First Willesden Project Fellow Developing Virtual IWalks Related to Refugee Experiences

Tue, 03/29/2022 - 4:16pm

How best to fuse compelling testimony with the latest innovative technologies to produce the most effective instructional materials for students and educators around the world?

That’s the challenge now facing Jennifer Goss, the first of two Willesden Project Fellows to be working with USC Shoah Foundation this academic year. Since late 2021, Goss, a 19-year veteran Social Studies educator, has been trained in the educational applications of Virtual IWalks on IWitness, the institute’s innovative updated technology that enables students and teachers to tour historic sites online while watching and listening to witness testimonies from the Visual History Archive.

Goss is currently working on four Virtual IWalks on IWitness, three of which focus on Mona Golabek’s acclaimed The Children of Willesden Lane book series. The books tell the story of Mona’s mother, Lisa Jura, a young Holocaust survivor who in 1938 escaped from Vienna to London on the Kindertransport. The first of these, In Lisa’s Footsteps, was released in January 2021, with separate versions for middle and high school students.

“I have always been attracted to USC Shoah Foundation's mission in developing innovative content grounded in testimony, contextualized by history, and informed by educational practices and trends,” Goss said. “I was drawn to The Willesden Project Fellow opportunity because of the power of Lisa's story. It resonates with students from primary grades to adult learners and can approach the history from so many different angles.”

Goss currently serves as a Program Manager for Echoes & Reflections. She holds MAs in Holocaust and Genocide Studies and American History from West Chester University and Pace University, respectively. For more than a decade she taught social studies at the Fleetwood Area High School in Pennsylvania. It was there that she and a colleague produced the Emmy-nominated film, Misa’s Fugue, about Holocaust survivor Frank Grunwald. She later relocated to Staunton, Virginia, where she taught for a further nine years until May 2021.

Goss is also a United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Teacher Fellow (‘10), and has co-authored several articles and works, including Remember My Child, the memoir of Itka Zygmuntowicz,

The new Virtual IWalks on IWitness are the latest in a suite of educational products made possible by The Willesden Project, a partnership of USC Shoah Foundation and Hold On To Your Music Foundation, with support from the the Koret Foundation.