Digital learning has the potential to revive rural areas around the world. By providing students with access to high-quality instruction and course materials, we can help to improve their education and give them the tools they need to succeed in the 21st century.

Remote course access is a key component of digital learning, and it has the potential to bring high-quality education to rural areas that would otherwise be unable to afford it. In addition to this, digital learning also offers other benefits, such as increased engagement and motivation, improved communication and collaboration, and greater opportunities for creativity and innovation.

The potential for digital learning is vast, and as the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, we are just scratching the surface of what is possible. With the right resources, we can help to bring high-quality low-cost or even free education to rural students around the UK, Europe and the world and give them the chance to thrive in the 21st century in this ever-changing world.

Why Digital Learning?

There are several reasons why digital learning could be a boon for rural areas.

First, digital learning can take place anywhere there is an internet connection. This means that students in rural areas would no longer be limited to the resources available in their local community. They would have access to the same courses and materials as students in larger cities.

Second, digital learning is more cost-effective than traditional education. It requires no physical infrastructure, such as classrooms or textbooks, and can be delivered at a fraction of the cost of traditional education.

Third, digital learning is more flexible than traditional education. Students can learn at their own pace and in their own time, which is ideal for students who need to work or care for their families.

All of these factors make digital learning an excellent option for reviving rural areas.

What Are the Benefits?

There are a number of benefits to using digital learning in rural areas. One solution to the rural education gap is to realign primary and secondary curricula to better meet the changing workforce needs in rural areas. In addition, independent schools offer an alternative to traditional schooling models in rural communities. Previous research states that cities have a significant advantage in allocating scarce educational resources; school education in rural areas suffers as a result.

Despite the challenges, there are ways to revive rural education.

One solution is to realign primary and secondary curricula so that rural students have access to the same quality of education as their urban counterparts. Another solution is to make greater use of digital learning tools, which can help to level the playing field (pardon the pun) for rural students.

Rural schools are often the lifeblood of their communities, and it is important to keep them open. By working together and pooling global resources, groups can find ways to bring new forms of digital-led education to rural areas, and help to revive these vital parts of society.

Case Study: One Rural Area That Has Embraced Digital Learning

There is a lack of scientific research connecting rural regions, rural education, and digital learning. Although there are some isolated examples of successful rural digital learning initiatives, systematic analysis of what has and has not worked is lacking. In addition, there is little discussion of the potential for community schools to help revive rural areas.

One example of a rural area that has embraced digital learning is in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. In 2012, the Elkhorn Area School District piloted a program called Digital Backpack, which provided students in grades 3-12 with their own Chromebooks and access to digital content and tools. The program was designed to promote individualized learning and address the district’s achievement gap.

Since adopting the Digital Backpack program, the Elkhorn Area School District has seen significant gains in student achievement. In 2016-17, the district’s fourth-grade reading scores increased by 7 percentage points, and math scores increased by 5 percentage points. In addition, the graduation rate increased from 82% in 2011-12 to 89% in 2016-17.

The success of the Elkhorn Area School District’s Digital Backpack programme provides a promising example of what is possible when rural districts invest in digital learning. However, more research is needed to determine how best to use digital technologies to meet the unique needs of rural students and communities.

Could Digital Learning Revive Rural Areas?

There is a growing consensus that digital learning could play a significant role in reviving rural areas. By providing students with access to quality education online, we can help them become more digitally literate and better prepared for the future.

However, there are still many challenges that need to be addressed before digital learning can truly make an impact in rural areas. For one, many students in these areas do not have access to reliable internet connections. Additionally, they may not have the necessary devices or resources to take advantage of online learning opportunities.

Another challenge is that not all teachers are comfortable with using technology in their classrooms. This means that there is a need for training and support in order to ensure that digital learning is implemented effectively.

Despite these challenges, there is great potential for digital learning to make a positive difference in rural areas. With the right support and infrastructure in place, digital learning could help close the gap between rural and urban students.

In rural areas, schools and workforce development are key strategies for community growth. By providing students with access to quality education online, we can help them gain the skills they need to succeed in the workforce and contribute to their communities.

What More Needs to Be Done?

Many reports on rural education give little attention to digital learning. At most, they tend to note either infrastructure needs or the potential of remote course access, with little focus on instruction, outcomes, or exemplars.

This lack of focus is understandable, given the many pressing needs in rural areas and the lack of empirical evidence on the impacts of digital learning in these contexts. But it is also a missed opportunity, as digital learning could play an important role in reviving rural areas.

One solution to the rural education gap is to realign curricula to better meet the changing workforce needs in rural areas. Increasing teacher training and reforming rural education curricula have become fundamental approaches to rural education reforms.

Independent schools offer a much-needed alternative to traditional schooling models, even in rural communities that are not economically stressed. With their comprehensive approach to education and community engagement, these schools have great potential to revive rural communities.

Digital learning has the potential to revive rural areas by providing opportunities for students that go beyond the limitations of physical space. Remote course access can help to equalize the playing field for rural students, and new forms of instruction have the potential to better engage them in the learning process. By tapping into the power of digital learning, rural communities can create a brighter future for their students.