Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rural schools still lag in installing online technology

Rural elementary and high schools have long had to be leaders in distance learning and online education to offer some courses, but they still face challenges such as small size and budgets when trying to put technology inside the classroom. States and school districts across the country are trying several initiatives to get more technology into rural classrooms to bridge a gap in rural and urban technological access.

Some states have started programs to provide technology opportunities to rural districts, reports Sarah Butrymowicz of The Hechinger Report. In Maine, every student gets a laptop, and all school districts have to offer Advanced Placement classes in Alabama through distance learning. Some districts, though, can't afford to provide such technology, and have turned to other sources for funding. In Edison, Colo., the school district supplemented its technology programs with a $10,000 grant from the Denver-based Morgridge Family Foundation.

Only 57 percent of rural households had broadband Internet access in 2010, compared to 72 percent in urban areas, Butrymowicz reports, and Alliance for Excellent Education president, and former West Virginia governor, Bob Wise, told Butrymowicz that technology "could be rural schools' saving grace" and turn them into "renewed learning centers." (Read more)

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