Inside a rural high school, five Advanced Placement physics students furiously scribbled notes about a video of a Yale University professor speaking more than 1,200 miles away. With textbooks open, they watched a lecture about Newton’s Laws on a giant screen, while their classroom teacher simultaneously offered examples of those laws in action. When the lecture ended, they had yet another to chance to learn: A physics video chat with their tutor, a sophomore physics major at Yale.

Students in Holmes County do not have the same benefits as students in more affluent areas. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide access and opportunity they might not otherwise have.

The unconventional flurry of both in-person and virtual academics in a school that had never before offered AP physics is part of a broader experiment that experts say could herald the future of education, especially for rural schools. That experiment is starting with these high schoolers in the Mississippi Delta, one of the poorest and most rural parts of the country.

It’s too soon to know how well the free pilot program mixing online and in-person learning will work, but one thing is clear: Without it, said Holmes County Superintendent Angel Meeks, AP physics in this rural Mississippi district “would not exist.”

Read the full article on online learning for rural kids by Jackie Mader at The Hechinger Report