BlogWalker

Muddling through the blogosphere

January 29, 2018
by blogwalker
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PBS: We’ll Meet Again – Premiere Episode with Reiko Nagumo

Thanks to an email from Julie Thomas, Library Archivist for California State University, Sacramento,  I made sure to be home last Tuesday by 8:00 p.m.

Julie’s subject line was a grabber for me: Reiko Nagumo “We’ll Meet Again.” Her message was short:

“Here is the link to the We’ll Meet Again website and Reiko’s story is highlighted further down the page. I encourage you to tune in at 8:00 (EST and PST) and 7:00 (CST) on your local PBS station. It’s an amazing story about an amazing woman.”

PBS special We'll Meet Again

We’ll Meet Again is a new PBS series produced and hosted by veteran journalist Ann Curry. The six-part series documents reunions between people whose lives were suddenly disrupted by historic events such as war. Episode 1 features Reiko Nagumo and her childhood friend Mary Frances, who, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, stood up for Reiko when no one else would.

I have blogged before about Time of Remembrance, an oral histories project I co-direct for my district with my colleague Kathleen Watt. We had the privilege of interviewing Reiko 12 years ago. Her interview is one I often share with elementary students. I especially want them to know about Reiko’s friendship with Mary Frances (clip 2, 04:52). It’s a beautiful example of what can happen when a single person crosses the line (or playground) to extend a simple act of kindness to someone in need.

The high quality of the interviews (PBS quality, if I say so myself) are the result of our partnership with the Sacramento Educational Cable Consortium (SECC). We are incredibly grateful to the talent and project dedication of SECC videographer Doug Niva.

Several years ago, following a 3-day trip to the Manzanar internment camp, Doug suggested that we make a short documentary to introduce people to our growing collection  of interviews. I’m American Too – A Story from Behind the Fences (16 minutes) includes snippets of Reiko’s interview, along with other internees, whose lives were also overnight and forever changed by Executive Order 9066.

Today, the Time of Remembrance project also includes a Vietnam War section, in which we’ve attempted to capture a little known story: the Secret War in Laos. For a quick overview, watch our 4-minute introduction:

Based on the impact of Reiko’s interview, and in every interview since hers, we always end with the same question: Can you think back to a time in your life (facing exclusion and forces removal, surviving in internment and refugee camps, starting the first day of school in a new country, etc.) when there was someone who stood up for you, making whatever challenges you were dealing with a little easier to cope with?

We are firm believers in the power of a single upstander to make a profound difference in someone’s life – or even change the course of history – and that “it is small things that allow bigger things to happen” (Sam Edleman, Holocaust historian).

January has been a painful month in my district due to a number of racist incidents, which have been widely publicized through local and national media. In an attempt to build student awareness on the exponential negative impact of bystanders, be it face-to-face or online, we invite students across the district, nation, and globe to contribute to our Upstanders, Not Bystanders VoiceThread. We started this VoiceThread a few years ago, and have had an amazing range of contributors, from kindergarten students to humanitarian Carl Wilkens. And, yes, Reiko Nagumo has already shared on the Voice Thread.

Note: A VoiceThread is like a visual podcast. Once you register with VoiceThread for a free account (a process that takes only a couple of minutes), you will be able to post a comment via voice, text, or webcam. Your comment will go “live” as soon as we approve it. If you are in a school district that is a GSuite (formerly known as Google Apps for Education) district, you already have an account, as VoiceThread is now integrated into your district Google account. Head to your Google Apps launcher (waffle) and scroll down to the More section to find the VoiceThread icon.

We look forward to hearing your students’ upstander stories – and yours too! Besides the VoiceThread, you can also leave a comment on this post. We’d love to showcase any projects or programs you are implementing in your schools to promote tolerance, respect, empathy, inclusion and global citizenship.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead

“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” ~ Albert Einstein

September 16, 2015
by blogwalker
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Opportunities for students to practice digital & global citizenship

As we head into the new school year, I wanted to promote several awesome opportunities for students to tackle current issues and make their voices heard … and build their digital footprints and ePortfolios in the process.

aikuma

Image from the Aikuma Project http://lp20.org/aikuma/pilot_project.html

Aikuma Project – For the past couple of years, I’ve co-facilitated an oral histories project for my school district to preserve the stories from a little known chapter in the Vietnam War: the Secret War in Laos. And that is how Robyn Perry, a recent graduate from Berkeley’s School of Information, found me. Robyn and Dr. Steven Bird are committed to preserving vanishing world languages. In Googling “Mien,” she came across the Time of Remembrance website. We’ve connected several times via Google Hangouts to talk about ways a K12 school district and two university researchers might support our mutual commitment to preserving the stories – and languages – of the Mien refugees, many of whom have resettled in the Sacramento area.

Part of Steve and Robyn’s work is the deployment of Aikuma, a free Android App for recording and translating spoken language. The app allows you to make your own recordings, share them, and translate recordings into other languages.

A special feature of Aikuma is its voice-driven translation mode. Hold the phone to your ear and listen, and interrupt to give a commentary or translation. The phone records what you say and lines it up with the original. Now the meaning is also preserved.”

I’m hoping to encourage Mien students in my district, to interview and record their parents, grandparents, and community elders and then contribute these primary resources, recorded in their native language, to the Aikuma project. There is a very good chance that in the process of interviewing Mien refugees, besides preserving history, culture, and a possibly vanishing language, students will also learn about the viewpoints of individuals whose stories might not otherwise appear in their textbooks.  Equally important, they will be practicing digital and global citizenship.

Refugee-girl

Image via KQED Do Now http://blogs.kqed.org/education/2015/09/11/

KQED Do Now: Would You Welcome Refugees to Your Community? – I’m a big-time fan of KQED’s stellar program for engaging students, via twitter, in shared conversations on both local and global topics. Given the current Syrian refugee crisis, I cannot think of a more timely way to empower students as digital and global citizens who are informed on the issues and challenges faced by refugees.

KQED provides the background resources and the structure for posting diverse opinions, thereby providing a virtual student toolkit for building active citizenship skills.

PSAcontest (1)Digital ID – How about a Digital Citizenship PSA Challenge to jump start conversations in the new school year on what it means to be a positive, contributing citizen in all the communities to which our students belong, both face-to-face and online? With a December 15 deadline, there is still plenty of time for students to create and submit (through you), a PSA (up to 90 seconds) on issues of challenging cyberbullying, building digital footprints, respecting intellectual property, and protecting online privacy & security.

 

 

 

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