Digital Humanities and Maker Pedagogy to Teach the Shoah in 2022

Conference: The Paris Conference on Education (PCE2022)
Title: Digital Humanities and Maker Pedagogy to Teach the Shoah in 2022
Stream: Teaching Experiences, Pedagogy, Practice & Praxis
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Melanie Peron, University of Pennsylvania, United States


To engage her students in the particularly difficult topic of the Shoah in WWII Paris, a senior lecturer in French embarked upon digital projects that allow students to connect with course material through critical making. Starting with the making of digital maps and timelines, moving to 360° virtual reality video projects and the creation of a website dedicated to victims of the Shoah, instructor and students stitch together fragments of the past, create social artifacts intended to preserve a cultural memory that future students will build upon. Students’ work is founded upon maker pedagogy and an ethic of care that allows them to step into others’ perspectives. The back and forth movement between past and present, historical narratives and individual testimonies, reading and making encourage them to not only consider the time period but also to be considerate towards those who lived it. They learn to take into consideration the humanity of others, to recognize themselves in others and others in themselves despite any spatial, temporal or cultural distance that may separate them. A philanthropic knowledge they can further apply to other invisible, voiceless individuals from other places who live around us today. Last but not least, in the past two years, the survivors’ stories have taught the meaning and shown paths to resilience to young people often navigating through hopelessness and disenchantment. The collective experience enabled by the projects provide students with a sense of purpose and remind them how they all have a role to play in history.

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