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Schools in Nekoosa prefer distance learning

February 10,2011 by: admin

Administrators of local school districts strapped for cash are hoping that more students and members of the staff buy into the idea of distance learning to enhance offerings of a class and thereby save jobs from being lost. Administrators are hoping that better use is made of the distance learning technology although it has existed for more than a decade now. If multiple classrooms are taught by one teacher it could bring more students from across the state if not across the country, thereby generating funds which are badly needed by the school districts.

Dozens of jobs have been lost in the district in the last couple of years owing to budget deficits leading administrators to believe that distance learning is one way the teaching jobs can be reinstated, especially if the school staff is convinced of this concept. The network comprises of 17 school districts and 2 technical colleges and connects students to teachers who can deliver classes via video conferencing and can also assign homework through email and fax.

According to Keith Johnson who is an associate principal of Alexander Middle and Nekoosa High schools, there are 3 classes that are being offered right now including a criminal law, civil law and Holocaust classes. Not many students have enrolled for these courses though. There are expansion plans to add German courses in the coming year. The equipment for distance learning available include 8 tv screens, fax machines, cameras and microphones and computers, to enhance communication between students and teachers. The system needs around 9800 dollars to be operated in year according to the superintendent. So there could be opportunities when a teacher leads one class and there are more joining from other areas through distance learning and paying a fee of at least 100 dollars per semester. The South Central Instructional Network group that was started in 1993 is contracted by the Nekoosa School District for courses the latter cannot conduct on its own. The program is constantly expanding according to the director of the instruction network.

There are programs like Read around the Planet that connects teachers from across the country who would to collaborate on a project for an hour every day. According to some, this will also give students a sense of life outside the classroom. However, there are no district staffs to lead the courses, partly because of fear of being recorded on television.

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