The Digital Historian Project

An Experiential Learning Partnership between the UGDSB and the DCMA

2016 DHP Reflection: Kyle Lindsay

This semester/program has been a wonderful time and adventure. When I first started this program I did not know anyone in the program besides the two people from my school. Later on, I started to meet new people and got to know them better and I made new friends. The two courses, Canadian history and Native studies, gave me a more in-depth look at history and made me change my view of how I look at things in history.

The most interesting part was researching my veteran. The most interesting thing I found was that everything about him was online. I did not have to find information on paper and try to contact people to get information paper. The other thing I found interesting about my guy was that he was at the battle of Vimy Ridge but, his battalion was not. It was interesting because Gordon George Berry was farm boy who lived in a small place like Dufferin County and went to the most well-known battle for Canadians, Vimy Ridge. Overall, it was great to research my veteran and to learn so much about his life and what he did during his service in the first World War. I will always remember him. When it comes to teachers Mr.Orford is one of my favourite teachers I have had in high school. He is a wonderful teacher who taught me how to look at things in history differently and more efficiently and also connects with his students in a fun way. Mr.Kirk is also one of my favourite math teachers. He is a guy who connects with his students and is always available for questions when we need to ask him. Overall, my DHP experience was great and I will always remember this moment.

2016 DHP Reflection: Hannah Hutchings

Over the course of this semester being in the DHP has gave me memories I will never forget. To imagine not being in the DHP next year is really sad. Having classes that are not in the normal classrooms made coming to school way better. As well as being able to spend the entire semester with peers and even teachers that love history as much as I do is great. The best part of this course was getting to research a veteran. At the beginning I didn’t know who to research but quickly learned about my great great uncle, Herbert James McDougall. At first I knew nothing about him, but over the semester I learned his story. I would have to say that this made me a better person. I think that if he was still alive he would be proud. This research brought my family closer because we got to meet people from his side of the family. I want to thank Mr. Orford for introducing me to this course because it made me a better student. We all learned that it's important to hand things in on time and not to procrastinate. It helped us prepare for college or university. This course made me love history even more than I already do.

2016 DHP Reflection: Ian Fraser

The DHP program has been a great alternative for a regular semester. It’s had its ups and downs, but the positives definitely outweigh the negatives. Mr. Orford is a great balancer of fun and education, and this program, although difficult at times, has given me many skills I didn’t possess before. I especially found the veteran research an exhilarating school project. And it’s oxymorrons like that which make the program so much fun. Obviously with all new programs, it has room to improve, but I’m sure the program will be able to iron itself out with time. All in all, it was a positive experience


2016 DHP Reflection: Samantha Sharkey

My final reflection of this course will be greatly positive as I love DHP more than any other class I have ever been a part of. This class has brought together students from 3 different schools and from very different groups of people on a common interest/love for history. We had the pleasure of becoming part of the Dufferin Country Museum family and have been well-welcomed guests. I personally loved my time at the museum much more than that at the Orangeville high school simply Because how different of an environment it is for us to learn in. The experiences of DHP have been something to remember, from the small day trips like the Turtle Island Heritage Festival to the DHP taking over Ottawa on a week long adventure I was truly amazed. The trips were lovely but I enjoyed our in the class time as well, In class we could have heated conversations about history, native studies, and current issues. As a class we became very close to each other and to me, it began to feel like a home away from home, if you needed help you always got it. I truly fell in love with our veterans research as well as our Canada case projects regardless of the stress I experienced at the end of each trying to just make it perfect. This was simply an amazing year with amazing classmates and teachers, This class would not be the same without Mr. Orford and Mr.Kirk, they made this year as amazing as it was.

2016 DHP Reflection: Mikhaila Johnston

The Digital Historian project has been an eye-opening experience that will further my education and career in History. The DHP taught me University level skills that I had not had the opportunity to acquire in a highschool setting, I can now analyze data and history, tell a story that grabs an audience’s attention, read archival documents and study artifacts and most of all it has taught me time management. The Digital Historian Project from day one has always been a challenge, but that’s why the program focuses on finding individuals with ambition and drive. The projects were difficult, the timing was hard but now being in June, I can successfully say that I did it, that I was a member of The Digital Historian Project.


The projects that we completed as DHP students were incredible. The larger ones were nothing like I had done before. It was hands on and actually challenged my critical thinking skills. The Canada Case project showed that you can tell a story just by a few artifacts, and that story was so fascinating to learn about.

The Veterans project allowed me to dive into my family history and find the missing pieces that my family had always wondered about! It gave me a sense of identity and pride as I saw who my great grandfather truly was.


The best part of The Digital Historian Project was the experience. I had met so many new people who shared the same interests as me, and being in highschool and finding that was quite incredible. The excursions we went on were so much fun because it was tailored to us and our passion for history. Sharing experiences with people like you is amazing and that is what you receive in the DHP.

You don’t know how important something you’re doing in your life will be later on until you have completed it. Now that I am a graduating DHP student, I can see that this has given me the drive and skill sets to further study history and create something of myself with History.

The Digital Historian Project was the smartest decision I have ever made in respect to my education and future.

2016 Digital Historian Wrap-up

With the 2016 Digital Historian Program drawing to a close students are getting into a rather reflective mood reminiscing about the memories gained throughout the program. We have selected several students to share their thoughts on the time they spent in the 2016 Digital Historian.

Grantham Clodd- Lindsay Little

The most unique thing about researching my veteran is how much their is, that is related to him, but nothing directly related to him. I have found unit titles, the history of his unit, his family history, the church that he has gone to, but nothing about him as person. I can find his wife and his children's names, but I have been unable to get into contact with anyone related to him. I have learned so much from researching him, I have learned about the transition from calvary units to armoured Reconnaissance, and the transitional periods of these units. The most interesting thing is that I have found all these interesting facts about my veterans experiences, but so little about himself.

Digital Historian Veteran Research

The average person living in Dufferin County would be surprised on how many of its citizens were veterans that fought in World War One and World War Two. Sadly this is because many of their stories go untold or are lost in newspapers being discarded by an increasingly digital society. Well the members of the Digital Historian Program with the Dufferin County Museum staff are working to change that. Currently they are combing old newspapers and war documents, or if they are lucky, interviewing the veterans themselves, to try to piece together their story which might otherwise be lost to future generations. Their findings will all be published digitally into an E-book by the end of June. 

A word from Digital Historian Project Leader Neil Orford: "Watching the DHP students dig into Veteran research is really rewarding - each student gets a special story and develops a remarkably layered & textured  biography. The results are both moving and important for posterity."

Reporting on acts of terrorism

When most big news stations report on terrorist attacks the focus on the human element of the attack. Their coverage primarily deals with the suffering and sometimes the political implications of the attack. This can lead them to sometimes act irrationally and say things in the heat of the moment that the may not agree with later with hindsight. Gwynne Dyer on the other hand, completely divorces the human element from his articles and looks at the situation objectively. However, this has the side effect of making him look cold and completely indifferent the suffering that the attacks cause. When looking at the two different styles of reporting terrorist attacks the question that comes to my mind is what is the proper way of reporting terrorist attacks, if there is one at all? Must we all look at all terrorist attacks objectively even when running the risk of coming off as cold and uncaring? Or should we look at the human suffering regardless of what irrational actions we may do because of it? What do you think is the correct course of action? 

Is Gwynne Dyer's way of reporting correct?

Is Gwynne Dyer's way of reporting correct?

Or is it the big news outlets?

Or is it the big news outlets?