Unique Challenges

Digital Learning Strategies for Rural America

Castle Rock, CO (USA), April 2018 - A new FBOL report profiles policies and programs in fifteen states and offers insight into what's working. 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 the 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.

The report, "Digital Learning Strategies for Rural America: a Scan of Policy and Practice in K-12 Education", provides insight into the innovative learning environment and course design developed at the state and school level to support the unique needs of the students who attend these schools and the 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 fifteen states across the USA, 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 an example of possible solutions to educators and policymakers who are tackling similar issues."