Virtual conferencing technology helps rural students collaborate with urban peers
- Arickaree School District in Colorado is using e-learning technology to help its 100 K-12 students collaborate with their peers at STEM School Highlands Ranch, which has 1,800 students and is located near Denver, District Administration reports.
- Using a teleconferencing camera attached to a mobile interactive whiteboard, the district is overcoming the disadvantages of being small and rural by helping students connect to more peers they can share and critique ideas with while working on assignments in coding, 3D modeling, music and social studies.
- The schools have, however, had to address challenges like working around their differing bell schedules.
Teleconferencing tech offers a variety of possibilities to schools, helping solve some headaches for administrators while expanding horizons in the classroom. As shown by the Arickaree School District, it can connect students with peers in neighboring districts, other states or even other countries, with the latter in particular providing valuable cultural and social-emotional learning opportunities.
The technology has also been used to connect students with experts around the world who might not be able to physically come to the school and speak to them, and to take students on "virtual field trips" to locales that are impossible for a K-12 class to visit on a day trip.
Also notably for rural districts, these platforms and hardware have been used to offer students learning opportunities in computer science and other subjects where finding a local expert to teach — or convincing one to relocate — may be a tougher proposition.
- District Administration Making virtual connections
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