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Encyclopedia of Networked and Virtual Or... > Cooperative Interaction in Virtual E... - Pg. 346

Cooperative Interaction in Virtual Education Ángel García del Dujo Universidad de Salamanca, Spain Cristóbal Nico Suárez Guerrero Universidad de Salamanca, Spain INTRODUCTION Virtuality is a new technological condition in which diverse forms of social interaction take place. The relationship between technology and the construc- tion of social processes, evident at different historical moments (Briggs & Burke, 2002), is something that should not take us by surprise since society tirelessly reinvents itself according to its tools, co-participating in a series of cultural transformations. As Broncano (1995) points out, "culture does not exist, can not survive, if it is not in an ever more technologically sophisticated medium" (p.10). However, our current tools have a special feature; into the area of education. The possibilities that have opened up due to the ways in which virtual technology acts provide education with new challenges (Hawkins, 2004) and reconsiderations (Dede, 2000), which it must assume with normality. In this sense, we should be aware of two issues: one, that educational initiatives with new technologies have not been as significant as in other areas of human activity, as for, example, in business (Carnoy, 2004), and two, that their incorporation as a new component in pedagogical focus demands certain thresholds in research and analysis that will allow us to better understand the authentic educational oppor- tunities to be had through the Internet--archetype of these new technologies--for the fostering of interaction