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Ksar Said: Building Tunisian Young People’s Critical Engagement with Their Heritage


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This paper describes the work undertaken as part of the ‘Digital Documentation of Ksar Said’ Project. This project, funded by the British Council, combined education, history, and heritage for the digital preservation of tangible and intangible aspects of heritage associated with the 19th century Said Palace (Ksar Said) in Tunis. We produced an interactive 3D model of Ksar Said and developed learning resources to build Tunisian students’ critical engagement with their heritage through inquiry learning activities within the 3D model. We used a user-centred approach, based on pre-assessment (i.e., co-creation of contents), mid-term evaluation (i.e., feedback on contents and preliminary design of virtual activities), and post-assessment design (i.e., user trial). Our results demonstrate the potential of this novel approach to virtual learning and inform future co-design, evaluation and implementation choices for improving the generative power of three dimensional virtual replication of heritage sites in the cultural heritage sector.
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Sustainability 2019, 11, 1373; doi:10.3390/su11051373
Ksar Said: Building Tunisian Young People’s Critical
Engagement with Their Heritage
Paola Di Giuseppantonio Di Franco 1,*, Mark Winterbottom 2, Fabrizio Galeazzi 3
and Mike Gogan 4
1 School of Philosophy and Art History and Interdisciplinary Studies Centre, University of Essex; Colchester,
2 Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, CB2 8PQ, UK;
3 Department of Archaeology, University of York, York, YO1 7EP, UK; Interdisciplinary Institute for the
Humanities, University of East Anglia, Norwich, NR1 4DH, UK;
4 The Virtual Experience Company, Malvern, WR13 5EZ, UK;
* Correspondence:
Received: 15 January 2019; Accepted: 22 February 2019; Published: 5 March 2019
Abstract: This paper describes the work undertaken as part of the ‘Digital Documentation of Ksar
Said’ Project. This project, funded by the British Council, combined education, history, and heritage
for the digital preservation of tangible and intangible aspects of heritage associated with the 19t h
century Said Palace (Ksar Said) in Tunis. We produced an interactive 3D model of Ksar Said and
developed learning resources to build Tunisian students’ critical engagement with their heritage
through inquiry learning activities within the 3D model. We used a user-centred approach, based
on pre-assessment (i.e., co-creation of contents), mid-term evaluation (i.e., feedback on contents
and preliminary design of virtual activities), and post-assessment design (i.e., user trial). Our
results demonstrate the potential of this novel approach to virtual learning and inform future
co-design, evaluation and implementation choices for improving the generative power of three
dimensional virtual replication of heritage sites in the cultural heritage sector.
Keywords: Virtual Reality; cultural heritage; historical thinking; inquiry; critical design;
co-creation; critical heritage; evaluation; Ksar Said; 3D replicas of heritage at risk
1. Introduction
In countries affected by conflict, there are often contested narratives about a country’s history
and heritage, beliefs and faiths, culture and identity [1]. Because these narratives are strongly held, it
is difficult to reach consensus between different groups (religious, ethnic, etc.) about the accepted
historical narrative of a country. In such countries, it is crucial to equip students with tools to enable
them to reflect on histories, rather than history, and to think about their personal and community
connections to their heritage, rather than trying to teach an agreed historical narrative [2,3]. Heritage
is separate from history, because it is concerned with the “re-packaging of the past for some purpose
in the present” [4]. Education must take into account, from an early age, how the past, and especially
the ‘difficult’ past [5] is negotiated in the present. In conflict-affected countries, heritage is about
making sense of the past to inform children’s understanding of present or recent conflicts.
Engaging young learners in historical inquiry [6] can be a fruitful approach to heritage
education. This method aims to support students to inquire about their heritage using similar
approaches to those used by a professional historian. The development of such inquiry-based
activities in virtual heritage environments may be a creative and accessible way to engage young
learners with the richness of their heritage [7]. Such activities enable children to follow their own
lines of inquiry, engaging with the ideas autonomously, within pre-defined foci (i.e., selected
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themes). Based on these premises, in 2017 we developed an online project combining virtual reality
(VR) and historical inquiry to engage young Tunisians with learning activities related to the rise of
their nation in the context of their built heritage. The project started from the digital documentation
of Ksar Said, the final residence for the last Ottoman Beys (rulers) of Tunisia. The main assumption
was that increasing understanding of the complex and varied influences that have culminated in the
nation as it is today can help to develop a culture of critical understanding of historicity and heritage
values so that the diversity of Tunisian Heritage will be appreciated and protected. The project was
funded by the British Council Cultural Protection Fund and had two aims: (1) the high-resolution
documentation of the Palace using laser scanning technology for the long-term preservation and
monitoring of the building; and (2) the development of educational activities to foster young
learners’ engagement with the history of the Palace and more broadly with Tunisian heritage. This
paper will focus on the process of co-creation of the online educational contents and will emphasize
the reflexive approach adopted for the creation of the final online outcome. We co-designed and
evaluated the inquiry-based activities to examine how such inquiry could foster children’s
understanding of their heritage. The findings suggested that the use of inquiry questions within a
virtual heritage environment can help primary and secondary age students to access and reflect
upon their heritage, across different historical era. The educational platform is available online at [8].
The remainder of the article is organized as follows.
