Digital Learning Tackles the Unique Challenges and Opportunities Found in America’s Rural Schools and Communities

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New FBOL report profiles policies and programs in 15 states, offers insight into what’s working

Digital Learning Strategies for Rural America

There is no reason that a first class education should be out of reach for any student, regardless of where they live.

A quarter of all U.S. primary and secondary students live and are educated in rural areas of the country. Remote districts can face challenges to delivery and receipt of a world class education, but new research from the Foundation for Blended and Online Learning (FBOL) and the Evergreen Education Group highlights how digital learning programs are addressing these obstacles. Digital Learning Strategies for Rural America: a Scan of Policy and Practice in K–12 Education provides insight into innovative learning environment and course design developed at the state- and school-level to support the unique needs of students attending, and communities that are home to, more than half of the country’s school districts.

Amy Valentine, FBOL’s executive director, said, “There is no reason that a first class education should be out of reach for any student, regardless of where they live. Digital learning tools and practices are filling curricula gaps, allowing students to learn from anywhere, and providing deeper contextual learning experiences traditionally unavailable in many rural schools. This report uncovers a number of strategies that states and districts can employ to boost academic and career achievement in even the most geographically remote communities.”

Digital Learning Strategies for Rural America offers profiles of policies and programs at work in 15 states across the country, including examples of state virtual schools, course access opportunities, blended learning models, district-led online learning initiatives, and regional partnerships.

John Watson, Evergreen Education Group’s founder said, “It seems as though a new technology-based education initiative for America’s schools is announced daily. Just as often, it seems, many of these initiatives fail. Across the country, however, innovative leaders are developing thoughtful, successful, and replicable models for supporting the unique challenges of rural education. What began as a pulse-check of rural schools’ use of technology to address the obstacles facing their communities evolved into a deep look at what is working to increase college and career readiness and economic opportunity in historically underserved districts. Each program profiled in this report offers to educators and policymakers who are tackling similar issues an example of possible solutions.”

Digital Learning Strategies for Rural America: a Scan of Policy and Practice in K–12 Education is available on FBOL’s website, http://www.blendedandonlinelearning.org/research-program/.

About the Foundation for Blended and Online Learning

Through scholarships, grants, original research, and strategic partnerships with a diverse cross-section of leaders, the Foundation for Blended and Online Learning is working to close the gap between the pace of technology in daily life and the pace of change in education. By documenting and sharing their stories, our efforts to keep the student, parent, and educator experience central to the conversations about the future of education help ensure that “school” effectively serves all learners and students can achieve their unique and unbounded potential. Learn more at http://www.blendedandonlinelearning.org.

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Amy Valentine
@FoundationBOL
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