Distance learning is a way for students and teachers to learn from and connect with experiences outside of their own classroom community. Students can connect to friends down the hallway in order to utilize technology for communication, or with people as far away as China to learn about new cultures and share information.

We are still in the process of researching various distance learning applications. Most of them can be downloaded from the internet at no cost, others have to be purchased through district affiliation. Here are some links to applications we are investigating: Skype, ooVoo, Podcast, Desire2Learn, and Wikispaces!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cf9QZwCrK-Y video on the application of using distance for children who took a virtual field trip to a national park.

Distance Learning Advantages

you can fit the program into your schedule as you see fit
You can have a job without compromising missing work for class or vice versa
Eliminates commute time and time away from home
Program options are not limited by a geographic location
You can learn at your own speed, taking as long or as little time as you like
Increased familiarization with technology
Can increase your comfort with participation that would otherwise be inhibited by the presence of others in a classroom

Distance learning technologies can provide convenient locations for both students and instructors.Many of the technologies,
such as the Internet and telephone, are easily accessed at home. Others, such as videoconferencing, can be distributed from a single point (such as a university)
to multiple remote sites (such as schools). Satellite transmissions can be viewed at specified sites, or the transmissions can be recorded for later viewing at home or school.

Not only is distance learning convenient, it is also effective. Several research studies have found that distance learning is equally
or more effective than traditional instruction when the method and technologies used are appropriate to the instructional tasks, when there
is student-to-student interaction and when there is timely teacher-to-student feedback (Moore & Thompson, 1990; Verduin & Clark, 1991).
Many forms of distance learning involve little or no cost. For example, almost all of the homes in the United States have televisions
and many are connected to a cable-TV service. For these homes, it is relatively easy for the students to watch a public broadcast television
show or educational documentary. In addition, almost all homes have access to a telephone and/or the Internet, enabling the use of voice mail and audio conferencing.
One of the benefits of distance learning is that there is a wide variety of materials that can meet everyone's learning preference -- at least part of the time.
For example, some students learn from visual stimuli, such as video, and others learn best by listening or interacting with a computer program. If distance
learning courses are well designed, they will likely offer learners a wide range of choices, thereby providing the optimal combinations of interaction and media.
Contrary to popular opinion, distance learning courses can offer increased interactions with students. In particular, introverted
students who are too shy to ask questions in class will often "open up" when provided the opportunity to interact via e-mail or other
individualized means (Franklin, Yoakam, & Warren, 1996). Through the increased interactions, teachers can better meet individual student's needs.
Educational inequity is a major issue in this and other countries. Rural schools often have less contact with educational trends, fewer
qualified teachers, and more need for technology. Distance learning offers great potential for alleviating these issues and has been employed
very effectively in Canada and Australia -- two countries with geographically diverse student populations.

Distance Learning Disadvantages
Lack of discipline to follow through with course curriculum
Dishonesty among online students
Unforeseen technical difficulties with equipment (computers, printers, software etc.)
Lack of human interaction
Lack of socialization provided by traditional schools