Section 2 presents the theoretical framework underlying the project. Section 3 presents the case
study, with specific reference to why the Palace was selected to exemplify the rise of the nation, and
with reference to the 3D digital documentation process (i.e., laser scanning and subsequent data
optimization for the online platform). Section 4 introduces our process of design and evaluation of
the online platform and associated educational contents. Section 5 presents the results of the main
phases of design and evaluation. Finally, Section 6 concludes by discussing strengths and limitations
of this project, its implications for the heritage field and future research directions.
2. Theoretical Framework
Heritage is concerned with the re-packaging of the past for some purpose in the present. When
children try to make sense of their history, and work out what it means for them, they are reflecting
on their sense of heritage. This kind of ‘intangible’ heritage is important; the meaning which a child
makes from real historical buildings and artefacts is important to their identity and their
understanding of the history of their country or their local environment [8,9].
2.1. Learning through Inquiry
While historical inquiry [6] is specifically used to help a student to ask questions about history,
it may also be a valuable way to reflect on how layers of history build up, and are selected,
negotiated and celebrated in the past and in the present [10,11]. In other words, historical inquiry
can be an invaluable method to help a student to reflect on the complexity of history and heritage.
Historical inquiry involves students asking and answering questions about people, objects,
buildings and artefacts, such as ‘what is it?’, ‘why is it significant’ and ‘what does it mean to us
today?’. Questions are asked which begin with ‘Who?’, ‘What?’, ‘When?’, ‘Why?’ and ‘How?’.
Students decide upon evidence needed to answer those questions, they interpret the evidence, and
explain and communicate the meaning of the evidence. In doing so, they engage with key historical
concepts, including:
Continuity and change. For example, exploring questions like ‘How did society change?’, ‘Why
did society change?’, ‘What stayed the same?’, ‘Did change last a long time?’
Cause and consequence. For example, exploring questions such as ‘What caused it to happen?’,
‘What are the consequences of what happened?’, ‘What can we learn from what happened?’
Historical significance. For example, exploring questions such as ‘Was it significant?’, ‘Why was
it significant?’, ‘How significant is it?’
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Use of primary sources. For example, looking at historical documents and artefacts, and asking
what information can be gained from them, who wrote them, why they were written in
particular ways, and what possible explanations could there be for how they are written. Taking
a historical perspective. For example, examining ‘How did people react?’, ‘Did different people
react differently?’, ‘Why did people react differently?’, ‘How did people’s reactions cause
Students who engage with one or more of these concepts are asked to work on several phases of
inquiry, which include:
Making observations, asking questions, developing hypotheses, planning what evidence to
Collecting and collating evidence to confirm or refute their original ideas.
Interpreting and analysing the evidence
Concluding and communicating
Discussing and reviewing the evidence
By involving children in inquiry, they increasingly take initiative, and become more
autonomous and self-directed. Such inquiry can also enable children to go beyond ‘collective
memory’ and become more critically analytical of the bases for identities they already hold [12].
Because of this, their learning builds on, and goes beyond, their existing ideas and understanding.
We believe that the main strength of the historical inquiry method resides on the fact that the
conclusions students make are not definite, which means that the words probably, and possibly are
essential for students to use. Students cannot engage in historical inquiry if they spend all lesson
listening to the teacher. They need alternative and appealing opportunities to reflect upon their
cultural heritage.
2.2. Virtual Reality in Education
Virtual Reality (VR) platforms can provide a good first step to enacting inquiry ideas into
teaching and learning. Such platforms can enable children to follow their own lines of inquiry,
engaging with the ideas autonomously, within pre-defined foci. Using a pedagogical framework,
such as historical inquiry, in combination with a virtual reality environment, may therefore have
utility in maximising students’ learning and thinking; using any sort of virtual environment alone is
not a guarantee of student learning [13,14]. That said, virtual environments have several affordances:
such environments can capture students’ interest and imagination, and online virtual
reconstructions of monuments and sites can respond to common interests between young learners,
and interests in new media, gaming, and hands-on activities [7, 15–19]. When engaging in historical
inquiry, a virtual environment enables students to move in the virtual representation of historical
and heritage sites to seek sources of evidence that will allow them to: make conclusions on the basis
of evidence; consider if they are trustworthy or useful to a particular inquiry; make their own
judgements and build their own conclusions; discuss and communicate their answers; and realise
which inquiry process or historical concept they are working on. They allow students to learn from
non-symbolic first-person and group experience [20–23] and can encourage or require collaboration
and provide a social atmosphere [16,17,19]. Such collaboration can be important for effective
learning. Importantly, VR provides a very open format for users to make decisions. Scenarios in
adventure games can be very linear, constraining students’ learning. The inquiry process places
emphasis on students’ own decision making; for example, VR allows for repetition (revisiting a
location, or doing an activity more than once). This kind of repetition also expands students’
learning opportunities beyond the regular class schedule and spaces, with proven benefits for the
learning experience [15,16,24,25]. Finally, VR encourages active participation and a user-centred
approach [26] (p. 37), which is also enhanced by the inquiry approach, suggesting that VR and
historical inquiry can be naturally combined to increase critical engagement with history and
heritage. To summarize, it is important to state that we avoided simply adopting a gamification
approach; our intention was to prioritize the pedagogical model of inquiry, building students’
autonomy in their learning and enhancing the role of discussion. As such, the panoramas provided
authentic access to evidence which students were asked to consider in their inquiries, but allowed
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them to feel ownership of their learning, rather than being distracted by mastering aspects of a game
format. Of course, such inquiries are possible using video fly-throughs or images of the palace to
provide evidence sources, but by situating the palace within a VR environment, we hoped to build
students’ immersion, engagement and enjoyment of the activity, giving a sense of place which we
hoped would enable them to situate themselves historically to build understanding of their heritage.
