FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Monday, December 18, 2006

One-Room Schoolhouses Fading into History

Among many examples of Americana that are falling victim to progress and social change is the iconic one-room schoolhouse. Particularly in the rural western US, small schools that have a single teacher have closed at a rapid rate over the past few decades. Of the 24,000 one-room schools that existed in 1959, only 300 remain today.

High per-student costs, district consolidations, desegregation efforts and a general population decline in rural areas have all conspired to take their toll on one-room schools. Despite local efforts to preserve them, the one-room schoolhouse appears to be a species on the verge of extinction. One must wonder, however, how these rural residents could employ teleconferencing and mobile technology such as that used by telecommuters to educate their children effectively at a reasonable cost. For instance, scarce teachers could be "wired" into outlying schools via teleconference with the need for them to travel long distances.

Source: CNN.com