Early Intervention in Math and Science for Rural Communities
A technically literate workforce is essential in order to attract and maintain high-tech industry within rural counties. Early math intervention beginning in preschool and continuing through elementary school has been shown to facilitate peak performance, and to engage students in math, science and technology in high school and beyond. Access to this instructional material is not easy for many rural schools. An opportunity exists to offer rural districts access to this research-based instructional material through a distance learning application, and in doing so, to better prepare the next generation rural workforce for agricultural innovation in manufacturing and in renewable energy technologies. Todays rural leaders are well aware that sustainable development at the local level requires a technically proficient workforce and high achieving schools u especially to attract the agriculturally-related manufacturing and alternative or renewable energy innovation contracts
that are drivers in economic development for rural communities. The challenges to provide these key ingredients are complex at baseline, but these challenges are magnified with the underperformance of math students across the United States and in international competitions, the national shortage of qualified math teachers, and the slow distribution of often expensive, research-based math intervention materials. Telecommunications and distance learning applications hold the potential to alleviate some of these challenges by helping to distribute high quality and low-cost math education reform across rural America. Educational software will be used to standardize complicated research-based intervention techniques and deliver a low-cost intervention program that distributes scientifically-validated instruction materials to hundreds of rural districts simultaneously. Likewise, early intervention programs hold the potential to change a students ability to absorb mathematical material at a
fundamental neurological level. Research has demonstrated that the developing brain is plastic and will respond well to training programs and become more proficient at certain functions. If taken advantage of at the appropriate times, this refined proficiency is long-lasting and has been shown to have a positive effect on future academic performance. This recent research has tremendous promise for struggling students and teachers who are searching for the most effective interventions to help their students achieve in mathematics, however, this research is not yet widely distributed, it requires substantial financial investment per child, and it is geographically located in urban or suburban research centers. Access to these research techniques is currently difficult to achieve and rural communities are at a distinct disadvantage. The opportunity exists to realize the potential of both distance learning technologies and early intervention programs by providing access to recent
technical advances in early math learning.
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