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Digital History Project students graduate at Museum

By Marni Walsh


The Digital Historian Project (DHP) class of 2016, many of whom are students from Centre Dufferin District High School (CDDHS) in Shelburne, graduated at a ceremony at the Dufferin County Museum and Archives (DCMA) Monday night, and CDDHS history teacher Neil Orford says he “could not have been more proud.”

Orford is an award-winning teacher and the program leader and creator of the Digital Historian Project (DHP) that brings senior history students together with the Dufferin County Museum and Archives (DCMA) for a semester of “deep historical research, developing real-world statistical analytical skills, while earning four credits in subjects including History, Data Management, Drama, Art and Music.

The 15 students in this year's class from Westside Secondary School, Orangeville District Secondary School, and Centre Dufferin Secondary School, each researched the life of Dufferin Veteran, creating digital profiles to be stored in the Dufferin Virtual War Memorial at DCMA.

“The evening was a smashing success,” says Mr. Orford.

The student commencement took place among a packed crowd of proud parents, teachers, Veterans and families, along with Museum staff.

Opening remarks and presentations were made by Mr. Orford, as well as Julie McNevin, the Education Programmer for DCMA. The 2016 class valedictorian for the ceremony was Aidan Crandall.

The evening marked the official launch of the student's digital book, "Epitaphs of War: Told Through the Stories of Dufferin County Veterans.”

Orford says the digital book “is the culmination of an entire semester's deep archival and statistical research into the lives of 17 local Veterans.”

The presentation and dedication of the publication was made by author and historian Blake Heathcote.

Mr. Orford explained how students “combined the mathematical principles of statistical analysis with the rigour of historical inquiry, utilizing 21st century digital competencies to create a rich interactive "iBook" that is unique in Canada.”

Because of the Digital History Project, Centre Dufferin High School is ranked number one in Canada for Veteran research at the Juno Beach Centre - winning the 2015 Government of Canada History Award.

This fall, the work of the 2016 DHP graduates will be featured in a video produced by the Ontario Ministry of Education on “ 21st century learning units” and will be  available on-line at                                                                                                                      This accomplishment marks another major “first” for the ever evolving and ground-breaking history project.

Students also reflected on their trip to Ottawa at the ceremony, where Neil says they conducted interviews and research at the Library & Archives of Canada, the War Museum, the National Gallery, and the Canadian National Cemetery.

This fall, many of the DHP graduates will travel to Europe for the traditional Battlefield Tour, where they will dedicate their Commemorative Bricks at the Juno Beach Centre in Normandy. The students will be in Belgium for Remembrance Day, where they will participate in ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and see preparations for the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge, which will be attended by 25 CDDHS students in April 2017.
Post date: 2016-06-30 13:28:42
Post date GMT: 2016-06-30 17:28:42
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