The tour includes 22 points of interest, including Plaza Diane, Vali Twin Cinemas, Homesteader Museum and the Sunlight Photo building, where the commentary includes the history of the Earl Durand incident in 1939, Powell's most famous bank robbery …
An innovative project enabled Powell High School students to produce a high-tech walking tour for visitors to the community.The Powell Centennial Walking Tour is a video tour detailing the community's past and present during its first 100 years. It includes video commentary about the community as well as past and present still photos, and ties the tour together using global positioning technology.
The tour includes 22 points of interest, including Plaza Diane, Vali Twin Cinemas, Homesteader Museum and the Sunlight Photo building, where the commentary includes the history of the Earl Durand incident in 1939, Powell's most famous bank robbery and the first such robbery in the nation to be covered live on radio.
The approximately one-hour tour is delivered through the GPS Ranger, a patented handheld computer device that provides video and still photography along with the audio commentary and a musical sound track. The device's location triggers the information about the building at that site.
Powell High School students created the tour through an interdisciplinary effort involving students in U.S. history, advanced graphics, computer technology, Web development and video classes. The students did historical research, wrote the script and appear in the tour as guides. All the filming and editing was done by students, and they created promotional materials including a Web site, kiosk exhibits and a logo.
Matt Condie, a national speech qualifier, appears as host of the tour, and other students, many with personal and family ties to sites in Powell, provide commentary explaining the different buildings and areas as well as the unique community history.
According to Ray Bieber, PHS instructional facilitator, who coordinated the project, Powell High School is the first secondary school to use the GPS Ranger system for an interpretive-learning project. The system, produced by Austin, Texas-based BarZ Adventures, is used by national parks, zoos and historic cities to offer similar tours.
Bieber said the project received help from numerous organizations and businesses in Powell and was made possible by funding from the Wyoming Educational Trust. Jack Brimhall, a former instructional facilitator at PHS, and teachers Brendan O'Connor, Deanna Swanson, Zac Opps and Karen Roles and their students were instrumental in producing the tour, as were the Powell Chamber of Commerce and Homesteader Museum.
“We are really excited about the opportunities that this project has provided for students to research the history of Powell and present that history in a unique way,” Bieber said.
William Lee Little, chief executive officer of BarZ Adventures, said his company had designed the technology and software to be easy to use, and is excited about the PHS project.
“I think Powell High School has done a fantastic job of utilizing their students' talents to create a tour that will benefit the entire community,” Little said.