3. 3D Digital Documentation of Ksar Said
The Digital Documentation of Ksar Said project was aimed at promoting Tunisian heritage,
starting from the story of Ksar Said, through engagement with a 3D experience, combined with the
novel pedagogical approaches discussed above.
3.1. Background: Why Did We Choose Ksar Said? What Does This Monument Represent for Tunisians and
Tunisian Heritage?
Ksar Said is a former Tunisian Beylic Palace located in Bardo, on the outskirts of Tunis. It
contains a wealth of architectural and decorative features which reference Tunisia’s rich cultural
history and its Roman, Punic, Ottoman, modern European (Italian, French), Arab (including
Andalusian) and Islamic influences. It was the final residence for the last Ottoman Beys of Tunisia,
but despite its grandeur, it was locked up for nearly a century.
The Palace is unique in Tunisia, as it represents aspects of the country’s heritage which were
overlooked by earlier regimes, prior to the Revolution in 2011. The Palace has associations with
many of the early achievements of the country, including abolition of slavery, and the first written
constitution in the Arab-Muslim World. In essence, this monument is a microcosm of Tunisian
history, combining both tangible architectural evidence and intangible associations with the myriad
aspects of the nation’s history. The Palace fell into disuse some 50 years ago and has been slowly
deteriorating ever since. Through the recent efforts of the Rambourg Foundation, it has once again
become accessible to local people through the exhibition ‘L’Eveil d’une Nation’ [27]. The exhibition
attracted enormous attention in Tunisia and was attended by over 25,000 people in less than two
months. The exhibition, and the Palace which hosts it, have hugely increased the awareness of the
emergence of Tunisia as a nation: its role in abolishing slavery, its democratic and inclusive
constitution, its role and its relationship with the great empires of recent centuries and its identity as
a modern Muslim state - the seed from which the Arab Spring emerged. The success of the exhibition
has demonstrated a real interest in such cultural experiences across a wide range of Tunisian society.
Following the success of the exhibition and renovated interest in the Palace and its history, this
monument is currently undergoing restoration and will soon become the Museum of the Nation.
This work was carried out under a collaboration between the Rambourg Foundation and the
Institute Nationale du Patrimoine (INP).
The re-emergence of the Palace into public awareness provided an opportunity to build on the
momentum that the exhibition had started. The values represented by the Palace, and by the inquiry
activities embedded within its virtual reconstruction, provide an opportunity to build upon the
kinds of educational reform which can help to prevent young people from adopting extremist
ideologies [28]. On a more pragmatic level, many Tunisians cannot afford to visit Tunis and its major
monuments, exposing them to disaffection with an important aspect of their cultural heritage. The
aim of the Ksar Said project was to bring the Palace to most Tunisians, with particular attention
being paid to young people.
Based on these premises, our project was characterised by two main objectives: (1) digitally
preserve Ksar Said to allow future interventions of restoration in the building; (2) use innovative
approaches to engage young Tunisians in their cultural heritage, both in co-creating the learning
activities, and in using those activities, with a view to raising awareness of the diverse influences
that make up modern Tunisia.
3.2. 3D Documentation and Visualization
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3.2.1. From Digital Preservation to Future Physical Restoration
The first phase of the project was to undertake the scanning of the interior of the Palace for
long-term preservation and monitoring purposes. We used a Faro Focus 3D Laser Scanner and
preferred this documentation method to others (e.g., Structure from Motion) [29–31] due to its ability
to record large buildings in a short period of time without losing the finest details of the
architectonic elements [32–35]. Laser Scanner technologies have also been demonstrated in recent
decades to be valuable tools to monitor buildings, favouring restoration planning and interventions
on built heritage at risk [36,37].
Due to the complexity and dimensions of the Palace [38], and the limited time and resources
available for this project, it was impossible to acquire the whole building. For this reason,
professionals from the INP and Rambourg Foundation working on the maintenance and restoration
of the Palace guided us in an accurate exploration of the building to illustrate the different phases
and the evolution of its architectonic history and identify the key areas to document. The choice
considered the preservation conditions and the historical relevance of the different parts of Ksar Said
in relation to the research objectives of this project. As a result, we opted to select the rooms which
bore the most significant historical influences and which would serve to illustrate the breadth of
influence of cultures that exist in present-day Tunisia, including Roman, Punic, Ottoman, modern
European (Italian, French), Arab (including Andalusian) and Islamic influences. We did not scan
areas of the Palace that have been subjected to major changes; for example, when the Palace was
used as a hospital, with many rooms being adapted for this use.
