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Motivation

In rural communities, schools are usually sparsely populated, there are only few educators (who might not stay there for more than a couple of years), and students might be disadvantaged in terms of communication and cultural exchange opportunities. All over the world, there is a significant number of rural school establishments that are very remote, especially in the case of primary and secondary education. Rural schools are distributed in several villages that are at a significant distance from an urban center, and sometimes very difficult to access on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, students' social skills lack encouragement, and their learning abilities are not challenged, due to the limited cultural diversity and sociability of their geographical setting. Several EC programs have focused on cultural exchange actions within educational settings (e.g. Comenius, eTwinning) and have offered the respective web-based ICT tools.

There is a significant body of related research, but no integrated approach. In the 70’s and 80’s, several video-art installations have explored the links between television, architectural space and community identity. During the 90’s and onwards, the artistic inspiration has caught on with research labs, which developed several distant communication systems. Nevertheless, previous academic research has not been evaluated with casual users in public spaces for prolonged periods of time. As a matter of fact, the most interesting effects of distance communication systems on everyday life, such as community identity, community awareness, and civic participation have not been documented.
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