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John Simkin

New Ways of Learning: Volunteers Needed

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You might have noticed that I have created a forum on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. What I have done is to put a link from every page (now over 200) on the assassination to a specifically created forum on the subject. It is also linked to a series of student activities on the assassination. This includes activities that enable students to consider the different theories of the assassination that have been developed so far by researchers. They are also encouraged to develop their own theories.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKindex.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKresearch.htm

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showforum=126

So far I have created this forum for teachers. However, I now plan to create another section for students (see our new Student Forum).

http://www.studenteducationforum.ipbhost.com/

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=612

This will enable them to read what the teachers have said about the assassination as well as having the right to post questions and comments on the topic.

To help answer these questions I have persuaded several experts (ten so far) on the case to take part in this experiment. I am also trying to get important witnesses to the events surrounding the assassination to take part. So far I have persuaded two very important figures in the case to answer questions. Hopefully, I will be able to convince others to join in. I am also currently negotiating with two men who have both confessed to being involved in the assassination.

This approach could be taken with other topics. For example, I am considering starting up a similar forum on the Home Front during the Second World War. Please contact me if you have any elderly relatives who would be willing to answer student questions on this subject. I have four elderly relatives who have agreed to take part (one soldier who fought in Middle East, two women who endured the Blitz and a child who was evacuated). Only one of these is computer literate and therefore I will organize their registration and the posting of the answers of the other three. Are there any members who could help me with this? Do you have parents, uncles, aunts, etc. who might like to take part in this project. I am especially keen to get people from a wide variety of different countries to take part. For example, it would then be possible to have people from both the UK and Germany to answer questions on subjects like air raid shelters and food rationing. I am sure students would find the activity very stimulating. I will probably link the forum to my simulation on the home front during the war. I will then expand this out to cover other countries and other aspects of the war.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/2WW.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/2WWhome.htm

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/2WWhomeAC.htm

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Guest Andrew Moore

Hi, John,

I'm happy to support this, and be a bit pro-active.

Thinking pragmatically, the groups of students most likely to take part are those who are studying the subject as a personal/individual study, and groups of gifted and talented students.

I will forward it to some colleagues who may wish to join in.

As usual, I have a big backlog of things to do. I've got some very good pictures (taken mostly years ago from the Royal Air Force News) that would be useful for the aviation project (I need only to scan them). If there is to be some collaboration with British Aerospace, then we could possibly extend that to the work they do at Brough (only a few miles from here).

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I'm teaching the JFK assassination in a few months time and will try to build use of the forum into the (as yet unwritten) Scheme of work.

My extra curricular groups may wish to join in discussions related to the Home Front.

Edited by Dan Moorhouse

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I am more than happy to join in the WW2 Home Front project. Both my parents were children at school in the north East of England, so have school memories, and my father in law was a farmer here in the Fens - exempt occupation - and had both German and Italian PoWs. Another relative spent the war years in the Navy, and thus has plenty of yarns to tell!

None are computer literate, but I can manage that.

It is an excellent idea for online learning.

Alf

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John,

This is a great idea. The main problem is on the language.

For example, my father was 18 when Das Reich went in Tulle 2 days before Ouradour sur Glane. They hanged 99 persons and deported more than that.

It's such a big issue in this city (where I teach).

I can find some people that I know for this project but they are a bit old, have difficulties with technology and don't know a word of english....

one link in english:

http://www.dasreich.ca/oradour.html

In french

http://www.europe-memoire.org/dossier/dossier4.html

Don't know how to handle with that...

Jean Philippe

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This is a great idea. The main problem is on the language.

For example, my father was 18 when Das Reich went in Tulle 2 days before Ouradour sur Glane. They hanged 99 persons and deported more than that.

It's such a big issue in this city (where I teach).

I can find some people that I know for this project but they are a bit old, have difficulties with technology and don't know a word of english....

The three people I have registered are in their 80s and do not own a computer. When questions are asked that I think they can answer I will phone them up and take down their answer. Once you have their agreement send me their details (name, a short biography, and a photograph if possible) and I will resister them for you. All you have to do is log in as them and you can answer the questions on their behalf. However, I realise that it will be more difficult for you as you will need to translate their replies. I am not sure how we can get over this problem.

By the way I was in Oradour-sur-Glane a few weeks ago. It was a very moving experience. I have a copy of Sarah Farmer’s book, Martyred Village. I was shocked by the way the French government dealt with the tragedy after the war. I can understand why the local people felt so bitter about how they were treated.

