Interpersonal exchanges via the Internet can also include
a more 'fanciful characterization' in what Harris refers to as 'impersonations'.
"Impersonation projects are those in which any (or all) of the participants
communicate with each other in character" .
The Oregon Trail
Jim Meckel, a fourth grade teacher at Boone Elementary
School coordinated an online simulation Writing
Along the Oregon Trail, Internet Style.
The project depended on telecommunications (e-mail) to
simulate a wagon train trip along the Oregon Trail in 1850. Elementary
schools along or near the original trail were divided into "wagons" ...and shared
information about reasons for joining the wagon train, supplies to bring
etc. Students used published sources, local historians and even commercial
software to help them. [...] We found this project to be manageable and
Jim Meckel, Oregon Trail Simulation
To assist K-12 students and teachers locate and share additional
information about the Oregon Trail for future simulations, Jim Meckel and
Global School Network have designed a WWW resource site "Oregon
Trail Information Center" which includes links to journals of the
related student projects, commercial
software, and additional information from the producers of a documentary on the Oregon
In early 1997 Westward
Ho: An Online Simulation will embark on its fifth cross country journey.
The project lasts for five weeks and each participating class assumes a
"Wagon Identity" based on a real pioneer woman and her family.
Together, all the wagons from all the classes form the
Westward HO! Wagon Train which (virtually) leaves Independence, Missouri
on May 1, 1852 and follows the authentic Oregon trail out West. Information
on how to register is available at the Westward Ho web site. About
Online simulations like these are an excellent way for
students and teachers to explore the interactive potential of the Internet.
The Medieval County of Wurtz
Another impressive example of an "impersonation project"(developed
by Harold House and his students at North High School in Wisconsin) centers
around the "Medieval
County of Wurtz". Here King Harold Ragnar One Thumb and his subjects
recreate life in Medieval Europe as they see it.
Additional information on Medieval European History