UGDSB Digital Historian Project recognized by Ministry of Education

February 10, 2017


GUELPH, Ontario – The Digital Historian Project (DHP) has received recognition from the Ontario Ministry of Education as being an ‘exemplary model’ for experiential learning.

The DHP is a partnership between the Upper Grand District School Board and the Dufferin County Museum and Archives (DCMA). This partnership involves three UGDSB high schools, Centre Dufferin DHS, Orangeville DSS and Westside SS. Students participating in this program take four credits in History and Data Management (math), spending about nine weeks at the DCMA for hands-on learning.

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The Ministry of Education has indicated that they were so impressed by the Dufferin educational project, that they requested permission to film and design a video for its EDUGAINS website and to promote the DHP to other schools, boards and community leaders across the province and country.

DHP Students

In preparation of filming, the Ministry spent several days learning about the project by visiting the DCMA. While there, the Ministry observed students and spent a full day filming in June 2016.

Neil Orford, Centre Dufferin DHS teacher and creator of the program, is very proud of the video. Orford is quoted by the Orangeville Citizen as saying, “the video is very exciting and we are most proud of the work the students have accomplished. The Ministry selected the DHP because of its unique integration of Canadian History and Math taught in an entirely ‘real-world’ environment – the Dufferin Country Museum and Archives.”

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The Ministry of Education isn’t the only government body that has recognized the DHP. In 2015, the Federal Government awarded the project the Government of Canada History Award. The Government of Canada History Award honours outstanding students and teachers who show an interest in celebrating Canadian history. Furthermore, students in the DHP have been invited to act as Student Ambassadors at the 73rd Anniversary Ceremonies of D-Day, in Normandy, France on June 6.

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Orford believes that history teachers are currently facing a dilemma – how do we make students want to take history when they can just do an internet search to find simple answers to their questions. By partnering with the DCMA, the DHP allows students to learn history in a unique, hands-on way that allows students to become completely engaged in the subjects of history and math.

This is the last year for Orford as the lead of the DHP, as he is set to retire at the end of June. Orford has said, “It’s been my pleasure to see the enormous success the DHP students have experienced and I encourage everyone to have a look at our program.”

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The DHP has allowed many Dufferin students to expand their knowledge and love of history and math. The UGDSB looks forward to continuing our partnership with the DCMA.

For more information about the DHP, please visit the Digital Historian Project website

To view the EDUGAINS video, please visit the EDUGAINS website