Schools Offer Distance Learning
As more public schools face state and federal mandates concerning curriculum, administrators have been forced to find ways to meet the requirements. Coupled with budget constraints, some mandates have been difficult or impossible to meet, especially for the smaller school districts. Consider, for example, the requirement to offer foreign language in the public schools. While the mandate itself is a fair requirement, some small school districts are simply unable to recruit a qualified teacher. Many school districts are meeting the requirement by offering the course as a distance learning class. Technology has made many changes in our lives and schools are no exception. With the use of some basic computer, audio and video equipment, students at one location can watch a class at another location. The satellite class typically has an adult to monitor the students, being sure they remain focused on the class and the work at hand. The teacher - in this case the foreign language teacher - is present at the home location along with the student body of that class. But the students in the satellite class are not only watching the class, they also have the opportunity to interact with the teacher and with other students in the home class. There are sometimes additional classes "tuned in," depending on the number of students in each class. In some cases, the classes only meet two or three days each week, leaving the monitor of the satellite class to oversee homework and other activities during other weekly class periods. The satellite classes and distance learning are also being used for college classes, and continuing education classes. In some cities, schools or libraries are opening their doors to the public for citizens to learn a new skill or get a degree. The convenience, especially in rural areas, is opening doors to many people who would otherwise miss the opportunity to further their education.
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