During the course of the data capture process we involved the staff at the Palace, providing
specific training on the various technologies used during the project (e.g., laser scanning and
panoramic photography), and the benefit of integrating the different techniques for the effective
digital preservation of the Palace (see Figure 1). The active participation of professionals that work in
the Palace on a day-to-day basis, was crucial to increasing awareness of the importance of
developing long-term strategies for the preservation of Tunisian built heritage. To facilitate the
development of durable preservation strategies and practices, we donated a panoramic camera to
the INP.
Figure 1. Ksar Said: laser scanning acquisition and training.
We produced an accurate 3D replica of the palace setting a millimetric resolution for each scan
(Resolution Setting: 1/4; Point Distance at 10 m: 6.14 mm). To avoid redundancy in the final 3D point
cloud, we tried to minimize the number of scans. The total number of produced scans was 55 for a
total of 14 rooms. The number of scans for each room varied based on complexity and dimension of
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the space to be acquired (i.e., 3–4 scans for the smaller rooms; 7 scans for the larger and more
complex room, the main salon).
The 3D models created as part of this project were exported and preserved in OBJ and PLY
formats and shared with the Rambourg Foundation (see Figure 2). They will be used as visualisation
and simulation tools to facilitate future planning of the physical restoration of the Palace, and
Figure 2. Laser scanning 3D model of the Ksar Said main salon: (a) Point cloud 3D model; (b)
Textured 3D model.
3.2.2. Engage Young Tunisians through Digital Technologies
Once we had completed the 3D scans, the next stage was to develop interactive models we
could deliver online to as wide an audience as possible. We developed interactive 3D panoramas
from the scan data. Considerations here were the availability across the country of high-speed
broadband and the level of technology (high-end computers, mobile devices, etc) that were available
to our audience. We also needed to consider the priorities of the project, which focused on the
educational and advocacy aspects, rather than the 3D technology per se. 360° panoramas are easily
deliverable over multiple platforms and are accessible to users with very slow broadband
connections. While we recognise the strong educational potential of serious digital games [39–42],
we decided to adopt solutions that could minimise any requirement for familiarity with gaming
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technology, by providing a very simple to navigate interface that could enable children and teachers
to focus on the educational activities designed in association with the platform. Also, as indicated
above, we wanted to provide students with maximum autonomy to conduct inquiry, and by
removing constraints which can be embedded in digital games, we expected them to be able to learn
through open inquiry, rather than directed inquiry. This fits with the aspiration of the project, to
enable individual young people to build their own understanding of Tunisian heritage.
To create the panoramas, we imported the 3D scans of the different rooms of the Palace in the
3D modelling software 3D Studio Max. After a preliminary stage of optimization of the models and
the set-up of lighting and camera in the 3D environment for the final rendering, we exported several
panoramas from the software (see Figure 3).
The final stage of the project was to integrate the panoramas in a web portal and associate them
with educational activities based on inquiry. The contents were translated into Arabic, French, and
English, to allow a wide international audience to know more about Tunisian cultural heritage
through the exploration of the digital replica of the Palace.
Figure 3. Ksar Said: 3D panorama of the Bey’s room.
4. Design and Assessment: Methods
The panoramas were designed to provide portals to a range of specific educational ‘missions’.
These aimed to engage young people with the concept of ‘hybridity’ and the complexity of the
history of their nation. The main idea is that students ask questions about their heritage, collect
evidence needed to answer those questions by virtually touring Ksar Said, they interpret the
evidence, and explain and communicate the meaning of the evidence. The design of each was
focused around an ‘inquiry question’, and embeds one or more aspects of historical thinking
(continuity and change; cause and consequence; historical thinking; use of primary sources; taking a
historical perspective) [43]. Each mission has a specific ‘content-knowledge’ focus as well, with each
focus chosen as one which can communicate the diverse historical influences on modern Tunisian
society, namely: Architecture, Ceramics, Food, Language and the Beys. In such a way, the project
delivered the educational and advocacy content to a wide audience across the country with limited
and/or diverse methods of access to the Internet, this being the primary aim. Hence, the focus was
not on simply reading factual information about history and culture, but the ‘missions’ required the
audience to look around the panoramas, moving from room to room, and to question
preconceptions and to construct their own understanding and opinions from the evidence of
different influences on Tunisian culture.
The idea was to present contents that appeared different from the children’s everyday reality,
which might seem foreign at first, and ask them to make connections between these apparent
uncanny objects or concepts and their culture and everyday life. Such an approach has its
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foundations within inquiry learning, but also within the theory of the uncanny, taken from Freud
[44] and conceptualised by James Auger: “any experience that challenges a preconception will at
first appear odd, but here the details and finish of the artefacts, combined with the short
explanations describing their functions and modes of interaction, entices the audience into exploring
the concept further” [45] (p. 145). Such ‘critical design’ is used to explore alternative views of the
world, to develop questions and to engage the audience in reflection [46]. The narrative approach
embedded within the missions tried to foster curiosity and concern, and to avoid “visceral reactions
of rejection” [46] (p. 79), something important when audiences’ values and beliefs are strongly held.
Hence, children should be able to explore this idea of hybridity and the concept of culture as
heterochrony [47]: a series of layers, which add up. By beginning with the idea of the ‘uncanny’,
inquiry approaches enable students to relate aspects of their daily life to the ‘uncanny’ elements
presented by some of the features of the Palace and elements of the educational missions.
