Distance learning is coming to rural Colorado. On January 24, 2011 Thegovmonitor.com reported that "two areas have been selected to receive grants to help finance Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Program educational projects in rural areas of Colorado."
This initiative arose in response to the fact that too many rural communities across the United States lack access to quality digital educational opportunities. Therefore, the article goes on to report, "El Paso County School District 22 has been selected to receive a $483,909 grant to install interactive video teleconferencing equipment for distance learning at 21 locations."
School districts across rural Colorado will receive the following high-tech equipment:
These new technologies are provided through the Rural Utilities Service, which is part of USDA Rural Development. The Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program supplies grants to entities providing training, education, and health care resources in rural areas.
Colorado is not the only state to win the distance-learning sweepstakes. Two rural New Mexico school districts have been awarded nearly $1 million in federal funds to expand educational training programs and access to health care services in rural communities, according to a January 25, 2011 Associate Press story (via News West 9).
The AP article reports that the districts "will receive nearly $500,000 to help 18 schools connect and create a first-time video teleconferencing system. Teachers and students in 10 communities will be able to share courses, initiate new courses and offer professional development for faculty."
Distance learning is helping to change lives in America's more out-of-the-way places. What the future holds for these communities remains to be seen. Suffice it to say, however, that thanks to distance-learning educational technology the wide open spaces just got a little smaller.