March 4, 2015

Students to Give Bent's Old Fort Virtual Treatment

Bent's Old Fort
Bent's Old Fort
Credit Martha Perez-Sanz / KRCC (file photo)

Students in La Junta plan to visit Bent’s Old Fort Wednesday in order to virtually recreate its environment. KRCC’s Dana Cronin reports.

Students from Otero Junior College and La Junta High School are expected to take measurements of the site in order to recreate it on the popular computer game Minecraft.

Meagan Hotchkiss-Trejo is the Coordinator of Educational Technology at Otero Junior College and says the endeavor gives the students an opportunity to learn about technology and history.  "They’re learning and they don’t even realize they’re learning," says Hotchkiss-Trejo.

At Bent’s Old Fort, Chief of Interpretation Rick Wallner will be on hand to answer questions. Wallner says it’s a great opportunity to increase reach for the National Historic Site.

"There are a lot of people who can’t get here or won’t get here," says Wallner. "But if we have this virtual Fort out there on the Web, people from anywhere would be able to walk through the rooms of the fort."

Bent’s Old Fort is a reconstructed Santa Fe Trail trading post located about eight miles east of La Junta. Students plan to visit the site again when it’s warmer.

February 19, 2015

La Junta Jr./Sr. High School Theatre Department Presents:
William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream:
February 26, 27, 28    Tickets $5.00

February 18, 2015

Congratulations to La Junta High School's  Whitni Oquist, KKTV's Classroom Champion

February 11, 2015 - La Junta Jr. High School Students tour Lewis Bolt and Nut Company

Lewis Bolt and Nut Comany




February 5, 2015 - KOAA New Story - La Junta Students Build Virtual Bent's Fort:

January 30, 2015 - iED: Colorado opens new Immersive Education Clubs

Immersive Education iED

Colorado opens new iED Clubs

Colorado Immersive Education Clubs opened today

Boston, MA - January 30, 2015

Immersive Education Clubs open in collaboration with Colorado schools and the United States Department of the Interior National Park Service

The Immersive Education Initiative today announced that two new Immersive Education (iED) student clubs have opened in Colorado to advance the newly established Immersive Bent’s Old Fort project. In December the Initiative revealed that Bent’s Old Fort, a unit of the United States National Park Service located on the Santa Fe Trail in Colorado’s Otero County, will be reconstructed virtually in the video game Minecraft and also as a fully immersive 3D virtual reality (VR) environment.

The iED clubs opened this week at Otero Junior College (OJC) in La Junta, Colorado, and at La Junta High School (LJHS) in Colorado’s East Otero School District. Students in the iED clubs will meet weekly on OJC campus, where they will work together to reconstruct Bent's Old Fort using a variety of Immersive Education technologies.

In addition to a Minecraft version of the fort, the students will also use professional 3D animation, modeling and simulation tools to develop a fully immersive VR rendition of the fort.

Both renditions of Immersive Bent’s Old Fort, along with corresponding history curricula and teaching materials, will be available free of charge to the general public and to schools around the world. Online virtual tours of the immersive fort will be available to schools as a complement to the in-person tours currently conducted on-site at the fort by National Park Service rangers.  

One of several new activities under the Initiative’s Immersive Arts and Culture and "Learn to Earn" programs, Immersive Bent’s Old Fort is being developed in collaboration with the United States Department of the Interior National Park Service, the City of La Junta Colorado, Otero Junior College, and Colorado’s East Otero School District.

For details, or to participate, visit

Rick Wallner from the United States Department of the Interior National Park Service welcomes students to Colorado's new Immersive Education (iED) ClubImmersive Bent’s Old Fort



Known as the “Castle of the Plains,” Bent's Old Fort was a 1830s - 1840s adobe fur trading post on the mountain branch of the Santa Fe Trail where traders, trappers, travelers, and the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes came together in peaceful terms for trade. A unique center of cultural exchange at the time no less than seven different languages were spoken at the fort including English, Spanish, French, and numerous American Indian languages. Today, living historians recreate the sights, sounds, and atmosphere of the past with guided tours, demonstrations and special events.

Bent’s Old Fort served as an instrument of Manifest Destiny and a catalyst for change in the United States. The fort’s influence with the Plains Indians and its political and social connections in Santa Fe helped pave the way for the U.S. occupation of the West and the annexation of Mexico’s northern province during the U.S.-Mexican War. Along with El Camino Real, the Santa Fe Trail was part of a trade network linking Europe, New York, and St. Louis with Santa Fe and Mexico City. Opened in 1821, the Santa Fe Trail followed old trade routes established by American Indians that were later used by Spanish, Mexican and American troops, traders and other travelers.

Development of Immersive Bent’s Old Fort begins in January 2015. To participate, or for more information, visit

Immersive Bent’s Old FortImmersive Bent’s Old Fort

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The Immersive Education Initiative is a non-profit international collaboration of educational institutions, research institutes, museums, consortia and companies. The Initiative was established in 2005 with the mission to define and develop standards, best practices, technology platforms, training and education programs, and communities of support for virtual worlds, virtual reality, augmented and mixed reality, simulations, game-based learning and training systems, and fully immersive environments such as caves and domes.

Thousands of faculty, researchers, staff and administrators are members of the Immersive Education Initiative, who together service millions of academic and corporate learners worldwide.

Chapters support the rapid and continued growth of Immersive Education throughout the world, and constitute the geographically distributed structure of the organization through which regional and local members are supported and enriched. Chapters organize officially sanctioned Summits, Days, workshops, collaborations, seminars, lectures, forums, meetings, public service events and activities, technical groups, technical work items, research, and related activities.

To learn more visit: and


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