Technology Shaping Education in Rural Communities

Technology Shaping Education in Rural Communities

Jillian R. Powers (Florida Atlantic University, USA), Ann T. Musgrove (Florida Atlantic University, USA) and Jessica A. Lowe (Florida Atlantic University, USA)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2838-8.ch009
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Abstract

This chapter examines how technology has shaped the teaching and learning process for individuals residing in rural areas. Research on the history and unique needs of rural communities and the impact of technology in these areas is discussed. Educational experiences of students across all grade levels, from early childhood though post-secondary education, is examined. Examples of innovative and creative uses educational technologies in distance and face-to-face settings are described from the perspective of rural teachers and students.
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Technology In Rural Early Childhood Educational Settings

Meet Maria a Rural Preschooler

Four-year-old Maria hears a car driving up the dirt road to her home in a rural agricultural community. She peeks through the curtain on the window and sees that it is Miss Sarah in the car. She enthusiastically asks her mother if she can open the door before Miss Sarah has a chance to knock. Maria opens the door and asks Miss Sarah, who is just getting out of her car, “What are we going to do on the iPad today?”

“We are going to read a story about a garden and then do so fun activities to learn about different types of plants,” Miss Sarah replies.

A few moments later, Maria sits down at the kitchen table with Miss Sarah and touches the iPad in exactly the right places to start the story. She is able to touch words that appear on the screen to hear them read aloud to her as she chooses. She touches a picture of a tomato and then an icon that looks like a tiny speaker that plays recorded information about the tomato plant. “A tomato is really a fruit not a vegetable?” she asks Miss Sarah. After exploring all of pages of the story Maria asks her mother to come and read it with her again, but this time in Spanish, which is accomplished simply by touching another icon on the screen. Her mother has never owned a computer and is not quite sure how to use one, but smiles proudly when she sits down at the table to use the iPad with Maria, who help her to navigate the device effortlessly.

Today’s young children are part of a generation of digital natives (Prensky, 2001). They were born and are growing up in a world filled with digital technologies, and are hence native to the digital world (Black, 2010; Prensky, 2001). They are exposed to digital technology by the adults in their lives at school, home, or even on the go. However, statistics indicate that young children residing in rural communities have less access to technology than their urban and suburban peers (Perrin & Duggan, 2015; Smith, 2013). This section of the chapter explores how technology has shaped the types of learning opportunities available to young children from rural communities. Literature on technology use and early learners is reviewed, statistics on the prevalence of technology in young children’s lives are presented, and examples of innovative literacy programs for rural preschoolers like 4-year-old Maria are described.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Blended/Hybrid: A course that blends online and face-to-face delivery. Substantial proportion of the content is delivered online, typically uses online discussions, and typically has a reduced number of face-to-face meetings.

Web Facilitated: A course that uses web-based technology to facilitate what is essentially a face-to-face course. May use a learning management system (LMS) or web pages to post the syllabus and assignments.

Traditional: A course where no online technology used – content is delivered in writing or orally.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education: is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific subjects, science, technology, engineering and mathematics, in an interdisciplinary and applied approach.

Core-Based Statistical Areas: A definition of a United States geographical areas based on their size and distance to metropolitan and micropolitan populations.

1:1 Computing: A model of educational computing that makes it possible for each student to be equipped with a computing device. Students may be equipped with a computer, laptop, Chromebook, iPad, or other types of tablet.

Rural: A community that is not considered to be part an urban or metropolitan area.

Learning Management System: A software application for the administration and delivery of online courses or training programs.

Online: A course where most or all of the content is delivered online. Typically have no face-to-face meetings.

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