National Park ServiceU.S. Department of the Interior
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Pioneers in Distance Learning

Description: A cooperative agreement with the Southeast Nebraska Distance Learning Consortium at Educational Service Unit #5 in Beatrice, Nebraska to provide for distance learning technology at the Homestead National Monument of America. This technology allows rangers to provide real-time, interactive standards-based curriculum programs to K-12 students throughout the Nebraska. The long-term goal is to use this technology with more National Park Service sites and to extend the reach of the Homestead National Monument of America beyond Nebraska.

Geographic area covered: The monument has IP Communications access to 99 schools throughout the state. Sites include K-12 schools, Southeast Community College, and University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Kearney, and Omaha.

List of partners and relationships: This partnership includes Southeast Nebraska Distance Learning Consortium, Educational Service Unit #5, K-Nection (A Department of Education Star Schools Grant) providing funding in the amount of $200,000+ for connectivity, distance learning hardware, interior wiring, fiber optic exterior grounds cabling and technical advice/support. Homestead National Monument of America received a Parks as Classroom grant to purchase supplemental distance learning equipment and consultants time to create standards based curriculum to be delivered via the distance learning system to schools and interested parties. National Park Foundation is a partner via Parks as Classrooms.

Key success factors:

  1. The key factor for success is constant communication with partners. This includes all technical support members, curriculum developers, and grant directors at the local level.
  2. Goals were identified, steps taken for achievement, and monitoring was allowed.
  3. All partners "think outside the box" and strive for providing a quality product.

Frustrations: Keeping employees' skills updated relevant to changing technology.

Most important lessons learned to date:

  1. When working with the students via distance learning, it is important to offer open-ended questions for them to answer and provide for two-way communication.
  2. The technology provides enriching educational activities for students outside the commuting distance.
  3. It is also important to keep up with the technology, as well as provide lots of publicity and awareness for teachers.

What would you do differently next time:

Suggested resource materials:

For more information:

Name: Amy Garrett
Affiliation: Park Ranger/Education Coordinator, Homestead National Monument of America
Phone/Fax: 402-223-3514

Partnership category(ies) (check all that apply)

Fundraising __; Capital Improvements __; Facility Management __; Trails __; Design __; Program Delivery _X_; Visitor Services __; Tenant Organizations __; Concessioners __; Natural Resources Management/Restoration __; Cultural Resources __; Education/Interpretation _X_; Arts __; Information Services _X_; Transportation __; Mutual Aid __; Fire Management __; Planning __; Tourism __; Community Relations _X_;

Other ____________________________

Prepared by: Amy Garrett Date posted: 8/1/03
Phone: 402-223-3514

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