Many states’ curricula now require the study of the Holocaust, and some educators say that a series of CD-ROMs developed by film director Steve Spielberg is one of the most effective tools they have seen to convey the chilling events.
Spielberg helped create the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation (http://www.vhf.org), which videotapes oral histories from Holocaust survivors. Using those tapes and other information, the foundation has created a CD-ROM and an educational guide for teachers to use the material in classrooms. The foundation says more than than 14,000 copies of the CD-ROM and guide have been sold to schools and the public in the past year.
The CD-ROM uses interviews with survivors, photos of victims and concentration camps, maps of Europe, music, and even voice-overs from popular movie stars. Students seem eager to click on the many multimedia features of the CD-ROMs, say educators who have purchased the program.
Now, the foundation is working with teachers from five school districts across the U.S. to expand the CD-ROM into a more extensive educational curriculum for middle and high school students. The foundation paid for approximately 40 educators to attend a workshop about the Holocaust last summer, and those educators now are working with the foundation to develop the program. The more complete curriculum will be available in about two years.