Unfamiliarity is a useful starting point of such a learning experience, with the hybrid influences
on Tunisian culture embodying aspects of such unfamiliarity. Anthony Dunne emphasises that “our
ideas make their way into the material world in some way; it is not enough that they end up as pure
thoughts. They must be embodied in object typologies that we understand: furniture, products,
clothing, buildings, etc.” [48]. Indeed, design of the missions drew on the following assertion:
“The designer has to create a ‘perceptual bridge’ to fill the gap between the viewer’s present
state of mind—technical knowledge, psychological perception and cultural background—and the
foreign proposition. Drawing from the different texts, we can consider that the ‘perceptual bridge’
appellation includes:
Using tangible artefacts, and a familiar typology of objects,
• Narration (rhythm, plot, style, etc.),
• Scales of complexity among a variety of media used,
• Aesthetic experience of encountering the artefact.” [46] (p. 95).
We developed the missions as a co-design and assessment project based on: 1. Formative
consultation with various stakeholders to build our understanding of Tunisian history and heritage,
aimed at selecting the inquiry questions and related “missions” for the web portal; 2. A first stage of
assessment with schools; 3. A summative assessment with one school and members of the INP, to
assess content and infrastructure development and the quality and level of engagement of the
proposed activities. As mentioned earlier, this project and the paper was conceived as a proof of
concept. We wanted to explore how the combination of inquiry learning and VR could foster the
critical engagement of young learners in Tunisia with the complexity of their heritage. For the
project, we were concerned with the whole process of content development, rather than the final
outcome [49–51]. For this reason, we decided that a qualitative approach to our research was an
optimal way to gather metacognitive and reflexive data for the critical design and implementation of
the platform and associated educational contents. Engaging in a qualitative approach provides
enhanced opportunity for detailed understanding of users’ engagement and learning, allowing us to
build understanding of the responses from the ‘ground up’, rather than superimposing our
expectations through the use of a survey. We achieved this through a thematic coding analysis
approach [52] to understand and make sense of users’ contributions. Engaging with fewer
stakeholders to gain richer data is a common approach in educational research, and underpins the
data collection and analysis processes here. Of course, the findings of this study could subsequently
contribute to design of a survey to test the ideas presented below, and to assess specified learning
outcomes, but that was not the immediate aim of the current study.
A total of 22 teachers and 30 school-children took part during the whole process.
1. The formative consultation aimed to define the inquiry questions and design of “missions”,
included in-depth interviews and discussions with scholars of Tunisian history, members of the INP,
members of the Bey family, and museum curators, especially curators of the recent exhibition
‘L’Eveil d’une Nation’ [38]. This stage was aimed at bringing together stakeholders’ understanding
of Tunisian heritage, choosing the appropriate pedagogical strategies for the learning content, and
identifying and building learning content from the starting points of local learners.
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2. The first stage of assessment consisted of focus groups with teachers, head teachers and
selected students of one state and two private schools, providing both primary and secondary
education in Tunis. Focus groups are a recognized approach to qualitative data collection [52]. We
organised a focus group with each school. The focus groups with the two private schools included
teachers and headteachers only (four and fifteen respectively), while the head teacher of the state
school decided that four selected students (age range 11–13) should participate in the focus group,
which also included him and three teachers. Our concern before these focus groups was that inquiry
activities would be too distinct from normal classroom activity, and that teachers would not see
value in them, preferring instead to teach content, rather than let children build ideas in relation to
their heritage. As such, we designed first drafts of five learning activities which drew on five
concepts of historical thinking, and those aspects of cultural heritage outlined above (architecture,
ceramics, food, language, Beys). We sought to establish the following:
a. Subject knowledge of teachers and students about the five proposed themes (architecture,
ceramics, food, language, Beys), and what support material teachers need to build their own
b. Pedagogical knowledge of teachers. We asked questions about how instructors teach history and
how this might differ based on different schools (e.g., state-funded schools vs international
schools). More specifically, we also focused on how Beylical history is taught in the classroom.
To record possible dichotomy between didactic (being taught lists of dates and facts, etc.) and
inquiry (students engaging with ideas and building knowledge themselves with some
scaffolding) approaches, we asked teachers the extent to which they engaged with key areas of
historical thinking (establish ‘historical significance’; use primary ‘source evidence’; identify
‘continuity and change’; analyse ‘cause and consequence’; take ‘historical perspectives’).
We also focused more generally on whether aspects of inquiry were a common feature of lessons,
asking teachers whether they ask students to do any of the following:
1. Ask questions
2. Collect evidence
3. Interpret and analyse evidence
4. Make conclusions
c. Finally, we talked through the first two mission activities with teachers and students and
asked them to give honest opinions on how they would work, both for children at home and in class.
3. Our summative assessment was a final trial of activities in one of the three schools. We used
three groups of four students to work through each of the activities, with an additional 14 students
being shown the missions projected onto the whiteboard at the front of the class. A total of 26
students were involved (age range 11–13). Again, we interviewed each group of students at the end
of each activity to understand their perceptions of the activity, how it engaged them and how it
enabled them to learn.
