The Multimedia Challenge


Penuel, W. R., Means, B., & Simkins, M. B. (2000). The multimedia challenge. Educational Leadership, 58(2), 34-38.


Since its founding, the town of Belmont, California, has undergone many transformations in its landscape and identity. It has changed from a small residential community known for its parks and sanitariums, to a postwar shipping and horticultural center, to a suburban community with sprawling high-tech companies just outside its borders. The Belmont Then and Now project, completed in 2000 by three 3rd grade classes from Central Elementary, helps put Belmont’s changes over the past 150 years in perspective. Central Elementary students spent a year working with a local museum curator, their classroom teachers, and a teacher-leader to conduct research on the history of Belmont. Students collected old photographs of the town and its people from the Belmont Historical Society, took original digital photos of people and places today, videotaped interviews with longtime Belmont residents, and developed a time line of important events in Belmont’s history with narrative accounts in the students’ own words.

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