Modern Educational Technologies: Multimedia Questsin Museums Of Memory

Abstract

Museums of memory in their development undergo a transformation - from traditional places of remembrance to modern educational spaces. The topic of war and the Holocaust receives great attention receives a lot of attention in training and educational programs, which often leads to rapprochement in regard to basic knowledge, educational practices and universal lessons for schoolchildren and students. At the same time, there is a distance between memorable practices and signs and educational ideals and goals. Modern Western scholars emphasize the tension between commemoration and teaching at the Holocaust memorials. It is noteworthy that even groups of qualified and trained teachers demonstrate a marked diversity in the use of teaching materials and methods within the framework of this topic. The aim of the study is to analyze modern educational technologies in the space of a memorial museum. The problem of using game content in memory museums is currently debatable. Will the immersion of the student in the material really effective and useful in the context of understanding the tragic and conflicting historical events? Multimedia technologies contribute to the restoration of society’s memory: a museum can become a living “theater of memory." Multimedia technologies are considered as a means of activating the "memory device" and create an exciting museum environment for the visitor.

Keywords: Memorial experiencememory museumsmultimedia questeducational technologyHolocaustdigital interactivity

Introduction

Memorial museums serve various purposes, including actively engaged in educational activities. For example, museums and memorials turn to educational practice as an important part of their competence. At the same time, it is important to correctly observe the relationship between educational programs and various commemorative events. Nilssen studying various ways of using the history of the Holocaust in concentration camps-places of memory in the post-war period, writes that museums of memory go the way from traditional places of remembrance to modern educational spaces. There is the distance between memorable practices and signs and modern educational ideals and goals. (Nilssen, 2011). Modern scholars emphasize the tension between memorial practices and memorial learning. An analysis of new permanent exhibitions at German memorials demonstrates that their creators used a wider documentary base than before. However, the increased emphasis on educational activities distracts attention from the initial commemoration of war victims.

Teacher research and teaching practices on the themes of war and the Holocaust seem very interesting. Existing studies show that teaching the Holocaust includes diverse activities and tasks, both between countries and within them. The variety of educational practices explained by different reasons, including a difference in understanding of the cultural memory, historical context and social environment of teachers, teaching methods are different, topic complexity, various subjects in which they teach the Holocaust, the influence of the media, various emphasis on the curriculum, policies and institutions who train and oversee teachers in the field of teaching topics, and the relative isolation of teachers in their classes.

As a result, without a unified teaching methodology, the practice of studying this educational topic is extremely heterogeneous. This conclusion is confirmed by the observations of a modern author (Ambrosewicz-Jacobs & Buttner, 2014) that teachers bring personal preferences, ideological beliefs and historical concepts to the class, complemented by their race and class, their understanding of gender, family, education, religion. They note that the presentation of the topic depends on the opinion and personal beliefs of the teacher; universal lessons of democracy, national and social identity, human rights, religion, racial and intercultural relations are discussed at such lessons.

Combining teaching standards in public education systems can reduce this heterogeneity of teaching methods and forms. Improving standardization, testing, and monitoring can set limits on the lessons of the Holocaust. The Holocaust is receiving increasing attention in textbooks and educational systems around the world (Eckmann & Stevick, 2017), which should contribute to the unification of the main forms of lessons, educational strategies and practices on the topic.

It is noteworthy, however, that even groups of specially trained teachers demonstrate a marked diversity in the use of materials and methods, which casts doubt on the idea that there can be a universal methodology for teaching the topic. There are many methods in teaching the theme of war and the Holocaust, and this variety has organizational reasons. To a certain extent, the problem is the isolation of teachers in the public school system (Eckmann & Stevick, 2017). Professional specialists have limited opportunities for collaboration between departments and scientific communities.

Problem Statement

The teaching of the Holocaust is carried out by pedagogical communities and faculties of pedagogy. Working groups of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance strive for dialogue with scientific communities. The result of the joint work is the necessary information and science-based teaching methods, as well as the integration of individual communities. It is also important for an international organization to strengthen contacts with scientific institutions and, as a whole, enter the educational space.

The question of whether visitors can use digital interactive technologies is closely related to the discussion about the form and effectiveness of “interactivity” in museums of memory and the relationship between the activity of an individual visitor and the memorial experience of society as a whole (Reading, 2003).

Turn to studies according to the competence of teachers on the Holocaust, their pedagogical motivation, presentation. Studies in teacher training show that only a small part of them have initial competencies. Nevertheless, the material about the Holocaust that teachers perceive and transmit differs qualitatively from other topics in humanitarian subjects. So, teachers mainly master the topic on their own. Thus, we turn to a discussion of institutions that provide retraining for Holocaust teachers.

