What is Distance Learning? Where can you find it? How does it work? Well, I’m pretty dumb, so I asked Mrs. Linda Chaisson, who is in charge of the distance learning program here at Poland Regional High School.

Distance Learning is a program in which students can participate in a class over ATM, which stands for Asynchronous Transfer Mode; ATM is a broadband fiber-optic networking system, which provides the necessary bandwidth capacity to carry real-time interactive voice, video, and data over telephone networks. ATM provides ample room for growth and the flexibility to adapt to standards and technologies yet to be developed.

Umm, ooo-kay. Now for those of you who speak English, here’s how it works: you are enrolled in a class that is taught in another high school in Maine and you participate in it through video cameras and microphones. You can hear and see the teacher and the other students and they can also see and hear you as well. Pretty cool, huh? You can answer questions that the teacher asks and even ask him questions of your own.

The distance learning classes available here at Poland are Japanese 1 and 2. Latin was offered last year but due to schedule problems they didn’t have it this year. PRHS hopes that there will be more interest in the future for Distance Learning. There are no plans for changes unless there is a larger interest.

Currently there are 80 Maine schools involved in the distance learning program and the state of Maine’s learning program hopes eventually that all Maine schools will be connected to the distance learning program. For more information ask your guidance counselor, Mrs. Chassion or visit the website: www.poland-hs.u29.me.us/phs/atm.html

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