Two Colorado schools occupying different educational landscapes may hold clues on how to solve the state’s teacher shortage and to bridge the technological divide between urban and rural classrooms. About twice a week, teachers and students from the high-performing, 1,800-student STEM School Highlands Ranch use video and teleconferencing know-how to reach across about 100 miles of prairie to the 100-student Arickaree School District.
Students in both schools then collaborate on subjects including social studies, computer science, middle school math and music. Recently, the schools also took on the heady subjects of world hunger and poverty.
This use of “synchronous online education” gives smaller rural schools access to the most recent technology. To communicate with the STEM SCHOOL, a state-of-the-art video conferencing camera was installed in the Arickaree school, which rests on Colorado’s high prairie east of Denver in a county that has about three to five people per square mile.