Colorado opens new Immersive Education Clubs

Colorado Immersive Education iED Club


Boston, MA - January 30, 2015

iED 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) ClubUnited States National Parks Service banner

Castle of the Plains

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

Bent's Old FortUnited States National Parks Service banner


Related Immersive Education resources and materials: