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Winona Middle School’s Cultural History Project

Winona Middle School’s Cultural History Project

In 1995, when the Internet was just arriving in schools, students at Winona Middle School began to use it to support and showcase a class project about local history and the changing demographics of their town. Students gathered information about their community by visiting local museums, searching texts, and interviewing local residents. They built a website to share their findings with one another and with their community. The website began to take on a life of its own, attracting the interest of community leaders, professional historians, and individuals living halfway around the world who found they were distant relatives of the town’s earliest immigrants. Students expanded the website to include the contributions of the wider community and built a searchable database of genealogical information and other artifacts.

Today, the Winona Cultural History website continues to be a valuable resource for the school and its community, and students continue to interact with others in or outside their local area to evolve an ongoing knowledge base. One of the secrets of this project’s success is that it leverages very simple technology so that it can be sustained with minimal funding and maintenance.

Source: Submitted to the NETP web-site, edtechfuture.org.

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