BISMARCK, ND, Dec 12, 2011 -- Jasper Schneider, USDA Rural Development state director, today announced that the North Dakota Educational Technology Council will receive funding to improve access to educational services in rural areas. Funding is provided through the USDA Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) Program.
“Through technology, rural students can have access to the same educational opportunities as those in larger cities,” Schneider said. “This grant will upgrade video equipment, bringing expertise and quality courses to remote classrooms.”
The North Dakota Educational Technology Council (ND ETC) received a $392,277 grant to upgrade distance learning classrooms in 46 schools across the state. New equipment will replace older video technology that is no longer serviceable and out of date. The grant funds will be matched by state funds to purchase and install the video classroom equipment.
“So many of our state’s small schools have a hard time offering a rich high school curriculum to their students,” said Dan Pullen, director of the ND Educational Technology Council. “This grant will help those schools provide more classes to more students with new state-of-the-art video classrooms in their own communities.”
Over 3,100 North Dakota high school students participate each day in classes delivered by video. Due to the difficulty in hiring qualified teachers in small rural schools, the need for courses shared by video has grown in recent years. The new equipment allows schools to reliably send and receive courses by video, thus sharing math, science and other teachers with neighboring districts.
Working with the ND Information Technology Department, ND EduTech and private vendors, ND ETC will implement the technology upgrades in schools over the next 12 months. The ND ETC is a state board charged with developing technology systems and coordinating their use to enhance and support educational opportunities for elementary and secondary education.
The DLT program is administered by USDA Rural Development through its Rural Utilities Service. The grant program provides expanded educational opportunities to students in remote areas. To view a list of schools who will receive funding, please click here.
Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development’s web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/nd.