When it comes to education, everything’s OK in Oklahoma

October 12, 2010 - 0 Comments

Dr. Lance Ford and Scott L. Parks, Superintendent of Howe Public Schools in Oklahoma recently sat down at the video teleconferencing (VTC) units to conduct a Webinar for Cisco all about the use of VTC in education. During this Webinar, they discussed why the Howe Public Schools have been so quick to embrace VTC, and what the benefits for the school system have been since they have done so.

The story of why the Howe Public Schools have turned to VTC in their classrooms is interesting, and truly goes hand-in-hand with what we’ve been talking about on Break Down the Walls since we launched this blog.

Howe Public Schools is a K-12 school district that services a small corner of southeast Oklahoma. The region is rural and isolated and has about 500 students of which nearly 88 percent are high poverty.

When Scott L. Parks joined the district 12 years ago, he realized just how isolated the district was, with the closest city one hour away in Arkansas. The technology was poor, with computers labs filled with aging computers with simple dial-up connections and no real Internet access for teachers in their offices.

Scott realized that the district was “just existing” and not flourishing. The district was struggling academically and financially and needed to make changes in how it taught students and the educational experiences they provided for them.

The introduction of VTC technology provides resources for students that simply didn’t exist before. Foreign language, advanced placement and other high-level courses were not available. By introducing VTC, the school district was able to bring these courses to their students without expending too many of their limited resources.

In addition, many of the students in the Howe Public Schools will never leave the county or the state. With the closest city an hour away, and other large urban areas two to three hours away, the ability to provide educational experiences to students, including outside experts and field trips, was horrendously limited. VTC brings them new educational opportunities that would previously been impossible due to finances and logistics, such as virtual tours of the Baseball Hall of Fame or the USS Arizona.

But students aren’t the only ones benefiting. Teachers have been able to use their VTC solutions for team teaching. Also, teachers, such as Dr. Ford, have been able to get advanced degrees through distance learning via VTC.

The Howe Public Schools are an incredible example of how VTC in the classroom is breaking down the walls separating students and a better education. To hear more about how the Howe Public Schools used VTC to enable a new way of teaching, check out the Webinar by clicking here (free registration required).

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