Bridging the learning gap

Published 9:44 am Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Since Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1990, the way we communicate, do business, socialize and even learn has changed dramatically.

In today’s world, we can click a few keys on a computer, phone or tablet and have instant access to more information than the world’s largest brick and mortar library. 

Who would have imagined such a thing possible before good old “www.” came along?

It goes without question that the World Wide Web, better known today as the internet, provides today’s students with more tools for learning. When today’s student has an assignment to write a report, instead of going to the library or opening the encyclopedia set their parents bought years ago, they just log onto the internet onto a computer, type in a topic in the search window, hit the return key and, as if by magic, pages and pages of information appear on their computer screen. Now that is cool stuff.

Here’s the problem: many students in rural communities are at a distinct disadvantage when precious access to the World Wide Web is often painfully slow or even nonexistent.

The good news is the situation is changing. Last week our community editor, Italia Gregory, reported on a pilot program to bring broadband internet access to students in rural areas. 

A nationwide program, Charlotte County is one of two in the pilot program of the initiative. To date, students in 100 households in Charlotte and Halifax have been successfully set up with broadband access to their schools’ online networks.

By the end of 2017, 1,000 homes and 3,000 students in the two counties will have free access to their schools’ networks where assignments and education resources are posted. This access will give rural students the same advantages that their city counterparts enjoy.

The joint efforts of the Microsoft Corporation, Mid-Atlantic Broadband Corporation and community leaders are to be commended for making this opportunity possible for all students.

Betty Ramsey is the publisher of The Charlotte Gazette. Her email address is