5. Results
5.1. Design of Main Themes and Activities and Formative Assessment of Technologies
In developing learning content, we wanted different stakeholders to have an active role and, as
such, we had to build in multiple review points. These stakeholders included historians, teachers,
staff members of the INP, surviving members of the family of the Beys, and employees of the
Rambourg Foundation, who had been involved with, and were building upon the legacy of, the
exhibition ‘L’Eveil d’une Nation’. There were multiple opportunities to revise our approaches, to
ensure that what we produced would be relevant. As explained earlier, our aim was to agree on five
or six broad themes that would become the main ‘missions’ of the virtual application. This stage of
the design was particularly complex, as the very nature of the online activities required us to reduce
the complexity of Tunisian history and heritage to a small selection of contents presented in a
language that would be engaging for young students. In our views, the missions would serve as a
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starting point: for teachers, to engage in new, open, generative, teaching approaches; for students, to
engage with history and heritage in a way that might enhance interest in deepening their
understanding of the heritage of their nation. The preliminary stage of content-design required three
trips to Tunisia, aimed at visiting Tunis and its surroundings; scrutinizing the Said Palace, to detect
and understand the many influences embodied in its material features; and recording audio
interviews with our selected stakeholders (see above).
Our discussions with our selected parties confirmed that learning activities which involved
student inquiry were appropriate. It was clear from the interviews that they felt students were
taught well in schools, but that greater questioning and learning autonomy would be of benefit. We
decided to frame the learning activities around broad concepts of inquiry.
During our interviews, we observed that different parties had different views about the key
aspects of heritage to explore. Some parties were reticent about activities focused on the role of
women, on the post-Arab spring era, and on the era of Bourguiba. After consultation with some of
our Tunisian collaborators, we decided to avoid engaging with more recent history, including the
post-Bey era of Bourguiba and the Arab Spring; it was not our intention to make a direct political
contribution to current public discourse in Tunisia. We felt that our knowledge of, and ability to
build learning around, less recent historical periods may be more successful, and not attract
controversy. It was our aim to enable children to think, without having such thinking masked by
strongly held beliefs. As such, we opted to focus on five “missions” and their related activities: Food;
Language; Architecture; Beylical history; Ceramics (see Figure 4).
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Figure 4. Missions and their related activities: Food; Language; Architecture; Beylical history;
Food: this was the first theme selected for the ‘missions’. All parties agreed that it could be
immediate and easy for children to relate to food as a form of cultural identity. Food is a form of
heritage that transcends cultural and religious barriers [53,54], and Tunisia is filled with restaurants
that reflect the movement of people in the country throughout history. We thought this could be the
easiest mission to make students think about ‘hybridity’ and ‘heterochrony’. Such a judgement was
reinforced from a professional standpoint (by the teachers), from an academic standpoint (by a
history academic) and by children themselves.
Language: this provided another immediate theme to introduce the concept of hybridity.
Listening to foreign sounds that are familiar, students can create easy connections between their
language and foreign languages that might have influenced the formation of some of the Tunisian
words in the past. This ‘mission’ also represented an occasion to introduce the concept of ‘Lingua
Franca’, a mix of Ottoman, French, Spanish, and Italian, which spread in the Mediterranean starting
from the 16th century [55]. Tunisian Arabic has a lot of borrowed and adapted words from the
Sustainability 2019, 11, 1373 12 of 20
languages of the Mediterranean, and hence itself has some characteristics of a ‘Lingua Franca’. This
idea originated with the Tunisian history academic, and its potential utility was reinforced by our
own etymological research.
Architecture: this theme was aimed at inviting the students to explore the Palace and its
architectural features and think about the various intangible cultural aspects that might have
influenced the construction of this building. Members of the INP confirmed that recognition of
features within the Palace had the potential to both raise awareness of different cultural influences,
but also to make sense of architectural features outside of the Palace, enabling their everyday built
environment to reinforce their learning from within the virtual model of the Palace.
Beylical history: this was the most historical theme overall and the one in which students could
engage with original documents which formed that basis of their modern nation. The Beys were the
owners of the Palace, ruled Tunisia from 1705, and had a significant role in the formation of modern
Tunisia [56]. Nonetheless, many Tunisians do not know much about them, and we agreed with our
parties that it would be important to challenge young Tunisians with this period of Tunisian history
through historical inquiry. A member of the Bey family was keen for an accurate story to be
communicated to young people, and the Rambourg Foundation had already asserted its importance
by including Beylical history within ‘L’Eveil d’une Nation’.
Ceramics: Tunisia has some of the most beautiful ceramics in the world and had been renowned
historically for its production of ceramics. The INP and the history academic recommended ceramics
as being a topic area which is strongly related to Tunisian identity. Ksar Said contains a rich variety
of tiles that decorate each corner of the building. Many clearly represent Tunisian culture, with some
representing clear influences from other European ceramics schools. The number and variety of tiles
in the Palace and their differing styles gave a wide variety of evidence upon which to build inquiry
activities (see Figure 5).
Sustainability 2019, 11, 1373 13 of 20
Figure 5. Missions: Ceramics.
Regarding infrastructure development, we came to understand that Tunisian schools,
especially state schools, are not well provisioned with up-to-date computers, and that many children
would engage with the Palace via mobile phone. Hence, as indicated earlier, we opted for
Sustainability 2019, 11, 1373 14 of 20
panoramas within the scanned model, to ensure low bandwidth, while still allowing us to build in
virtual content.
