Theater Name: Omniversum
Location: The Hague, Netherlands
Contact: Alexandra van der Zee, email@example.com
Film: D-Day: Normandy 1944 (N3D Land Productions, 3D Entertainment Distribution)
Omniversum's program for D-Day: Normandy 1944 was winner of the 2015 GSCA Best Educational Program. Pictured at left is Omniversum's Alexandra van der Zee (holding award) with N3DLand Productions' Catherine and Pascal Vuong.
Omniversum's interdisciplinary program includes history, philosophy, social studies, geography and environmental studies. The program contributes to the realization of social engagement and responsibility.
In compiling the program, Omniversum used the knowledge and expertise of an advisory board consisting of:
- School teachers
- Veteraneninstituut, (Institute for Veterans)
- Comité 4 en 5 mei (Committee for Memorial and Liberation Day May 4th and 5th )
- Museon (Popular educational science museum)
Prior to the film Omniversum offers a fascinating one-hour lecture from a veteran who tells about his mission(s) and experiences abroad, supported by video and photos. The lectures are given in the theater. The objective of the lecture series is to show the students that freedom should not be taken for granted and that as in WWII, when soldiers from far away countries came to Holland to liberate us from the Nazis, Dutch soldiers are now in Mali and Syria to keep the peace there. There are students in the class who are refugees from countries like Bosnia, Somalia, etc., where the Dutch army was stationed to help the people.
Visit to the Bunkermuseum The Hague
In addition to the film, school groups can visit a real WWII bunker in Scheveningen (beach of The Hague). Here the students experience what a bunker looks like and how soldiers lived there. The museum will guide the students and will try to start discussions and interact with them. They will also show objects from WWII that are seen in the film, and they will go deeper into the strategies of WWII.
The teacher guide includes classroom activities, information about WWII, a list of definitions and background information, and useful links to other organizations. In addition, a number of discussion questions are included, differentiated for primary, lower secondary and upper secondary education. There were also special assignments created by education expert Annabelle Zeegers to specifically to address the situation in the Netherlands, and the learning objectives were tested by a teacher focus group.
An attractive leaflet was developed. The brochure presents an outline of the goals and content of the education program.
A web page was designed for education. The website provides comprehensive information about the education project: content, objective data, cost information, partners and provides an opportunity to make a booking.
3. Postal mailing
History, Civics, Religion, Ideology and Cultural and Aesthetic Education teachers included in the Omniversum database received a personalized postal mailing that included a brochure, letter and invitation to a special teachers screening.
Various e-mails were sent to the 1600 teachers who have indicated that they want to be informed about educational activities at Omniversum. Other organizations published this program in their newsletters as as well.
5. Teachers Evening
More than 180 teachers attended the special teachers' screening. Omniversum took the opportunity to present the educational materials and to introduce the veterans who would be giving the lectures. Teachers were given a goodie bag and a survey.
6. Free publicity
The program was brought to the attention of relevant press contacts, specialist Internet forums and umbrella organizations. Also to the visitors of the partners like National Military Museum, and different war and liberation museums. We also invited a tourism TV program to come and film a school class, and they interviewed the teacher, who turned out to be a fantastic ambassador. The program was broadcasted nationally and available online.
7. Personal communication
Besides the mass communication mentioned above, personal contact was also a part of the communication strategy. In the development of the project, we spoke to many teachers. These contacts were kept warm, so the teachers actually participated with their class and also created positive word-of-mouth in their immediate network.
The qualitative objective of D-Day was to educate students about WWII, about liberty, about strategy and joint forces.
Students/teachers were asked about the experience, using an online survey:
Project has a 8.1 average rating (on the scale of 1 to 10)
- 96% would recommend the project to another
- 90% have used teacher's guide
Quantitatively, in the first 4 months 4,438 students participated in the project. The students were also given a comic book about the adventures of 10 veterans and a white carnation, the WWII symbol for resistance, loyalty and solidarity and appreciation for all veterans and which is worn on Veterans Day. 1733 students attended the one-hour lecture from a veteran and 1136 students visited the Bunkermuseum afterwards. Both the Veterans Institute as well as the Bunkermuseum want to continue this project until the end of 2015.
A TV show filmed a visit from a school group during their field trip to the Museum next door and when they left the film D-Day. The teacher was extremely positive about the film and the educational program that was offered (in Dutch): https://vimeo.com/125478255
The education program was very successful and valuable for Omniversum. We believe that this project can be programmed every year around Memorial Day and Liberation Day.
This film, with the theme Don’t Take Freedom for Granted, is very valuable in this time where war is not too far away and with many refugees in Europe. The combination of teaching materials for the classroom and in-depth lectures from old and young Veterans has created an appealing and accessible program, which is a meaningful and a positive experience for the students.
Omniversum puts itself on the map with a subject that is difficult to discuss in the classroom.