Hawaii is positioned to help students move into the 21st Century. A telecommunications infrastructure has been developed across the state that supports voice, data and video. A combination of fiber and microwave technology has been installed to link the islands and allows the Department of Education to connect all of the schools. Every public school in Hawaii is presently connected through a wide area network(WAN)to the Internet and working towards connecting every classroom through a local area network(LAN). Efforts are in progress to provide training on Internet basics and integration of telecommunications into the curriculum. Hawaii is recognized as a leader in the technology field for K-12 education.
"Distance education" occurs when students are physically separated from their instructor and technology is used to facilitate learning. The classroom can be extended and students in multiple locations interact with the instructor and fellow classmates in other places. Our island geography imposes barriers of space and time between students and campuses. Students living in remote areas have no immediate access to educaion programs, or where higher education programs are available, they may have access to only two-year programs. Other circumstances that limit educational opportunities include family or work commitments. With the advent of telecommunications technology, distance learning opportunities are created.