5.2. First Stage of Assessment with Schools
Our concern before the focus groups was that inquiry activities would be too distinct from
normal classroom activity, and that teachers would not see value in them, preferring instead to teach
content, rather than let children build ideas in relation to their heritage. As such, we designed first
drafts of five learning activities which drew on five concepts of historical thinking, and those aspects
of cultural heritage outlined above. During the focus groups, teachers and students could interact
with the 3D panoramas while discussing contents with us. One student highlighted the importance
of the panoramas for the interaction with Ksar Said. He said: “During our visit [to Ksar Said for
‘L’Eveil d’une Nation’] they said we could not take photos, so we could easily forget the details of
the Palace. With this we can revisit the details of the Palace” (Emphasis on the original talk in
Feedback on the activities was also very positive. We understood that teachers’ knowledge of
their own heritage was in some places limited, and that pedagogical understanding differed very
much between schools, with the international schools having a more ingrained tradition of involving
students in their own learning. All teachers, particularly the head teacher from the state school, were
very positive about the role of such activities in enabling students to learn, and in providing a new
approach to learning. The approach to learning through inquiry was one which they all valued but
may not have found easy to implement. Particularly, state schools struggle to introduce new
methods, due to time and programme constraints. When we asked the head teacher of the selected
state school how the Beylical period is taught, he replied:
“We have a theoretical answer and practical answer. Which answer would you like? ...OK, here
the practical answer. We have 50 minutes to teach the period from the ‘Beylical to the 19th century:
crisis and attempts of reform’...50 minutes in which we also have to take attendance. We start the
lesson with an introduction, then give a list of facts and ask them to take notes. This is what we do...
Last year for the first time we had this experience... we brought the students to the exhibition
[‘L’Eveil d’une Nation’] and they saw something they will never forget...” (English translation from
the original talk in French). The latter statement suggests a positive attitude towards experiential
learning and students’ engagement with material remnants of the past.
While it is difficult for state schools to experiment with novel pedagogical approaches in the
classroom, they can organise after-school teaching clubs and would welcome engaging material,
such as the virtual experience of Ksar Said, to critically engage students with history and heritage.
The head teacher also suggested that his students have little opportunities to visit the heritage sites,
making virtual tours particularly important for them: “This is a school with students coming from
suburban areas of the city. This does not mean that they are not clever, it means that they have less
opportunities… we do not have the money to bring them to visit monuments and sites, which means
that these virtual tours have an added value for our students. They allow them to visit monuments
that they would not visit otherwise” (English translation from the original talk in French) (see Figure
Sustainability 2019, 11, 1373 15 of 20
Figure 6. Assessment with schools. Talking about pedagogy.
This first stage of assessment allowed us to refine our support materials based on the feedback
received. We decided to include briefs on the historical concepts in the webpage as professional
development materials, and we removed the information briefings to avoid teachers simply teaching
content. We finalised content of all activities and resources and then returned to Tunisia to conduct
user trials (i.e., summative assessment).
5.3. Summative Assessment
During our summative assessment with students, we found that activities which required them
to hunt the virtual Palace for evidence were most popular and engaging, and the benefits of setting
the learning activities within the virtual model were clear in fostering the engagement of students.
Because we had opted for panoramas (for technical reasons outlined above) there was a limit to the
sophistication of such activities, which might be overcome in similar future projects by
experimenting with the same activities in immersive gaming platforms.
We also tried priming students with knowledge before they engaged in the activities. This
undermined the activities in the students’ eyes, and this vindicated our decision to remove
information briefing documents from the website. This meant that all learning and information
could only be acquired by engagement with the learning activities. There is ample evidence around
the world that teachers can tend to focus more on content than on skills, particularly in response to
high-stakes testing (reviewed in [57]). However, encouraging students to think is important to their
learning; they cannot simply be considered to be ‘empty vessels’ into which information and ideas
can be ‘poured’ [58]. Finally, we found that some of the evidence hotspots were located wrongly or
needed text refining. We even found that treaty documents we had thought were Arabic (and which
we had asked students to examine as part of an activity) were in fact in Ottoman Turkish. We then
had to retranslate them to enable students to work with them effectively. We asked several summary
questions, both to understand students’ perceptions of the activities, but also to understand the
extent of their learning. We were unable always to audio-record and transcribe students
contributions directly because of the amount of noise in the class; hence, we took ‘field notes’, from
which we drew the following themes:
1. Engagement: they liked “having to answer questions” and “looking around the Palace” for
that evidence.
Sustainability 2019, 11, 1373 16 of 20
2. Challenge: they found it surprising that there was not necessarily a right answer to some of
the questions, but the teacher thought they “understood they were working more like real
historians” and heritage specialists in the tasks provided.
3. Engagement with historical thinking: One group commented that it was “good seeing the
old Treaties and old photographs”, and that they were surprised by continuity in foods
eaten in Tunisia.
4. Surprise: Students were surprised by the impact of other languages on Tunisian Arabic,
displaying evidence that their preconceptions about their language had been effectively
challenged. This was visible in their facial expressions as we circulated around the class, but
also in the comments they made: “it’s the same in Italian!”. It appeared the language activity
was a helpful instrument to evaluate the idea of the uncanny (see above).
