Imagine going online to tour your old high school; hear and see a local veteran reminisce, or a valedictorian advise; or join a class of eighth-graders at a local museum. Welcome to the dream -- and reality -- of Campbell Memorial High's students and staff.
They call it the "Viewseum," and though it won't have much content until the end of summer, it has already been launched.
The project began as a proposal for the "Raising the Bar at the High School" grant application. Fifteen Campbell teachers and administrators and community representatives came up with a very 21st-century idea and won a $150,000 grant.
Although its stated goals -- aimed at developing complex problem-solving activities, an increased understanding of rubric grading (an explanation of how student work is graded), and the incorporation of a variety of technology-based assessments into the curriculum -- may leave noneducators scratching their heads, the results will not.
Preserving history: In addition to making students tech savvy, Campbell's Viewseum curators have forged plans to preserve history.
"It began because Campbell Memorial High will be replaced soon with a new building," Marge Ford, Campbell's librarian, said. "What will we have to remember us by? We started out wanting a multimedia tour of the facility. And it has grown from there."
It certainly has. This past year at Campbell, technology use was rampant. A study hall monitor allowed students to surf the Web. A Spanish instructor helped her class video conference with a Spanish class in Rochester, N.Y. A computer applications teacher taught eighth-graders typing with keyboarding software.
Another teacher spearheaded a project to track the success of Campbell valedictorians using hand-held computers. Students made instructional CD's to teach other kids computer lab etiquette or geometry concepts. The Campbell high television station aired on Armstrong Channel 19.
A hallway was a gallery for student desktop publishing, complete with digital photos, headlines and graphics. Web authoring will begin its fourth year at Campbell in the fall.
Web site: Perhaps most exciting is the Viewseum itself at www.campbell.k12.oh.us. When finally functional, it'll be the link to a variety of projects. Student-created digitized video and digital photography will allow Web viewers to see whatever Campbell's creative teachers can come up with. Already under consideration is a project from the social studies department. Students will videotape interviews with veterans.
"The Campbell Historical Society is giving us information," Ford said. "When we put it on the Web, the kids will have historical photos, like FDR's motorcade driving down Wilson Avenue. I can see this going on and on, actually archiving this information so that people can access it."
The grant has been spent in large part on equipment, all of which will travel to the new high school (in about 21/2 years), Ford said. Rob Truslow, technology coordinator for the school, has been instrumental in acquiring equipment, from digital and analog video cameras to editing equipment.
"I am absolutely pleased with what has been happening," said Louisa Miller, a Spanish instructor at Campbell. Her students' Web site research on Cuba culminated in a Power Point presentation -- a multimedia show produced via computer.
"What a great experience this has been for the kids," Ford said. "Training side by side with the teachers."