Kansas Broadband Stories


Award-winning El Dorado School System Connects Every Student with Technology

Middle School student using IPOD

The El Dorado Public Schools have invested in laptops for every high school student that they may use 24/7 and I-Pod touch units for every middle school student that they may use during the day. The award-winning El Dorado School District has learned that you have to do more than buy equipment:

  • You have review Internet access needs with your provider every year.
  •  You cannot afford both laptops and textbooks for your students. You have to move away from print resources and toward online resources.
  • You have to invest in training for both teachers and students. Nothing is going to happen just because you pass out equipment.
  •  You have to respect the students’ developing creativity.
  • You have to keep the parents aware of what their children are accomplishing.

From a story sent by Doug and Julie Jensen, El Dorado Schools

Learning Academy Helps Students who Need Independent Approach

The 21st Century Learning Academy is an online training program open to continuing enrollment. Students can enroll in courses, complete at their own pace, and enroll in others when they are ready. The program has been useful to students who need more independent study, students whose parents prefer a homeschool education, and to high-risk students who cannot participate safely in their local school district. A number of students have been able to complete their high school degree after failing to do so in more conventional school settings. There are teachers who stay in touch by mentoring and tutoring as necessary.

From a story sent by Shawn McGuire, 21st Century Learning Academy

Lindsborg School District Offers Technology Access to Community Residents

The Lindsborg school district has started a community accessible technology center. For a small fee community residents are able to access the technology in the center and to receive assistance from staff. It has been well-received by the community. It is a great way for students to connect with older community residents and give back to the community by teaching what they know.

Contributed by Holly Lofton, Lindsborg Community Library


Health Care Professionals have Online Training Opportunities

Rebecca Brown

 Rebecca Brown, at the University of Kansas Medical Center, has shared with us how she presents medical information workshops for the Kansas Area Health Education Center. She described a Health Literacy workshop she taught on Elluminate. Health professionals need to make sure that Kansans understand health instructions, proper dosages, health documents. Medication errors by low-literacy adults can  increase costs and cause many health problems.

There is a growing online education presence for all kinds of health professionals across Kansas. 25% of training events are delivered online and that is expected to grow. There have been few technical problems.

From a story sent by Rebecca Brown

Dr. Eve-Lynn Nelson uses Telemedicine to help Kansas Children Cope with Mental Illness

By age 18, one in five American children will have a diagnosable mental health condition and millions more will have been in situations where they could have benefitted from mental health counseling. With 99 of 105 Kansas counties designated as mental health professional shortage areas, only a handful of these children might receive necessary treatment.

School of Medicine researchers such as Eve-Lynn Nelson, PhD, are finding ways to change that. Dr. Nelson, an associate professor of pediatrics, is one of three School of Medicine psychologists providing regular pediatric mental health services via video conference to Kansas children, a practice known as telemedicine

Due to a shortage of licensed child psychologists, a Kansas child could wait six months for an in-person visit. However, a child seen through telemedicine could begin treatment within a month. In addition to quicker access, other benefits of pediatric behavioral telepsychology include the ability to get additional information from school officials and reduced travel time for the patient.

With appropriate technology and training, a telemedicine visit is no different from a face-to-face visit. “Successful treatment depends on relationship building, which is no more challenging in telemedicine than in person,” said Dr. Nelson. “We are still able to forge close doctor-patient relationships even though we are often communicating over long distances.”

From a story written by Cori Ast – Used with permission from the KU Telemedicine site

Help is Close to Home for Children with Autism in Kansas

Telehealth services are also being used to diagnose and care for children with autism. With telehealth, it is possible for doctors, parents and teachers to work together to plan a course of treatment.

Presently, there is no medical test for autism. A diagnosis is based on observed behavior and educational and psychological testing. Signs of autism disorders include impaired social interactions, delayed communication skills, and restricted repetitive and persistent or exaggerated patterns of behavior.

Timing is critical in diagnosing and treating autism, but it can be difficult for parents to get a child to a specialist for the necessary screening. It is important for parents to be aware that quality care is available throughout Kansas for telecare. Often through telehealth a doctor who specializes in child development can diagnose a child’s behavior through the screen. Early therapy and intervention have been known to bring about substantial improvement.

