Amy Carnes, USC Shoah Foundation associate director of education - evaluation and scholarship, traveled to Chicago last week to observe and evaluate IWitness in action.
IWitness is USC Shoah Foundation’s award-winning educational website. It contains 1,356 full-length testimonies of Holocaust survivors and witnesses that students may use to create their own video projects with the site’s built-in video editor. It also contains interactive activities that allow students to engage deeply with the testimonies.
USC Shoah Foundation’s IWitness liaison in Chicago, Brandon Barr, trained student teacher Megan Kotarski to lead a lesson for eighth graders after school. The students completed the “My Story Matters” activity, which focuses on the importance of individuals sharing stories of survival for their own benefit, for the benefit of others, and for the collective benefit of the world.
As part of IWitness’s ongoing process of evaluation, Carnes conducted pre- and post-surveys with the students and led a focus group discussion at the end of the lesson to evaluate the activity’s effectiveness. The results will inform future development of IWitness.
USC Shoah Foundation’s IWitness liaisons are teachers located around the country. They organize teacher trainings and promote IWitness to educators in their area.