IWitness Workshops in Texas and Massachusetts
USC Shoah Foundation education staff are once again on the road this week to introduce educators in Texas and Massachusetts to IWitness.
The award-winning educational platform IWitness brings the first-person stories of survivors and witnesses of genocide from USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive to students via multimedia-learning activities that are accessible via Macs, PCs, iPads, and tablet devices connected to the Internet.
IWitness integrates testimony-based education with the development of digital literacy and other 21st-century competencies; IWitness activities boost students’ knowledge of subject matter while developing their critical-thinking skills and empathy for others. The aim – and often the result – is to spark a motivation to act, and, ultimately, to help mold a responsible participant in civil society.
Lesly Culp, USC Shoah Foundation Senior Education Specialist and Trainer, gave an introduction to IWitness at the Dallas Holocaust Museum Monday, July 25, during the museum’s Holocaust and Human Rights Conference. Culp conducted three separate 3-hour workshops to educators from the United States, Canada and Mexico.
As a result of the workshops, participants became familiar with the scope of IWitness as an educational resource through various pathways (such as Watch/search function, Activity Library, Activity Modification, Activity Builder), learned three strategies for integrating testimony across the curriculum, and explored the teacher functions of IWitness.
Rob Hadley, USC Shoah Foundation Education Consultant for the United States, will give a four-hour workshop on IWitness at the New England Holocaust Educator Network’s five-day Summer Institute July 27.
The Institute, called “Teaching Social Justice Through the Lens of the Holocaust,” encourages teachers to think creatively and collaboratively about how they teach the Holocaust and more recent genocides. Participants, chosen through a competitive application process, become adept at dealing with difficult material and discover how writing, dialogue, and inquiry can help motivate students toward social action.
Hadley will ensure the teachers become immersed within the IWitness platform and really think through how they would apply it into their curriculum. They will have the time to create or modify an activity during the training. This group will also have the ability to reach back throughout the year to see how their activity worked within their classrooms.