Otero College’s Meagan Hotchkiss-Trejo to Present at European Immersive Education Summit in Switzerland

Description: United States Government National Park Service (NPS) rangers and Immersive Education Club students explore Bent's Old Fort virtually while physically standing together in the historic fort in La Junta, Colorado. (Courtesy Photo)

Published: 09/30/2022
Byline: Petramala

Otero College’s Meagan Hotchkiss-Trejo to Present at European Immersive Education Summit in Switzerland

LA JUNTA — Meagan Hotchkiss-Trejo, Coordinator of Educational Technology at Otero College, will be presenting at the 8th European Immersive Education Summit on Oct. 6 - 8 in Lucerne, Switzerland. Hotchkiss-Trejo's presentation is about her work and the collaboration with the United States Park Service and Otero that began in 2014.

This work is to build Historic Bent's Fort in Minecraft and make it virtual and accessible from anywhere in the world. Bent's Fort is part of the National Parks Service and is located East of La Junta. Built in 1833, Bent's Fort was significant in the trade and expansion of the American Southwest.

Through Hotchkiss-Trejo's work with the Immersive Education Initiative, Otero College has the privilege of being one of the first in the world to use a new form of VR (Virtual Reality) technology for teaching. She is hoping to expand and finish this project in the future. The presentation is about what has been accomplished to date.

“This project has been on hold due to the Covid Pandemic. Although, we (Otero College and Immersive Education) plan to invite students from all over the world to help in making the finishing touches,” Hotchkiss-Trejo stated, “this will open the door for Otero College students to participate in cultural exchanges while at the same time educating students about a key historical place in the expansion of the West. VR is amazing. Another teaching tool to give appreciation to our cultural sights locally, as well as Internationally. Mutual learning will bring about greater understanding and cooperation through global participation with students, as everyone can contribute. The National Parks Service also benefits, as it enhances their in-person tours, as well as giving interested persons access via Virtual Tours with a computer, tablet, or smartphone from anywhere! It's truly an honor."

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

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