OurDigitalWorld is delighted to announce that we are able to continue our project on Ontario’s multicultural history thanks to a second grant from the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration’s Multicultural Community Capacity program. This funding will support our development of educational tools to promote the history of diverse and underrepresented Ontarians and their contributions to the social and cultural life of the province. These stories, sometimes painful, are part of our heritage.

Our first stage of this project was to develop three virtual exhibits around specific underrepresented groups in the province: black historyJapanese history, and women’s history. These virtual exhibits are available on a dedicated VITA digital toolkit platform:

http://images.ourontario.ca/exhibits/

The next stage will be to work with Ontario K-12 educators to fit these primary-source materials into classroom lessons, and to develop curriculum resources that will be openly licensed for use and adaptation. From our project plan:

We intend to create curriculum resources that will include some of the following, based on consultation with educators:

  • Print-formatted handouts
  • Presentation slides and media links
  • Discussion questions
  • In-class activities
  • Homework assignments
  • Assessment rubrics
  • Student reflection questions
  • Learning outcomes

We’re uniquely positioned to offer a wide range of digital primary sources from collections across Ontario libraries, archives, and museums. We also offer an archival perspective: when we create curriculum resources, we propose to include questions and activities that focus on the types of materials that get made, saved, and digitized for future generations to study – and what that means in the context of underrepresented communities and cultures in Ontario. While we intend to offer a diverse set of primary sources to students, we want to ask them “What’s missing?” and “What’s been modified?”

We believe that historical primary materials overwhelmingly favour the experience of a single demographic, and that intentionally surfacing the histories of underrepresented groups provides a place for critical thinking about the material basis of our national and local narratives. Depending on the grade-level of the modules, we see this as an opportunity to present basic archival literacy concepts and encourage nascent interests in historical inquiry and research.

From this project we hope to learn:

  • how best to promote intercultural understanding through digital historical materials
  • how best to support educators with digitized primary sources relevant to their communities
  • whether opportunities exist to introduce archival literacy to K-12 students
    how to complement our exhibits tools with curriculum resources
  • whether there is an opportunity for future technologies around interactive online activities
  • how we can facilitate future collaborations between our member organizations and educators using digital historical primary sources

Thanks to our collaborators and supporters who helped us plan this project. Please get in touch if you’re interested in bringing historical primary sources into the classroom, or have any feedback for us on our work so far.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Government of Ontario.

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