Rural Oklahoma High School Students Get College Access via Distance Learning
High school students in rural Oklahoma schools will now be able to earn college credits
prior to graduation without commuting long distances or being limited to
Great Plains Technology Center, Cameron University and Western Oklahoma State College and more than a
dozen rural Oklahoma public schools have partnered to offer the GPNet distance
learning system, according to a report in the Lawton Constitution of Lawton,
OK. Participating colleges and high schools have received video-conferencing
equipment, so students can participate in on-campus college courses from their
own high school. The technology enables the students and college instructors to
see and hear each other, almost as though they're in the same room.
This year Great Plains Technology Center received almost half a million
dollars as part of a United
States Department of Agriculture Rural Services Grant for distance
learning, which it used to implement the live curriculum-sharing network and
video-conferencing equipment. At most of the sites, the equipment has been
placed on mobile carts, so students can participate in a college course from
their school's library or an empty classroom. The technology has already been
distributed to the participating schools and is being rolled out now.
Initially, the GPNet distance learning system will offer general education
classes with few prerequisites and it will add more courses after learning more
about student needs and schedules. Great Plains Technology Center plans to
offer courses for students preparing to enter the fields of health and
engineering, as well as distance training for emergency medical technicians
(EMTs), volunteer firefighters and community residents during emergencies.
In addition to offering distance education courses, the GPNet enables
colleges to record lectures for future use and lets teachers participate in
professional development and collaborative lesson planning. Eventually, the
technology may also support other online meetings such as parent-teacher
Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.