IWitness Rolls Out in Canada

Wed, 06/26/2013 - 10:37am

The Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre in Toronto has introduced USC Shoah Foundation’s online educational tool, IWitness, to Canadian teachers and students, marking the beginning of the Neuberger Centre’s use of IWitness as part of its educational programming.

IWitness is an online application that students can use to watch, search, and learn from more than 1,200 video testimonies of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust. Intended for students aged 13–18, it includes video-editing and social media tools that allow students to work together on class projects, as well as guidelines and customizable lesson plans for teachers. IWitness was honored last year as one of the “top 25 Internet sites for enhancing learning and curriculum development” by the American Association of School Librarians.

IWitness was demonstrated to Canadian teachers and students at the Neuberger Centre’s annual student symposium on the Holocaust in May, held to coincide with Ontario’s Jewish Heritage Month. Over two days, more than 800 students and teachers from the greater Toronto area learned about IWitness through interactive presentations given by Kori Street, Shoah Foundation’s director of programs. A public program was also offered to introduce parents and community stakeholders to this unique learning tool.

The Neuberger Centre’s educational team and teacher advisory committee have begun developing plans to expand IWitness to Toronto classrooms during the new school year. Workshops will be offered at the Ontario History and Social Sciences Teachers’ Association and Catholic Educators’ conferences in the fall to instruct teachers in using IWitness with their students.

Also this fall, in partnership with Language Instruction for New Canadians (LINC) educational centers across Ontario, the Neuberger Centre will provide IWitness to English-language learners to help expand their vocabulary while learning about the experiences of previous immigrants to Canada.

More than 30,000 students visit the Neuberger Centre’s Holocaust Museum and Memorial annually on school visits, and an additional 35,000 members of the general community interact with the center through its signature program, Holocaust Education Week, held each November.