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Digital Learning and Technology: Improving Education in Rural America


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April 19 Webinar PowerPoint Presentation (pdf)

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Greg Darling
, Superintendent, Humboldt Community Schools (Iowa)
Shane Ogden, Principal, Rawlins High School (Wyoming)
Brenda Richardson, Educational Technology Lead, Lordsburg Municipal Schools (New Mexico)
Pauline Younts, Program Director, North Carolina New Schools Project


Sara White Hall, Deputy Director, SETDA
Melinda Maddox, Director of Technology Initiatives, Alabama Department of Education
Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education

Speaker Biographies

Technology can help provide greater opportunities for equity and access in reducing the dropout rate, addressing the achievement gap, and ensuring that students are prepared for college and careers. On April 19, the Alliance for Excellent Education, in collaboration with the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), hosted an event to showcase four school districts from rural America that demonstrate how digital learning and technology have played critical roles in turning around their schools.

Promising practices included improving graduation rates through credit recovery options, increasing access by providing online and blended courses and digital content to students, and improving teacher professional development on instruction and data use through online opportunities. District representatives shared data and student outcomes demonstrating tangible results for students. Following the presentations, there was a panel discussion to further discuss the implications of digital learning and technology on rural America.

The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC-based national policy and advocacy organization that works to improve national and federal policy so that all students can achieve at high academic levels and graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship in the twenty-first century. For more information about the Alliance, visit

The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) is the national member association that represents the interests of the educational technology leadership of state and territorial education agencies in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. SETDA members work collectively and in public-private partnerships to ensure that meaningful technology innovations with broad potential for systemic improvements and cost savings in teaching, learning, and leadership are brought to scale. For more information about SETDA, visit

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