Students in Mrs. Tambuscio’s World History class culminated a unit on the Holocaust by applying their historical knowledge to the viewing of survivor testimonies. Students were able to utilize IWitness, which is a computer-based program created by the USC Shoah Foundation’s Institute for Visual History. This educational tool includes over 1,200 video testimonies of Holocaust and genocide survivors. The program incorporates multimedia activities and digital resources, which allow students to engage in active learning.
The learning connects students to the past, engages them in the present, and motivates them to build a better future. The students were able to learn particular aspects of a survivor’s story, record reflections, and actually create a video utilizing testimony clips and artifacts to tell their impression of a particular survivor’s story. Using the website, students build the video project into the site, which allows access to each participant, as well as the teacher. As a result, the classroom teacher and students can comment on each project, which creates a vibrant discourse about students work and each survivor.
In September of 2013, interested New Milford High School students will have an opportunity to participate in the IWitness Challenge during the 20th Anniversary of Steven Spielberg’s Oscar winning film, Schindler’s List, through the USC Shoah Foundation. The Institute for Visual History and Education is sponsoring the IWitness Video Challenge. The Institute has invited students from all over North America to be inspired by the voices in IWitness, to use their innovation and creativity to create positive value in their communities by doing something ordinary (or extraordinary), and then asks them to build a video telling the story about how they contributed to making their communities a better place. Interested students will complete the “IWitness Video Challenge” Activity on the IWitness website. The activity challenges them to increase their understanding of digital and media literacy, deepen their critical thinking, and promote positive social change in their community and in the world.
The winning video from each region will then move on to the national judging panel. One national Winner will receive an all-expense-paid trip with one parent or guardian, and his/her teacher, to screen their video as part of the USC Shoah Foundation's 20th anniversary activities in Los Angeles, as well as attend the 2014 Annual USC Shoah Foundation Gala as invited guests. If the winning entry is from a team video project, one student representative will need to be selected by the teacher to represent the team in Los Angeles.