This was an interesting item from yesterday’s Online Learning Daily produced by Stephen Downes.
School Cars: how trains brought classrooms to children in remote communities | CBC Radio
Alisa Siegel, CBC, 2023/01/12
I never knew about the school train program in Northern Ontario. “They were known as school cars and schools on wheels. Trains that brought the classroom to children in the most isolated communities of Northern Ontario… The trains spelled new learning for the children, but they also brought medicine, baby supplies, and toys.In the early days, in these remote areas without electricity, the trains brought light. And they brought social opportunities for the adults who were invited aboard the school car in the evenings to listen to radio, to watch movies, and learn English.” I’m not sure you’d call this distance education (though it was certainly remote learning). They started in 1926 and continue through to 1967.
We tend to agree with Stephen that this isn’t really K-12 distance education – as distance learning is usually defined as the geographic and/or temporal separate of teacher and student. Having said that, it is an interesting historical example of an alternative way to provide K-12 schooling to students beyond the traditional brick-and-mortar school.