In 2010 Facing History launched the Digital Media Innovation Network (DMIN), establishing a cohort of staff and educators from Facing History’s nine North American offices and partner projects overseas who together explore and pilot digital resources as tools in teaching and learning.
Since its inception we have brought the teachings and lessons of the online environment into the classroom, allowing students to expand their global community. We have learned about and experienced how digital technology can provide students the ability to create media projects that showcase their learning, and then share that learning with a wider audience. We have explored how educators can bring new media into their classroom in a meaningful way.
This blog of “mindful, creative, innovative teachers, students and technology” is the ideal platform to share the many Facing History and Ourselves: Digital Media Innovation Network stories with a larger community of educators.
Two New Pilot Projects in 2013
DMIN is now in its third year, and our expansion continues by adding new educators and piloting two student projects. This year our professional development is not face-to-face, but in an online webinar platform and supported by local program associates.
Facing History and Ourselves is partnering with the USC Shoah Foundation to explore how teachers can use a new online tool called IWitness to shape teaching and learning experiences for students in a Facing History course. IWitness is an online application that gives educators and students access to search, watch, and learn from more than 1,000 video testimonies of Holocaust survivors and other witnesses.
Survivor testimony has a strong impact in the classroom because it helps students connect with the human stories in history. The IWitness platform makes survivor testimony easily accessible to classrooms and presents it in a flexible online video format, providing an avenue to engage students directly in inquiry-based, multimedia learning. This project will allow us to gather examples of how testimony can be used to enhance any aspect of the Facing History’s scope and sequence. We will also be exploring how providing a context for students to remix footage from the IWitness site to create their own statements will encourage them to engage on an individual level, reflect deeply, and make connections to their own lives.
Our next DMIN project has Facing History and Ourselves working with Glogster to explore how students can visually represent and share their understanding of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Glogster allows users to mash up music, photos, videos and more. It was developed as a resource for digital boundless expression and a better alternative to offline boards, posters, or complicated web tools.
Participating educators will be introduced to Facing History’s resource collection on the UDHR through an online webinar and will be given ideas for how to present this content to their students. In addition, Facing History will host a webinar for students to hear from the filmmakers of the award-winning film Granito: How To Nail a Dictator (Skylight Pictures) who have focused their careers on bringing visibility to human rights issues around the globe.
On this new blog, we are looking forward to sharing more on how these pilot projects progress and how Facing History classrooms are using online platforms to explore, interact, create, and collaborate on Facing History themes and resources.
Note: The work and learning in Facing History’s Digital Media Innovation Network has many ripples. As we add stories of projects, or connected educators, we will tag these posts “DMIN.”