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Why getting Montana's rural schools up to internet speed is such an incredibly slow go

June 15, 2017View for printing

Viewed from Highway 12, Woodman School is a pastoral painter's dream. A bell tower tops the white wooden schoolhouse, which sits on a hill 10 miles west of Lolo. Cows graze in a pasture out front or lay across a dirt road leading up to the grounds.

The teaching that occurs inside, however, is decidedly modern--for the most part. "We're a Google school," middle-school teacher Charise Jacobson says. Students have access to a computer lab with 10 laptops, and teachers can deploy another eight Chromebooks as needed. Everyone uses Google Drive to share files and Gmail to communicate. For a school with 32 students in kindergarten through eighth grade, Woodman is pretty tech savvy.

By Derek Brouwer

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