Holocaust survivors and concentration camp liberators will share their stories with students at four New Jersey schools on Thursday (April 14) when Verizon's Access New Jersey Portal helps bring history to life.
The video conference, to be held from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., is part of a program established this year by the Goodwin Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Cherry Hill, which uses Verizon's portal to teach lessons about genocide.
The conferencing technology, available to more than 500 New Jersey schools registered with the ANJ portal, makes it possible for Holocaust survivors, most of whom are in their eighties and nineties, to reach a wide audience of students throughout the state. A school in Michigan is also participating.
"If we weren't able to connect to these schools through the portal, it would be very difficult for the survivors to visit each school," said Helen Kirschbaum, the center's education director. "To ask them to go from school to school is very demanding, and it takes an emotional toll for them to tell their stories. This way, they don't have to repeat it five times."
Participating schools are: The Peck School in Morris Township, Passaic Valley High School in Little Falls, Williamstown High School in Williamstown, John Paul II High School in Sicklerville and Flushing Middle School in Michigan. The classes can also be viewed at Verizon's New Jersey corporate headquarters in Newark and at Camden County Community College, where the Goodwin Center will be conducting the session.
The Goodwin center has used the portal to teach other lessons about the Holocaust, including a student discussion of Elie Wiesel's "Night,"' about the author's survival in Nazi concentration camps.
The portal is used almost daily by K-12 schools and public libraries throughout New Jersey, allowing them to connect with everyone from NASA technicians to Rain Forest researchers. It's also used to present programs at Liberty Science Center.
The ANJ network was started in 1999 to provide broadband Internet access to state schools and libraries, which continue to save money through discounted access rates and equipment provided by the program. Shortly after the network's launch, Verizon developed its video portal services for schools, at first offering the program only in New Jersey and recently making it accessible to schools throughout the nation.
"We've been leaders in this field, and at times, pioneers," said Dan Cleary, a Verizon engineer in charge of the video portal.
The ANJ network's video conferencing services are part of Verizon's statewide commitment to literacy and community-centered education. Verizon has given more than $150 million to New Jersey schools and public libraries as part of its mission to place emerging information technologies in learning institutions throughout the Garden State.
To learn more about Access New Jersey visit, http://www.accessnewjersey.net/.
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