Tomorrow, April 23, as part of the national Days of Remembrance program, President Obama will visit the U.S. Memorial Holocaust Museum and deliver a speech on the importance of remembering the Holocaust – and working to prevent genocide and end indifference. His speech marks my first update to my Remembering Anne Frank 2011 and 2010 posts.
The second resource I’m adding comes from an article by Andrew Wheelock published in this month’s Leading & Learning with Technology magazine: Immerse Your Students in History. When I saw a section of the article entitled Creating a Virtual Anne Frank World, my initial reaction was disbelief, assuming that technology in this case would trivialize Anne Frank’s story. I’m glad curiosity led me to visit the Holocaust Project wiki. I encourage you to explore the site. The home page features two embedded videos. The first video, Understanding the Holocaust, makes a compelling point between helping our students “learn” about the Holocaust vs. “understand” the Holocaust. The second video introduces the virtual world. I am impressed.
Here’s a link to the Understanding the Holocaust Project newsletter, with more information about the project, including a listing of the activities, each one aligned to Common Core State Standards. Students can take a virtual walk through the streets of Amsterdam, enter the warehouse where Anne and her family hid for nearly two years, and “walk from room to room and explore by clicking on objects to reveal literature connections, diary notes, and PBS Masterpiece Theater resources from the recent filming of The Diary of Anne Frank.”
If you use this virtual world to bring your students into Anne Frank’s world, I would love to hear if the technology deepened their understanding of the Holocaust – or if it acted as a distractor.