Known as Holler, the site was established to open technology and learning conversation in the Central Appalachian region, as well as to serve as a delivery tool for open coursework and learning initiatives. The site is split into two sections; a social network designed for sharing creative and educational endeavors, and self-paced, regional online courses.

A replicable model

Right now, KVEC’s member districts are pushing toward a one-to-one environment, with some already in the process and others still in planning stages. “As we work with districts through our Race to the Top award,” said Hawkins, “we’re able to provide each district with a little seed money every year that helps them choose a one-to-one device and develop a one-to-one philosophy.”

In assessing the feasibility of KVEC’s model for school districts in other states, both Hawkins and Bowling say the concept is “highly replicable.” In fact, the cooperative has contracted with RAND Corp. (to serve as its evaluator) to document the process of “sustainable system change that we’re engaged so that we can share with other parts of the state and/or country what we’re doing and how it’s working,” said Hawkins. “And, if anything didn’t work, we want to be able to share that too.”

Bowling sees online platforms like Holler as another way for other districts to learn about KVEC’s activities and better understand how its initiative operates. “Ultimately, we hope and believe that what we’re doing is replicable, particularly for rural districts, which are different than those located in urban or suburban settings,” says Bowling. “We’re not any better or worse off, but we do have a different set of challenges to contend with, particularly when it comes to technology.”

Bridget McCrea is a contributing writer for eSchool News.