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Video Conferencing Brings Field Trips to Life

January 31, 2018

I have been saying it for a while now: video conferencing is going to be a game changer when it comes to education, healthcare, routine professional training, and more. Distance learning offers access to otherwise inaccessible thought leaders, learning opportunities and events. The Pittsylvania County School system is the latest to take advantage of video conferencing.

A $215,000 grant was awarded to the school system by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant program. The funds are to be used to purchase networking and video conferencing equipment; the school wants to buy a camera and camera station for each of the 20 schools.   

"It kind of acts as an equalizer between what students here in the rural area have access to versus what students in a more urban area have access to," says Pittsylvania Co. Schools Assistant Superintendent for Operations, Dr. Jeff Early.

With this equipment, the students of the school system will have access to virtual field trips, communicate to students in other parts of the county, and eventually attend college courses.

This is not the first time this month the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) handed out a hefty grant. It gave $388,988 to the Vermont State Colleges System to strengthen the distance education system, an occurrence happening in 35 other states.

“Distance Learning technology has the potential to close the geographic divide faced by rural America and bring resources to communities that are not readily available,” said Acting State Director for Vermont and New Hampshire Jon-Michael Muise. 

Ultimately, the USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program will hand out 72 grants, worth roughly $23.6 million. It will drive broadband while linking rural areas to higher education and telemedicine.

Distance learning; is it the education of the future? 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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