WV schools get grant for video conferencing

Video conferencing system will fund remote classes, continuing ed for first responders.

Small, rural school districts often have trouble providing enough classes to satisfy requirements, but one small district in West Virginia has taken steps to solve that problem, reports the (WV) Montgomery-Herald.

The Fayette County (WV) school district recently received a grant of $490,657 from the USDA Rural Development Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Certification program to install two-way video conferencing for their students to allow greater access to a wider variety of classes.

"The total logistics of the whole thing have to be worked out, but it's a great opportunity for us to move forward," said Ben Pettry, the system's technology director.

Partnering with New River Health Services, the district will be able to offer two-way conferencing for a variety of classes - from one school to another and from outside sources. Also, local firefighters and emergency service personnel can utilize the system to take training to update their certifications.

The system allow students greater access to wider variety of classes. Two-way video conferencing allows for direct interaction between teacher and student in real time, so it's very similar to being in a regular classroom.

"We can offer a course from any place," said Pettry. "It's not centric to one particular location."

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