Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Telepresence allowing rural students to take classes through interactive video technology

A new program is allowing students in rural Wisconsin to use technology to take classes they wouldn't normally be able to take, Pamela Cotant reports for the Wisconsin State Journal. Students are using telepresence, "a high-definition, real-time interactive video technology system that allows students to take classes from teachers who aren’t physically in their school." Students learn from an instructor via a television screen that enables both parties to interact with each other. (Journal photo by Andy Manis: Mineral Point High School sophomore Haakon Schriefer takes a precalculus class offered through another school district)

Luke Francois, superintendent of the Mineral Point School District, told Cotant, "The crux of the effort is to level the playing field [so] students going to rural schools have every opportunity afforded to them as do suburban and urban schools. We are in our infancy and just getting started with what’s possible.” (Best Places map: Mineral Point, Wisc.)

Spanish students are able to communicate with a class in Mexico, while other students took a virtual trip to the Penn Museum in Philadelphia, Cotant writes. Other endeavors planned for Mineral Point schools include the chance for students to earn college credits through literature and music appreciation courses. (Read more)

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