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September 3rd, 2013
Press Release: USC SHOAH FOUNDATION UNVEILS ONLINE LEARNING INITIATIVE
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 3, 2013 — To commemorate the 20th anniversary of Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning
film “Schindler’s List,” the Visual History Archive he founded is hosting a special contest for
secondary school students that combines new technologies with historical information in a way to
encourages community engagement.
USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education is proud to offer the IWitness
Video Challenge (iwitness.usc.edu), which not only brings history to life in a very unique way, but also offers students the
chance make a difference in their own neighborhoods, while giving them a way to share their work with
young people around the world.
Sharing the knowledge gathered in the Visual History Archive with future generations was already on
Spielberg’s mind the night he accepted the best picture Academy Award for “Schindler’s List.”
“I implore all the educators who are watching this program to please do not allow the Holocaust to
remain a footnote in history,” Spielberg said. “Please listen to the words, the echoes and the ghosts and
please teach this in your schools.”
Combining the Shoah Foundation’s vast library of personal Holocaust testimonies with online tools, the
challenge guides students to create their own video essay showing how they’ve used what they learned
to make their own community a better place.
Participating is absolutely free to any middle- and high-school classroom that enrolls. All work is kept
safe inside the IWitness site and not accessible to the public.
Deadline to enter is Dec. 2, 1013. The winning student, along with a guardian and teacher will be
brought to showcase their completed video as part of the Shoah Foundation’s 20th anniversary series of
activities in Los Angeles next spring.
“A major theme of ‘Schindler’s List’ is that one person can make the world a better place, “said Shoah
Foundation Director of Education Kori Street. “The IWitness Challenge provides the tools to help
students see how they can make their own contribution, as well as provide a framework for a lifetime of
making a difference.”
The challenge is the breakout offering of IWitness, the Shoah Foundation’s new website built especially
for the classroom. IWitness provides students and teachers access to 1,300 testimonies for guided exploration. Employing an innovative approach, IWitness gives teachers a tool to expand on practically any subject they wish to pursue. From civics, government and history to poetry, art and ethics, educators can tailor-make lessons appropriate for their classrooms.
For their part, students who engage in this transformative-learning experience will do far more than watch and listen. IWitness encourages them to research, explore, reflect and respond with their own voices about why voices from the past continue to matter.
Students have access to the testimonies of nearly 1,300 survivors and other witnesses to the Holocaust and other genocides. The testimonies are searchable by more than 9,000 keywords, enabling learners to pinpoint exact moments of interest. Using the built-in editor, students can construct video essays, with video, maps, photos and music.
IWitness is designed to align with Common Core standards and was recently named as one of the “Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning” by the American Association of School Librarians in 2012.
To learn more, contact Josh Grossberg at email@example.com
About the Shoah Foundation
USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education is dedicated to making audiovisual interviews with survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust and other genocides, a compelling voice for education and action. The Institute’s current collection of nearly 52,000 eyewitness testimonies contained within its Visual History Archive preserves history as told by the people who lived it, and lived through it. Housed at the University of Southern California, within the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the Institute works with partners around the world to advance scholarship and research, to provide resources and online tools for educators, and to