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WWII

I can just remember WWII. I was 3 years old when the war ended. My parents were living in Kent at the time, a couple of miles away from the West Malling airfield. I can remember barrage balloons in the sky all around us. I can remember searchlights and the air raid warning sirens. I can remember sleeping in an air-raid shelter, a sort of metal box construction, on the ground floor in our house. I can remember the victory celebrations and being terrified when they lit a bonfire bearing an effigy of Hitler (I thought it was a real man). My most vivid memory is when my father took me into our back garden to watch a Spitfire from West Malling engaging with a V1 on its way to London. The Spitfire shot it down and it landed nearby in the hop gardens. On another occasion the pilot of a German fighter plane that had been shot down by a Spitfire bailed out over our house, but too late for his parachute to open, and was impaled on a pear tree in our next door neighbour's garden. My father, a male nurse, and the neighbour had to help remove his body.

My wife's cousin, John ("Jack") McMahon, is in his 80s, fighting fit and living on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. His book "Almost a Lifetime" is an account of his first and only bombing mission and its consequences. He was shot down over Holland, sheltered by a Dutch family for a short while and then imprisoned in Germany. He survived a 400-mile forced march across Germany in 1945 as the Russians advanced from the East. For a review of his book see:

http://www.umanitoba.ca/outreach/cm/vol2/no1/almost.html

Jack often gives talks to children in Canadian schools.

He has recently written a romantic novel entitled "Dunraven House" - nothing to do with WWII.

John, if you send me a private email indicating what you think Jack might be able to offer, I will forward it to him. Jack owns a computer and uses email regularly. We'll be visiting Jack on Salt Spring Island towards the end of May.

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However, I realise that it will be more difficult for you as you will need to translate their replies. I am not sure how we can get over this problem.

John,

When do you want to launch this activity?

Just a question of timing.

Jean Philippe

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I can just remember WWII. I was 3 years old when the war ended. My parents were living in Kent at the time, a couple of miles away from the West Malling airfield. I can remember barrage balloons in the sky all around us. I can remember searchlights and the air raid warning sirens. (Graham Davies)

Graham, you seem an ideal person to join our panel. Maybe it would be a good idea to re-register using a photograph of you as a child.

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=624

When do you want to launch this activity? (JP Raud Dugal)

I think we will have to wait until we have a reasonable number of people willing to answer questions and to engage in debate about their experiences. I have had several offers of help by email and hopefully in a few weeks we will have enough people to get in going (20?). I will advertise the idea in today’s forum newsletter and in my other two newsletters (Teaching History Online and Education on the Internet).

We can run the debate for adults on this part of the forum. I hope to make it available on the student forum as well. That creates issues about registration. See

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=612

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John writes:

Graham, you seem an ideal person to join our panel. Maybe it would be a good idea to re-register using a photograph of you as a child.

As I said, I was only three when WWII ended, so my recollections are very hazy and only the most vivid events are imprinted on my mind. My recollections of the post-war period are still very much alive: troops returning home, rationing, etc.

Jack McMahon, by the way, grew up in Belfast and volunteered to join the RAF in 1940 at the age of 19. His book "Almost a Lifetime" is still in print but now published by himself.

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I found my own interview techniques regarding the Depression and World War II involved an analysis of other interviewers and their techniques.

Making up a list of possible questions and then discussing the merits of each question helped the students observe everyday life and the problems one would have if their father were away,if they had to ration gas or food stuffs or metals.

The best aspect of this interview was the ability and ingenuity of the students in finding substitutions for products and procedures.

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We can run the debate for adults on this part of the forum. I hope to make it available on the student forum as well. That creates issues about registration.

Thanks John.

If you want to open it to the students, mine are very concerned about this issue. They all worked on the events in Tulle 60 years ago. Some created plays, exhibitions, made interviews, etc etc...they could explain what they know to others and the others could explain what happened in their area.

But we finish June 4th...perhaps too late...?

Jean Philippe

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Although Spain didn't take part directly in the WWII (Franco sent the División Azul to help the Wehrmacht in the Russian front), the course of events was anxiously followed by the Spaniards.

I, myself, remember that my father went, almost clandestinely, to the British embassy to get the BBC report. Nobody believed the official radio and papers.

As Jean Philippe indicated, the main problem is the language. I will try to find some witnesses and "translate" their testimonies.

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My grand-mother, now 85, was raising her two kids in a farm in Brittany while her husband was a prisonner in Prussia. Many rural families where deprived of men at home. White russians (but not the Vlassov army) were billeted in this area. Seen as looters by the locals, they were mainly used to track partisans. I 'd be happy to help by interviewing her and add a translation.

Christian Bilien

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