Eighth grade math whiz takes advanced classes thanks to video conferencing

Monday, November 29 2010

Josie Bradshaw of Pittsfield, Maine, is in the eighth grade, but she spends part of her day being tutored by a high school math teacher 30 miles away. Thanks to video conferencing technology, Josie, however, never has to interrupt her regular middle school schedule to do so, reports the Portland Press Herald.

She joins an Alegbra II class for sophomores and juniors each morning and learns how to calculate a point in space where three places meet and other concepts far more advanced than what eighth grade math can offer her.

The classroom experience is interactive for Josie, thanks to her school's video conferencing equipment. The technology is now serving as a new test of how students in Maine and beyond can take classes beyond the walls of their school buildings, particularly when they are gifted in certain subjects, yet bound to a rural or isolated school district.

The technology, which costs about $25,000, was obtained through a federal grant two years ago, superintendent Michael Gallagher told the newspaper.

A similar experience was had by students in Mobile County, Alabama, reports the Journal. One of the district's rural high schools became a pilot site for distance learning, allowing students to receive instruction that they otherwise would not have the opportunity to get, writes the publication.