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Rural Teachers

Online learning in rural areas

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Maura Purcell Maura Purcell 1250 Points

Hello all,


I'm teaching HS in the rual foothills of CA. Reaching out for any advise for online instruction in rual areas. Mt district sent out chrombooks to all students but I am still hearing about lack of bandwidth, poor internet quality excetera. Many students don't have smartphones either. How are we to handle it? I have all but given up on even including video recording in lessons for the lack a streaming ablities. 



M. Purcell

Erik Lucas Erik Lucas 705 Points

Hey Maura!

My district is doing something very similar. The district is passing out devices (chromebooks), and is working with local ISPs to provide hotspots for internet access for families without internet.

Sharnae Pegues Sharnae Pegues 620 Points

My county's school system is giving out chromebooks to the students as well. I think providing material would be best like the video recordings you're doing. Make it so that the students wouldn't need to worry about not having internet in order to get the best out of each lesson.


MacKenzie Walker MacKenzie Walker 710 Points

Hi Maura,

This is an older post, so I hope that all is going well for you.  I teach elementary in a rural county.  What we did in spring 2020 is different from what we have been doing this school year.

Last spring when schools closed and they had to come up with a plan for something no one ever fathomed, my district subscribed to an online teaching website for the last three months of school.  Teachers got online to monitor, but the lessons were all built in.  For the students without internet access, they would come to pick-up site to receive paper copies of the lessons and food.

For the 20-21 school year, though, my county remained in person with one or two virtual classrooms per grade level.  I'm the second grade virtual teacher.  I started out with only virtual kids, but as parents decided that virtual was too hard and they wanted to come back to the building, I now have in-person kids, too.  When a student from another second grade classroom goes into quarantine, they stream with me for two weeks.

Now, our county has the issue of families without internet access, too.  They also worked with internet companies to get hotspots, but there are areas in my county that internet/wifi just will not connect; no matter your socioeconomic status.  So, this year if a family wanted to be 'virtual' but did not have internet access, the school gave them a chromebook to borrow.  All of my lessons are recorded on Zoom.  So, at the end of the week, I would upload all of my lessons to a USB with paper instructions, and the family would pick up the USB the following Monday.  These USB kids are always a week behind in lessons.  They return any work with the old USB the following week when they pick up the next USB.

I think that this USB solution has been good for these families who want to stay home because of the virus but don't have internet to be live virtually.  We do have issues with truancy and worry about these kids actually doing the work . . . As a teacher who stepped up to be virtual in this unprecidented year, it is difficult to balance all the extra things that have been thrown my way - virtual became virtual and in-person, while keeping track of USB kids who are a week behind everyone else, and add in quarantine kids coming with no computer skills at all.

Molly Gore Molly Gore 645 Points

Hi Maura, 

I completely understand. I live in rural TN, and it is so hard to teach students who do not have access to what they need at home during this weird time. The best thing I have been able to do is, honestly, have paper copies of activities for students at home to do who don't have internet. My school works well with that to make sure they have everything they need to be successful. 

Is your school requiring your students to video chat to check-in for class? Is it completely virtual? My school is doing the hybrid model, and it's terrible. Rural areas are NOT prepared to handle this. 

Some rural areas (and urban) have turned to TV for teaching; using PBS programs, actual teacher channels, since most people have a TV. While this isn't the best for interacting with one's students, it is one way to deliver instruction. Of course, paper packets, paper instructions to go to TV should be available.

Herry James Herry James 40 Points

Thank you for sharing your experience as a teacher during the COVID-19 pandemic. It sounds like you and your school district have been working hard to adapt and provide options for students and families with varying needs and circumstances.

Balancing virtual and in-person teaching, as well as managing USB and quarantine students, can certainly be a challenge. It's important to acknowledge the extra work and stress that this may cause for teachers and to make sure that they have the support they need to be successful.

It's great to hear that your district is providing resources such as hotspots and chromebooks

I teach in a historic rural area in Alabama. The challanges that we face are limited internet access. At the peak of the pandemic, chromebooks and wifi devices were given to those who needed it. What we came to discover was that the devices still didnt work due to connection issues in their area. What other methods were used to reach your students? 

JonyGurt Gurtik JonyGurt 20 Points


I'm a teacher in a rural area, and I'm here to share some tips on how to handle online learning in rural areas.
One of the biggest challenges we face is limited internet access. Even when families are given chromebooks and hotspots, the internet connection in rural areas can be spotty at best. This makes it difficult for students to participate in live lessons and to access online resources.
One way to deal with this is to provide students with pre-recorded lessons. This way, students can watch the lessons at their own pace and don't have to worry about the internet connection. You can also provide students with paper copies of the lessons, so they have something to refer to if they get stuck.
Another challenge is that many students in rural areas don't have smartphones or computers. This makes it difficult for them to access online resources, even if they have internet access. One way to deal with this is to provide students with access to a computer lab at school. You can also work with your school library to set up a lending program for laptops and tablets.
Finally, it's important to be flexible and creative when it comes to online learning in rural areas. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and you'll need to tailor your approach to the specific needs of your students and community. But with a little creativity, you can overcome the challenges of online learning and provide your students with a quality education.

Here are some additional tips:

Use a variety of teaching methods. Don't rely solely on live lessons. Pre-recorded lessons, paper copies of the lessons, and computer labs can all be effective ways to reach students in rural areas.
Be patient. It may take some time for students to adjust to online learning. Be patient with them and offer them extra support as needed.
Communicate with families regularly. Keep families informed of your expectations and how their students are doing. This will help to ensure that students are getting the support they need at home.
Get creative! There are no limits to what you can do to provide a quality education to students in rural areas. Be creative and find solutions that work for your students and community. For information and tips on optimizing online investing to free up finances for online learning resources, you can explore the resources available at that offer valuable perspectives on this topic.

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