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Distance learning is nothing new: Polio introduces a new way to learn

Chicago students doing broadcasted ‘radio school’ lessons in 1937. —Bettmann/Getty Images found on Facebook

by Karin L. Nauber

Distance learning may be new for many of us, but the idea is not unfamiliar throughout the annals of history. (For those unfamiliar with the word “annals” it means “a record of events arranged in yearly sequence”.)

In fact, the first “distance learning” was the first learning to ever take place before schools were even a thought.

But we aren’t going to go back that far in history.

We are only going to go back a mere 84 years to the year 1937.

In 1937 a disease which was spreading rapidly called polio is described as “a disabling and life-threatening disease caused by the poliovirus. The virus spreads from person to person and can infect a person’s spinal cord, causing paralysis (can’t move parts of the body),” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Polio was affecting hundreds of thousands of people annually. . .


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