Rural Technology Benefits
Making use of Interent technology to create Neighborhood level Education and Wellness web sites that serve as Community Information Clearinghouses is one of the services provided by the RAIN / USDA-RUS DLT program.
Establishing local models of Internet program applications that demonstrate, clearly, the benefits and value to the community of this new technology is another important part of the DLT program
Distance learning can provide our youth and adult learners with K-12 and higher education learning opportunities that enrich their lives and increase their career options, bringing well trained, technology-literate people into the American workforce. This can be accomplished right IN the rural communities with-out building costly campuses or hiring dozens of instructors.
Telemedicine can help doctors and medical professionals in rural locations to leverage the resources of large urban facilities and improve the quality of prevention, diagnosis, treatment and recovery for rural populations.
Telemedicine can also work to enhance public health education opportunities by promoting preventative health practices and home care.
Telecommuting can open new job opportunities in rural locations and decrease commute and unemployment problems.
But to be effective as a human service as well as a technological service, the development and deployment of meaningful, useful content and technical assistance for DLT services is the real challenge of regional networking programs. Demonstrating real, measurable results from obtaining access to the new technology is the aim of this project. Laying phone lines and getting servers online is the technological backbone, but the intellectual and economic development potential of the technology must also be addressed by realizing that the human training component is a necessary ingredient to a successful Rural Utility Service.
As one of the first providers of public Internet access in the world, RAIN can attest that unless there is content available that quickly meets an end user's practical educational needs, the interest in the novelty of the technology will wane and it will not have served its social development service. It is of critical importance that we not only lay the lines of the information highway, but that we simultaneously create destinations worth a return visit. RAIN has been developing an Alliance of Community Partners with destination development in mind, and now has the major museums, colleges, hospitals, and university in the region prepared to develop and launch regional instructional programs that will become model distance learning resources of benefit to other regional Rural Utility Service projects.