks.

School practice, and where possible school pupils out of school were examined by focusing on the actual use available electronic software resources such as:

     Electronic mail
     Computer conferencing
     Electronic Forums

and, more generally, using the Internet and the World Wide Web.

Our methodology is based on an "ethnographic approach", observing and recording the collective experiences of direct users of electronic systems of communication in educational contexts. In each school a specific group of learners, usually a class, was chosen for intensive study.This took the form of classroom observation and group or individual interviews with children, teachers and other school staff such as librarians. Where possible and relevant, there were also be interviews with parents or other people associated with the school.

Field work has been undertaken by the project personnel. Any in-school observation has been set up through negotiation with heads, staff and pupils.

The Socrates' Mailbox project is financed by the Programme SOCRATES on Open & Distance Learning of the Directorate General XXII of the Commission of the European Union. The participation has been funded by the Swiss Office for Education & Science (OFES).

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