A teacher of entrepreneurship at Clark Fork Junior-Senior High School in Idaho has created and sustained a student-run company that creates multimedia resources for local businesses. Among their projects: a CD-ROM for the Chamber of Commerce, an educational CD-ROM about wildlife that is available at state libraries, and an information kiosk for the local hospital.

Over the past five years, this program has trained dozens of students in business and marketing issues, while giving them hands-on experience at producing consumer information by using computer technology. These projects can be copied in other locales, through partnerships with local businesses and mentors.

Because the students’ businesses revolve around multimedia venues, computers are at the heart of their activities. They do not contract out for technical support for operating and maintaining their computers, but use the inevitable computer breakdowns as another learning opportunity.

The students also learn that presenting information in proper, easy-to-understand English is as important as attractive graphics. For many projects, students must conduct historical research and/or interviews.

Projects are designed and marketed with the goal of earning a small profit, which is used to get the next year’s projects off the ground. Funds also have been used to send the students to education conferences and workshops, where they have demonstrated their projects and gained access to new technologies.