The Monuments Project will create location aware app and website to share untold stories of WWI U.S. service members from Washington State
April 25, 2017 – Today, the American School of Paris (ASP) announced the Monuments Project, a transatlantic interdisciplinary collaboration between students at ASP and Lopez Island Middle High School (LIMHS) in Washington State. The goal of the project is to tell the untold stories of WWI service members buried in Suresnes American Cemetery located outside of Paris, France. The project will culminate in the launch of the Monuments Project website and an interactive mobile app.
The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) maintains cemeteries outside of the United States that hold remains of American service members. For many of the individuals buried in Suresnes, the only information available about them is on their gravestone. Students from ASP and LIMHS will partner with ABMC, local archives in France, the Washington State Office of the Secretary of State and the Washington State Historical Society to research both physical and digital archives to better commemorate how these service members lived and what they sacrificed.
“As we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I, we have an opportunity to help future generations better appreciate the individuals who contributed to this turning point in history and the complex range of their experiences,” said Thomas Neville, Social Studies teacher at the American School of Paris. “The Monuments Project will hopefully provide inspiration and a model for schools around the world to engage in similar work and use technology to tell otherwise neglected stories. It will also nourish students’ authentic historical thinking and research skills while contributing to our collective understanding of this period."
The stories uncovered by the students will live on the Monuments Project website, which will also house a digital archive, crowdsourced ArcGIS Map, and a blog documenting students’ successes and setbacks and the ongoing transatlantic collaboration between the students at ASP and LIMHS. The Monuments Project mobile app will provide a powerful, place-based entry point to this site. Individual graves in Suresnes will be represented as pins on a map within the app. Clicking on each pin will reveal an introductory primary source and information about that individual, their background, and experience during the war.
The Monuments Project’s start highlights the potential power of community connections in designing project-based pedagogy as well as technology’s capacity to bridge distance and facilitate otherwise unthinkable collaborations. A casual conversation between Neville and Gerald Lowe of ABMC revealed a local problem at Suresnes that, if approached thoughtfully with students, would yield authentic historical research and skills.
Neville had recently learned about ProjectWA, an initiative undertaken by Lopez Island students in 2016 to uncover lesser known aspects of Washington State history. They documented that history in their own smartphone app, Washington State Insider, using the 468 Field Trip platform. The possibilities for a transatlantic collaboration were evident to Neville. Not only could students team up to scour both French and American WWI archives, they could also leverage ProjectWA's experience with app creation and mapping to tell any Suresnes stories they uncovered in the process in a more powerful way.
“With ProjectWA, we found a way to make history more meaningful to students,” said Anthony Rovente, Social Studies teacher at Lopez Island Middle High School. “I knew what we started had even greater potential, so when Thomas Neville reached out to me with the idea for the Monuments Project, I jumped at the chance to participate with my students.”
The Monuments Project commences this week at both ASP and LIMHS. Those interested in learning more about the students’ transatlantic collaboration can visit MonumentsProject.org and follow the project on Instagram (@monumentsproject). The Monuments Project mobile app will launch in June 2017, available as a free download from the iTunes App Store and Google Play. Students and teachers that would like to contribute to the Monuments Project should contact ASP, LIMHS and 468 Communications via email (below).
About the American School of Paris
The American School of Paris is an international, coeducational, independent school of more than 700 students in Kindergarten through Grade 12. Founded in 1946 as the first international school established in Europe, the school's rich heritage and dedicated service to the international and French communities continue today to lead in the world of teaching and learning. ASP inspires and empowers students to become the very best they can be through an experience unique in Paris: an American education centering on the individual, in an international setting underlined by a philosophy of respect and responsibility.
About the Lopez Island Middle High School
Lopez Middle High students receive a high-quality education distinguished by small class size, robust academics, support for multiple learning styles and opportunities in athletics, art, music, drama and overseas travel that are rarely found in a public school. Academics, many taught on an inquiry-based learning model, include a focus on global education.
About 468 Communications
468 Communications helps organizations be more present with their communities through creative storytelling and practical use of technology. Sandcastle Web Design & Development is the technology partner working with 468 Communications to bring the 468 Field Trip apps to life. For more information on 468 Field Trip, visit www.468fieldtrip.com.
Lopez Island Middle High School Contact: Anthony Rovente | email@example.com
468 Communications: Tim Fry | firstname.lastname@example.org