Particular attention in the scientific literature focuses on the fact that teaching and studying the Holocaust (TLH) includes a strong emotional component. Indeed, the emotional beginning is distinguished by the nature of teaching the Holocaust. Typologies of teaching approaches identify significant differences in the methodology of the presentation of the Holocaust in schools. Such typologies give specialists hypotheses with which to design future quantitative studies.

Research into the problems of teaching this topic is being done, but on a fairly limited scale. Teacher surveys were conducted in the United States and some European countries. Based on quantitative information, it’s clear, that teachers are not at all ready to teach the Holocaust, and most of them do not have special competencies. For example, in England it turned out that according to teacher surveys, 80% are worried lack a universal methodology for teaching topics and develop lessons on their own. A survey of American teachers of social sciences and teachers of language and literature also found that 85% of teachers received information about the Holocaust mainly from personal sources.

A report for the Living History forum, when 10,000 Swedish teachers of all subjects were interviewed in 2007, found that 40% did not have any educational methods about the Holocaust, and only 5% had specialized training for more than 10 hours of instruction. The survey also revealed that college training did not have a significant effect on the awareness of Swedish school teachers.

The topic of the Holocaust has not received significant development within the framework of the states of the former USSR. The block of states where important political and cultural changes have occurred over the past quarter of the century still do not massively use a wide documentary base dedicated to the Holocaust. Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) has prepared the report “Open the Past for the Future”. This study captures the opinion of a group of Polish teachers about the feeling of "insufficient preparation for teaching topics in terms of content and emotions” (Ambrosewicz-Jacobs & Buttner, 2014). In comparison, 80% of Israeli teachers participating in the Shoa education process have additional training in teaching the topic, and 95% of history teachers have completed university courses. (Eckmann & Stevick, 2017).

Research Questions

What modern educational technologies are used in the space of the memorial museum?

What pedagogical guidelines are guided by memory museums that use modern educational technologies and create new exhibitions related to the Holocaust?

What opportunities for using game content are realized in memory museums?

Purpose of the Study

The aim of the study is to analyze modern educational technologies in the space of a memorial museum.

We note that the problem of using game content in memory museums is currently debatable. The participant is placed in the conditions of the moral choice necessary within the format of the game. Will his immersion in the material be really effective and useful in the context of understanding historical events? At the same time, advocates of this format indicate that multimedia technologies contribute to the restoration of society’s memory: a museum can become a “living theater of memory." How can a museum bring together and engage different communities in a modern city (Ünsal, 2011)? Multimedia technologies are considered as a means of activating the "memory device" and to create an exciting museum environment for the visitor.

Research Methods

The work is based on museological and cultural studies research methods, the concepts and approaches of modern historical science, in particular, the history of memory in pedagogical research, are also used.

Findings

What pedagogical guidelines are guided by memory museums that use modern educational technologies and design exhibition space related to the Holocaust?

“Authenticity” and authentication characterize the activities of modern museums related to exposure, objects and interaction with visitors (Geurds, 2013). Some modern experts turn to the German experience in this matter. According to the creators of the new memorial exhibits it is noted that an important emphasis in revealing the memorial theme is the desire for reconstruction of buildings, topography of places, etc. Another common feature is that criminals are represented in a museum context so that clearly show their roles and actions in war. The creators of such exhibitions not only follow the personal stories of the participants in the events, but also show a community of Germans from 1933 to 1945, called by modern authors the "society of criminals."

Museums-places of memory dedicated to the theme of war and the Holocaust also share certain principles of processing artifacts at exhibitions: selected items must be representative to build a common context. These are evidence of the everyday life of camp life or the topic of illness and treatment of prisoners. Material objects and certificates are placed in the exhibition context, which means they can’t exist separately from each other. Their origin should also be documented. Finally, curators suggest structuring the exhibitions in chronological order. The narrative is intertwined with thematic excursions (Yanes, 2011). Basically, all memorial museums offer excursions as an element of work with visitors. Sightseeing tour, the most popular form of interaction in places of memory and memorial museums. Museum professionals are developing educational activities, such as workshops, meetings with former prisoners, archival activities, etc. Some German museums may also offer familiarity with the memorial site and exhibitions in small groups.

