HGP Heads into Third Year

By Gideon Goldstein, HGP Mentor
Tel Aviv, Israel

The Holocaust/Genocide Study Project of the International Education and Resource Network (I*EARN) is reaching the end of its third project year. During these pilot years, the HGP, as it is nicknamed, has become one of the better examples of the uniqueness of I*EARN.

The project is grassroots and was intitiated by teacher, Ms. Honey Kern, within an I*EARN school -- Cold Spring Harbor High School, in New York State.

The HGP is the only I*EARN project to have an organized curriculum which was devised via telecommunications by several I*EARN teachers.

The project is facilitated by two teachers: Ms. Honey Kern and Ms. Julie Rosenoff of Spokane Valley High School, and has student facilitators from Cold Spring Harbor High School.

With participants from several states in the U.S., as well as Israel, Australia and Russia, the Holocaust/Genocide Study Project is truly an international project. Its meeting place is an on-line conference <iearn.hgp> on PeaceNet and contributions are made almost daily with participants writing electronically.

Lately, the project has incorporated an annual study mission of teachers and students to Poland and Israel. New connections with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have been formed.

These basic components indicate much about the future of the HGP. In order to maintain its existence on I*EARN, the HGP should, in my view, retain its unique qualities, with minor adjustments.

The project curriculum should be refined. The learning process which is currently freeform should include periodical assignments for teachers and students. The completion of these assignments should become one of the participatory requirements of the project to insure that students have completed some learning related to the project's objectives.

There is a need for more schools to join the project. This year was a breakthrough year, with the very important additions of schools from Wisconsin, California, and Poland.

The collaboration with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, is to be continued and nurtured. Such ties allow the project access to a large number of potential participants; provide an authoritative source of information; and, promote the objectives of the project in context with the study of the Holocaust.

As I*EARN is headed for financial sustainability, the Holocaust/Genocide Study Project will probably become one of the mainstays of the new I*EARN. All of those steering the project will need to have the insight and staying power to maintain the unique content and form of the project with the possible influx of schools, without losing the very intimate "community" feeling that the project currently holds for its participants.

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