Forge Media + Design : Public education and Hollywood cross paths this week with the Canadian premiere of the film Bitter Harvest and the Canada-Ukraine Foundation’s Holodomor National Awareness Tour via its Holodomor Mobile Classroom (HMC). Both the HMC and Bitter Harvest tell the [often untold] story of the Holodomor — the Ukrainian Genocide that killed millions in the early 1930s.
The Holodomor Mobile Classroom is unique; nothing like this has ever been created before. A luxury RV, transformed into an ultramodern classroom provides interactive educational seminars and documentary showings across the country about the Holodomor. The purpose of the HMC is to not only make students aware of the Holodomor but also to help them feel empowered to stand up to social injustices and violations of human rights.
Mark Melnyk, Department Head of History for the York Region District School Board describes it as “one of the coolest, most immersive learning experiences we have been fortunate to share with our students” adding that “its use of state-of-the-art technology is captivating for a generation of students who are often hard to impress”.
Engaging students using cutting-edge technology
The interactive experience unfolds in a custom iPad app as a series of concentrated activities in which students play the role of a historian by hunting for clues hidden in old photos and documents.
Students learn to think creatively and solve problems, discussing their findings in groups and submitting their findings which then appear on the 24′ screen.
The entire seamless experience is orchestrated by a facilitator using a custom app that triggers digital events, moderates the student responses on the large screen, and initiates each activity.
The Canada-Ukraine Foundation challenged Forge Media + Design to create this groundbreaking educational experience. The HMB has already visited dozens of schools, and its journey is just beginning. The feedback from students has been beyond expectations; they leave the bus talking not about the technology they used, but rather about the ways that the experience shifted their perspective and opened their eyes.
The digital experience created emphasizes that history is about real events and real people and that standing up for what’s right is everyone’s responsibility.
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