So, guides in German memorial complexes are distinguished by the peculiarity of telling visitors a "story". This narrative can be present in school education, as well as outside the school, in the context of non-formal education conducted in museum institutions. Using the “storytelling” technique, however, does not mean that the communication that takes place during the tour it’s not at all to state the only point of view. Empirical observations show that in reality there can be tensions between the main concept of the exhibition and the story of museum educators as part of the tour. Here you can hear national or even local ways of storytelling. Excursions in the concentration camps Ravensbrück, Dachau, Neuengamme and the house of the Wannsee Conference in Berlin contain a lot of common material in content and form, which may indicate the canonization of the narrated story, independent of the general concept of the museum exhibition. Many visitors visit memorials during their schooling, and this circumstance can be a source of peculiar tension. German authors describe the interaction of students and teachers with museum educators at the memorial site. Analysis of communication between different participants in a memorial context, demonstrate the complex nature of the interaction between formal education and museum education, when all participants play an indefinite role (Balodimas-Bartolomei, 2012).

This situation of uncertainty is probably also associated with different perceptions of the purpose of education, the desired results and suitable methods that common in the system of school and non-formal museum education. These differences arise, for example, because the relationship between knowledge and value is particularly emphasized in the school system (Ambrosewicz-Jacobs & Buttner, 2014). But there are similar correspondences in non-formal education. It is also noted that non-formal educators can use formal education methods, for example, assessing prior knowledge or group structure or accompanying a group with a school teacher who exercises school disciplinary powers in the museum.

In the modern German context, in the formal education system, as part of the study of history, it is increasingly necessary to develop abilities and skills to perform tasks, while the transfer of factual knowledge seems to be secondary. For example, students must learn to reconstruct historical narratives (a key skill in the historical competencies) reflected in memorable places. Similar approaches to teaching history can lead to friction, since they can "argue" with established memorial practices in places of memory, as well as with social and political expectations regarding the functions of these institutions.

There are various uses of interactive multimedia in museum and exhibition activities. So, modern technologies provide an opportunity to examine objects from different points of view and contexts, without limiting their place in a real exhibition narrative. Digital interactive technologies can provide orientation of visitors to exhibitions, a deeper study of the topic, the work of visitors with information. In addition, the provision of digital catalogs and the possibility of personalized viewing by visitors of museum materials using a set of electronic identity cards, which reflected the fate of real people. All of the above, of course, reflects the diversity of digital interactivity, which is widely represented in various museums of memory, for example, in the museums of the Holocaust, in the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, in the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, as well as in the projects of theAmerican Institute for Visual History and Education of the Holocaust and Genocide (USC Shoah Foundation).

One of the important opportunities of digital technologies is that they allow us to move the narrative of events into an area structured by games (Zembylas, 2018). In the interactive quests dedicated to the Holocaust, as conceived by the authors, a confrontation of moral choice and responsibility of a person with violence sanctioned by the state is embodied. We note that the problem of using game content in memory museums is currently debatable. The participant is placed in the conditions of the moral choice necessary within the format of the game. Will his immersion in the material be really effective and useful in the context of understanding historical events? At the same time, advocates of this format point out that multimedia technologies contribute to the restoration of society’s memory: a museum can become a “living theater of memory” (Reading, 2003). Multimedia technologies are considered as a means of activating the "memory device"and to create an exciting museum environment for the visitor.

Holocaust mini-quests are used as interactive learning technologies. The content of educational quests is selected taking into account the age characteristics of young and middle-aged children, the school curriculum and teaching methods that are difficult to understand.

Special online programs have been developed for a children's audience, aimed at understanding the roles of performers, observers and allies in historical context. So, in the US Holocaust Memorial Museum it is proposed to go through a mini-quest in which, based on photos, documents, audio and video sources, you need to analyze the actions of ordinary people during Kristallnacht, a turning point in the history of the Holocaust, the Nazi genocide of the Jewish population. It is proposed to look at photographs with the eyes of a contemporary witness of events. This interactive program complements the exhibition “Some Were Neighbors: partnership and collaboration in the Holocaust”.

Conclusion

Holocaust mini-quests are used as interactive learning technologies. The content of educational quests is selected taking into account the age characteristics of young and middle-aged children, the school curriculum and teaching methods that are difficult to understand.

One of the important features of digital technology is that it allows you to move the narrative of events into an area structured by games.

The actions, reactions, and motives of criminals, victims, and witnesses are the focus of modern Holocaust and genocide research (Ehrenreich, & Cole, 2005). However, the greatest emphasis was placed on studying the mass of performers, at the same time, the roles of observers and Holocaust victims were not defined and understood. Thus, interactive quest technologies allow us to consider complex relationships within and between these three groups, and the groups in question cover a wide and dynamic range of levels of participation, resistance, consent and opposition in relation to the large-scale and tragic process of extermination of people.

Multimedia technologies are considered as a means of activating the "memory device" and to create an exciting museum environment for the visitor.

References

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Publisher

European Publisher

First Online

26.08.2020

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2020.08.02.105

Online ISSN

2357-1330