From a story by the HTRC (Heartland Telehealth Resource Center) News Service – Used with permission from the KU Telemedicine website

Knowledge of Telehealth in Kansas Can Save Lives from Ovarian Cancer
When Jerice Elmore was diagnosed with ovarian cancer she knew that she would need treatment. What she didn’t know was how she was going to get the expert care she knew she needed while living in Sharon Springs.

Like many people in her position, Elmore was waiting to hear what the next step was in her fight against cancer.

“I had no clue what telehealth was or how it was going to help,” said Elmore. “I honestly was not too thrilled or excited about it, being from a smaller town because I had always been used to having my doctor in the room with me at all times.”

Telehealth is the use of health technologies to provide care and remove the distance barrier between patient and provider. Through this kind of remote care available from the Heartland Telehealth Resource Center (HTRC), patients don’t have to travel outside of their local area to receive quality care. In Elmore’s case, she did not have to leave her hometown. She went to her local clinic and was able to work closely with cancer specialists in Hays, without having to make the two hour drive to that city.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. If caught in the early stages, ovarian cancer can be treated and patients have an 89 percent survival rate.

From a story by the HTRC (Heartland Telehealth Resource Center) News Service – Used with permission from the KU Telemedicine website


Service Training Requirements for Nursing Home Employees

We have several employees of our local nursing home that come here to do their online continuing education. Their facility does not provide a computer/internet access for them to do this, but requires that the training be completed in order for the employees to keep their jobs.  These patrons are a wonderful addition to our library community, and we are very happy to help them complete their education.

Contributed by Lee Dobratz, Council Grove Public Library

ELMeR Use in Dodge City

We have used the video network in a variety of way:

  • Programs from one library broadcast to another library
  •  Training for Southwest System librarians and trustees
  •  We’ve had a couple of individuals do interviews. The company was out of state and paid to use – — ELMeR here instead of flying the interviewees to their location.
  •  A lawyer and his assistant flew to Dodge City, connected by videoconferencing back to their home location, and took depositions here. He said it was cheaper and easier than flying the people to Pennsylvania and putting them up in rooms.
  • Rate adjustment hearings

Those were all using the ELMeR videoconferencing units. Those, of course, require broadband on top of the daily use for our computers.

Contributed by Cathy Reeves, Dodge City Public Library

Citizens need E-Services

We have patrons come into the library to:

  •  complete job applications,
  •   file state and federal taxes,
  •  apply for unemployment,
  •  complete tests needed for employment

Contributed by Melany Wilks, Pioneer Memorial Library in Colby

Small Businesses Use Manhattan Public Library

I know of a house painter who gives bids on jobs through e-mail at the library. The day we chatted about it, he had secured $2000 in work.

I also know of a clock & watch repairman who maintains a page on facebook, handles e-mail inquiries, and sells rare watch parts on ebay all at the library.

Contributed by Rhonna Hargett, Manhattan Public Library


Swedish Gifts in Lindsborg

A firm that is doing well is Hemslojd Swedish Gifts in Lindsborg. They do have a shop, but they also do a lot of business through Internet orders. They offer dala horses, t-shirts, figurines, crystal, jewelry and textiles. And if you don’t happen to live in the Lindsborg area, it’s easy to set up a shipping account.

It is amazing that some of these businesses can advertise a wide variety of products and still have a unified look to their website. This one works with blues, pinks, reds and silvers.

Rogue Hoe Tools

Near Belleville, the Rogue Hoe Tools, sells hand-crafted tools over the Internet. The business has been growing steadily. All their tools are made by hand from re-cycled agricultural disc blades. This is not only environmentally friendly, but it is the best tempered steel for the job.

This website used a lot of black, which is understandable, since many of the tools are black, but it gives their business a dramatic, memorable quality.

One member of the family firm, Julie Kisby, is the Belleville Children’s Librarian.

Birkenstock Shoes in Lawrence

Footprints, the Birkenstock Shoe Store in Lawrence, has developed a strong Internet-based business. This is in addition to their historic store on Massachusetts Street. This has allowed them to build their large inventory of shoes.

One of the interesting things about the Footprints website is the very personal nature of their “About” page. The owner lays out his philosophy of public service in a way that is very effective. In fact he keeps a set of essays on the website, which is an interesting approach.

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One response to “Kansas Broadband Stories

  1. Pingback: Broadband Everywhere with Cindi and Shannon « lybrarian

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