Education: Beam Me Up, Students Satellite

TV brings live teachers to far-flung schools

In public education, geography has long been destiny. Crippled by limited staffs and tight budgets, rural districts have often found it impossible to offer courses such as Russian and physics that are considered standard by their more cosmopolitan counterparts. Now all that is changing, thanks to the arrival of the electronic classroom. By using interactive video, even small, disadvantaged schools are gaining access to the most sophisticated instruction available, and all without losing the human touch.

The formats and course offerings are as varied as the sponsors, which include federal and state governments, universities, public-television stations and commercial networks. Unlike Whittle...

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