As part of the IWitness Detroit program, USC Shoah Foundation education staff hosted a half-day IWitness workshop for educators at the Macomb Intermediate School District (MISD), Michigan, last Tuesday, April 19.
Lesly Culp, head of education programs at USC Shoah Foundation, and Sean McBrady, K-12 social studies consultant at MISD, hosted the training at MISD Education Service Center in Clinton Township, Mich. It was attended by geography and history teachers from middle schools and high schools throughout the district.
Culp introduced the participants to IWitness and strategies for using testimony in the classroom. They were trained to understand what visual testimony is and best practices for using it across the curriculum.
They learned strategies for integrating testimony across the curriculum and how to work with advanced teacher functions in IWitness. The participants also started to create testimony-based curriculum plans for their own classrooms.
McBrady called the training a complete success, and Culp reported that a participant told her it was by far one of the best trainings she’d been to.
In their written feedback after the training, the teachers seemed to agree that it was surprising and refreshing to come away from the workshop with so many new ideas and activities that they could immediately implement in their classrooms. They also appreciated receiving instruction on not just what IWitness is, but also how to use it.
One teacher said she wanted to use the IWitness Video Challenge for her class’s social action project and she also plans to create her own activity from the videos in Narratives of Identity: In the Open or in the Shadows?, the newest IWitness activity. Another plans to incorporate testimony into her American history class.
A three-day IWitness workshop is being planned for MISD educators August 15-17, 2016, along with at least one one-day follow-up workshop for teachers who are unable to attend the longer training.
IWitness Detroit is a two-year effort that focuses on the development of local capacity through the provision of teacher education, programming for students and key academic resources to engage students in learning through eyewitness testimony, delivering a multimedia educational experience which builds core knowledge, 21st century digital literacies, critical thinking and empathy. It is supported by Ford Motor Company.