Institute News

USC Shoah Foundation Unveils IWitness 2018 in Preparation for New School Year

Scene from "Lala"While students across America enjoy their summer vacation, the education department at USC Shoah Foundation is busily making major new features to its award-winning IWitness educational website for educators and their students that will be ready by the time school resumes in the fall.

Coming on the heels of a successful initiative, 100 Days to Inspire Respect, these new offerings will further support educators around the world by building new and innovative ways to inspire respect and empower students to take positive action in the world.

The first new addition is IWitness360, a new space in IWitness for virtual reality films and supporting educational resources that will make its debut on Monday at the International Society for Technology in Education conference in San Antonio.

The first VR film available, titled Lala, tells the true story of a dog that brightened the lives of a family interned by the Nazis in the Lodz Ghetto during the Holocaust.

Narrated by 88-year-old Kent, the 360-degree VR film traces the movements of the Jewish family – and their dog – when Kent was a boy, starting with their idyllic life at a home in the Polish countryside, and concluding at the Lodz Ghetto, where they were sent upon discovery.

Developed in partnership with Discovery Communications, Discovery Education and Global Nomads Group,– Lala is packaged with activities, testimony clips, and other resources  that explore topics such as stereotypes, bystanders, oppression and resistance.

IWitness360 is just one of several upgrades USC Shoah Foundation is bringing to IWitness this summer before school resumes in the fall.

Others upgrades include:

  • A new interactive feature called IWalks, which enables students to take virtual or on-location walking tours through neighborhoods in certain cities around the world while viewing testimonies from the Visual History Archive on their mobile devices – intercut with historical images, maps and other historical artifacts—telling the first-person accounts of what happened in those same neighborhoods decades earlier.
  • New language-specific portals, which bring together robust content for teachers and students in several languages including Hungarian, Spanish, Czech, Polish, and Ukrainian.

“This is a challenging time to be a young person, but we know that IWitness can have a lasting positive effect,” said USC Shoah Foundation Director of Education Dr. Claudia Wiedeman. “These new activities build on the 100 Days to Inspire Respect initiative to help students become better people and to do their part to build a better world.”

Read details about these and other new addition to IWitness each Friday at sfi.usc.edu.