Impact: Grassmoor School Visit to the University of Nottingham

On 13th June 2016, 25 year six students and their teachers from Grassmoor School in Derbyshire spent the day at the University of Nottingham learning about the First World War and being introduced to digital technology for young historians.

Supported by Professor John Beckett, the students spent a session with Mike Noble, Community Liaison Officer at the Centre for Hidden Histories, learning how to use primary sources, such as census documents in order to build up biographical sketches of soldiers from Grassmoor who fought in World War One.  The students also participated in a session run by Matt Davies, Manager of the Digital Humanities Centre.  Here the students learnt how to scan objects, take digital photographs and use specialist equipment such as book scanners.  The students were also invited to bring along their own First World War era prints and documents to use as part of the digital technology session. Commenting on these activities, Grassmoor Educational Facilitator, Paul Whitfield said, “students loved using the equipment in the Digital Humanities Centre.”

At the end of the trip, the students were asked for their feedback on the day’s events.  Of the twenty-four respondents, everyone seemed to have enjoyed the day and described the different ways in which they found it beneficial.  At least thirteen students said they had learnt how to scan text and images, while six students said that the best part of the day had been the invisible ink exercise, in which they were asked to imaginatively write a postcard from the World War One era.  Parent Jenny Warrington praised the day noting that in relation to First World War history, “because it was about Grassmoor it bought it to life.” Equally, Chair of Governors, Andrew Bradley commented that the day benefitted the children because, “They have found out more about their relatives, and their community as a whole.”

Here’s what some of the students thought about their visit to the University of Nottingham in their own words:

“The Digital Humanities Centre was my favorite part of the visit.”

                                                                                                                         Connor Mills, Age 11


“Today was really fun and I loved it, especially when we did research about John Kenderdine.  Overall, I loved it and I would definitely come back again.”


 Amy Chemwell, Age 11


“…I want to be like one of these people who has taught us today!  I would like to thank everyone for helping me…learn new things.  I would like to visit this place again because it has been really interesting.  I have learnt everything I wanted to learn.”                                                                        

 Bethany Carline, Age 11

“I would like to come here again.  I am definitely coming here for university.”

Millie Slater, Age 11 

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