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Hand-written Articles of Confederation, adopted in York, presented digitally 235 years later

York, Pa.’s, Colonial Court House, a 1976 replica of the building where the Continental Congress met in 1777-78, was filled with young voices on Sunday. Many had roles in developing multi-media projects entered in the York County Heritage Trust and York Daily Record/Sunday News Articles of Confederation Day Media Contest. Here, Rose Beyer, a Dallastown Area School District elementary school student, receives a first-place award for her project. Also of interest: American Revolution contest prompts York County elementary class to do its homework and Continental Congress struggled into York, and delegates strutted back to Philly 9 months later.

This year’s York County Heritge Trust-sponsored Articles of Confederation Day – noting the 235th anniversary of this seminal American document’s adoption – was marked with change.

Students developed multi-media presentations to tell about the making of the Articles of Confederation, life in the York in 1777-78 and other themes associated with the Colonial period.

In past years, students submitted essays on the Articles, an idea whose time was passing. Interest in essay writing was waning.

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But the multi-media presentations represented a rebirth of story telling about this key moment in York’s – and America’s – history. The Articles of Confederation document served as America’s first framework of government.

The presentations combined audio clips, still photography video, Powerpoint and other digital tools in a way that energized the telling of this story, arguably the highlight of York County’s long history.

In so doing, important information came out:

– The U.S. Constitution addressed problems that the Articles of Confederation posed.

– You can’t teach the Constitution without teaching the Articles.

The long and short is that the readily available digital tools allow teachers and students to build a framework of their own – an educational framework that fosters learning.

The digital projects telling about a document – whose ideas were originally written in long hand and later printed by hand – effectively demonstrated that these students learned about this important American moment.

Also of interest:

– The digital projects are posted digitally on the York County Heritage Trust’s website.

– News about another digital history project in York County schools earlier this year:  Central York students capture York County history and release it to YouTube.

– And another project from Central York: Look out Wikipedia, here come the Murals of York, courtesy of Roundtown Elementary third graders

Elizabeth L. Stein explains the significance of the Articles of Confederation.

Edited, 12/9/12