In October 2005, I had an opportunity to facilitate videoconference connections for Eva Hance, a Dachau Concentration Camp survivor, and Mark Geeslin, a soldier in the US Armyâ€™s 11th Armored Division and liberator of the Mauthausen Concentration Camp. Eva and Mark shared their final public presentations about their experiences in World War II at Texas Tech University’s International Cultural Center that fall, and it was a priceless experience to not only hear their presentations, but also get to visit with them and have lunch with them those days they spoke. I wrote about that experience a bit in March 2006 in a post titled, “Value of life, forgiveness, the Holocaust.” An audio podcast of their presentation from October 2005 remains archived in the Texas Tech College of Education’s podcast channel.
My work supporting the TTU International Cultural Center first introduced me to the work of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and others in stopping ongoing genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan in January 2006.
Do students in your classes realize genocide is still a current event, and not just a subject of historical inquiry? Do they know about the crisis in Darfur? If not, why not? Raising awareness of genocide is a first step which can lead to action. Tim Tyson challenges all of us to answer the essential question, “When does meaningfulness begin?” It should begin TODAY. If you are going to focus on issues that matter in the classroom, a focus on genocide awareness and genocide prevention is a worthy choice.
Recently I was delighted to learn the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum now has a presence on YouTube, with over 30 videos online. While I do hear the voices of some school administrators (like Kurt Paccio) blaming the threat of parental litigation for school policies which severely restrict student access to user-created content on sites like YouTube, I think more teachers and administrators should be aware of resources like the USHMM’s YouTube channel and share it with parents as well as students. Older adults in particular need to know about the high quality and educational content available on YouTube which can be used for valuable learning experiences. Did I mention access to these videos / curriculum materials is FREE as long as you have an Internet connection, and are not “blocked” from accessing the site?
Sure students can search YouTube and find a bunch of offensive junk. They also, however, can search YouTube and learn a great deal about human rights and those who continue to fight for them today around the world. Simply blaming the technology as wholly evil, and worthy of banning entirely because of some instances of abuse or poor choices, is not the answer. Technology is not inherently evil, it is the choices we make with technology which define us and our actions as moral/ethical or otherwise. As Doug Johnson has eloquently stated in the past, “Ex abusu non arguitur in usum.” (The abuse of a thing is no argument against its use.)
Check out the USHMM’s YouTube channel and become a subscriber. As of this writing, I was subscriber number 11. Share this resource with others.
I heard former U.S. Marine Brian Steidle tell about his experiences in January 2006 as a witness to genocide in Darfur. Now, thanks to the USHMM’s YouTube channel, you and your students can hear him in your classroom.
If YouTube is blocked in your school district (which is likely for most U.S. public school teachers) a variety of options are available to download YouTube videos to a removable USB flash drive at home, and then bring it to school. (Be sure to read the comments on the previous link/blog post for additional suggestions.)
Thanks to Kelly Curtright of the Oklahoma Department of Education for alerting me to this new USHMM YouTube channel!
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