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High School Students Mark the Map

Hartford, Vermont - June 4, 2009

Students in Hartford are on the cutting edge when it comes to a new social studies class at the high school.

Juniors and Seniors are learning about the history of their town in a brand new class at Hartford High. But history is only half the lesson. They are posting what they've learned on the internet site called Google Earth.

"Being able to put the history to use and bringing it back in a more current way is what makes it so much more interesting," said Junior Ben Wilson.

Working with a local digital mapping company called TeleAtlas, the kids are creating a virtual White River Junction. They took pictures of actual buildings like the Briggs Opera House and the historic train station then created them digitally on the software.

"I haven't worked with any of this technology before so it is very new," said senior Nikita Wilson.

The first-year class was create by two teachers, Mike Hathorn and Woody Rothe.

"I think they are on the front end of a change in local history, Hathorn said.

"Because of time, we are not going to actually finish every building in White River so our goal next year is to finish White River then branch out," Hathorn continued.

By clicking on the 3D buildings, a brief synopsis of its story pops up for all to read.

"In a way we are just stashing history and organizing it around place," Rothe said.

It sounds simple. But the students are using the latest technology to get it done.

"If we just told kids we were going to do a course in oral history, they might not show up," Rothe continued.

The kids say high-tech helped the history come to life.

"That is what our generation is. We are brought up in a technology base world, so that is what drew me to this class," Nikita Wilson said.

"We go out and we do our interviews, we take our pictures and the ability to put it out there makes the history more interesting," Ben WIlson added.

The students are literally putting their town on the map for the world to see and the teachers say the class is unlike any other in the country.

Adam Sullivan - Channel 3 News

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