GIS License Helps Colorado Students Learn 21st Century Job Skills

October 17, 2011

Redlands, California—Although GIS has been taught at a number of schools in Colorado for years, the signing of a statewide education site license with Esri now brings the technology to all Colorado primary and secondary schools. Students, educators, and administrators will have access to Esri's full range of ArcGIS software as well as unlimited seats in self-paced training through Esri's Virtual Campus.

"In today's education budget crisis, we are looking for ways to leverage partnerships, like the one with Esri, to give our teachers and students the tools they need to participate in problem-based learning," says Dale McCall, executive director of the Colorado Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES). "Esri's GIS technology allows students to do real fieldwork."

The agreement, signed by BOCES and eNetColorado, a statewide consortium of 75 Colorado school districts, also supports the integration of GIS technology and its related geospatial tools into the new Colorado Academic Standards.

"I think the opportunity for all students in K–12 education in the state to experience GIS/spatial problem solving is fantastic," says Dr. Roger N. Felch, geospatial technologies teacher at Castle View High School in Castle Rock, Colorado. "From my experience teaching a variety of high school science classes, the use of spatial reasoning and the application of GIS and other geospatial technologies to real-world environmental issues are probably the most engaging use of technology that I have seen in the high school setting."

To support the use of ArcGIS software, a consortium of school districts and education partners will develop a statewide teacher training program to introduce GIS into the classroom. GIS Colorado, a nonprofit organization representing members of the Colorado GIS community, is also providing financial support for these staff development efforts.

"Because of the many geospatial companies located in the Front Range region of Colorado, it is sometimes referred to as GIS Alley," says Esther Worker, Esri education account manager in Denver. "With this license agreement, Colorado students will have the opportunity to not only enhance their problem-solving abilities but also develop marketable skills that are sought by local employers."

For information about Esri software for Colorado schools, contact Dr. Teresa Yohon at An online process for ordering Esri software will be available in October 2011.

For more information about Esri's GIS for Schools program, visit

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