5. Relevance of outcome: Students’ engagement in the ceramics activity was perhaps less
pronounced than in the language activity. The focus of this activity was to foster pattern
recognition in students, while engaging with historical designs, fostering critical thinking.
Although it was impossible to change further, a game-based outcome in a games engine
may have been a better vehicle for this task.
6. Knowledge building: All students and their teacher reported that the activities enabled them
to critically reflect on their cultural heritage. This may have been almost a ‘default’ outcome,
given the design of the missions. We observed instances of dialogue, and of multiple
students contributing to that dialogue, questioning themselves and each other (see Figure 7).
Figure 7. Summative assessment of the 3D platform and activities with students.
In discussion with the teacher, he stressed the key importance of this kind of website. He
reported on behalf of colleagues that their knowledge of Tunisian cultural heritage is limited, and
having support sites like this, with which students can engage directly (through French or Arabic)
was essential to enable students to explore their own conceptions of Tunisian culture. The teacher
thought the areas were well chosen. He asked the students about their enjoyment of the activities, to
which they replied very positively. His review of the professional development materials (regarding
historical concepts) was also very positive. He thought these were “clear and provided a new way of
thinking about history teaching”, which he appreciated, and could see embedded in the online
6. Discussion and Conclusions
We present in this paper the results of the design and implementation of the Digital
‘Documentation of Ksar Said’ project, aimed at combining inquiry learning methods and VR to
enhance young people’s critical engagement with heritage in conflict affected countries. The
missions aimed to engage young people with the concept of ‘hybridity’ and the complexity of the
history of their nation and were built and designed based on inquiry learning and the theory of the
Sustainability 2019, 11, 1373 17 of 20
uncanny, a critical design theory used to explore alternative views of the world, to develop
questions and engage the audience in critical reflections.
The selection of effective technologies, and the design of the online platform and its associated
contents was a complex, non-linear process. It required formal and informal meetings, focus groups,
and interviews with various stakeholders, as well as an important process of mediation between the
different stakeholders involved in the co-creation of contents. While the selection of final contents
and activities for the platform required us to reduce the complexity of intangible aspects of Tunisian
heritage into a small number of ‘themes’, preliminary assessment of the activities suggests that the
learning method proposed is an effective way to actively engage young Tunisian students with the
concepts of ‘hybridity’ and ‘complexity’ and leaves an open space for teacher–student discussions
around constantly changing heritage values.
Students valued and worked well within the educational activities produced. Evaluation data
suggested they had learnt ideas about their heritage, and that the most effective approach was to ask
them to inquire to help them to think, rather than simply teaching them information. Some final
evaluation feedback led to final refinements which have now been made.
Inquiry activity design benefited from use of historical thinking as a frame. Evaluation data
made particular mention of the concepts of primary sources and continuity and change. By using a
well-evidenced framework to foster learning, we gained evidence that historical thinking can help
students build heritage ideas. A two-stage evaluation was important, evaluating at stage one with
multiple schools (in November 2017) and then evaluating pre-final versions (in January 2018) in
more depth enabled us to ratify our learning strategy and then refine the activities themselves.
Our final evaluation resulted in considerations and learning to take forward for future projects
that will deepen our understanding of how the combination of inquiry methods and an online VR
heritage platform can foster critical thinking about history and heritage in conflict affected countries.
The first consideration is related to historical and heritage contents: we did find it difficult to learn
ourselves about Tunisian culture. When the Institute for National Heritage reviewed our
information briefing documents about the themes, they found several errors, which also prompted
us to remove them from the site (along with our inclination to avoid teachers simply teaching
content, as explained above). With regard to the summative assessment, in future projects we would
trial activities first with teachers, to iron out difficulties, before taking them to trial with students.
Professional development materials were well evaluated, because they serviced a desire among
teachers to learn about modern pedagogies.
While our current work uncovers some first observations in this area, there is plenty of further
development worth exploring. It would be valuable in future to try to set learning activities more
fully within the virtual Palace by use of a game engine, to see if the use of immersive VR
environments might enhance student engagement and motivation. It would also be critical to
continue to involve students in the co-creation of contents for the virtual platform. For this purpose,
our future research will aim to expand this study by developing a more structured programme with
schools in Tunisia, aimed at testing similar activities using different technologies, to see which
technology might better enhance the learning experience. In future projects, we will also aim to
expand our study to other conflict-affected regions of the Mediterranean.
Author Contributions: All authors contributed equally to the work reported here, based on their level of
knowledge and expertise. Paola di Giuseppantonio di Franco led the preparation of the paper, and together
with Mark Winterbottom and Mike Gogan conceptualized and developed the methodological approach
reported here. Fabrizio Galeazzi and Mike Gogan are responsible for the technical aspects. Funding was
secured from the British Council by Mike Gogan, of the Virtual Experience Company, working with the
University of Cambridge (Mark Winterbottom and Paola Di Giuseppantonio Di Franco) and the University of
York (Fabrizio Galeazzi) to develop the project.
Funding: The project was funded by the British Council’s Cultural Protection Fund.
Acknowledgments: The authors are grateful to the following people for their invaluable help and contribution
to the project: [Content development and design of activities]: Sonia Slim, Chief Architect at the National
Institute of Heritage; Aymen Chihauoi, curator of the Museum Leader Habib Bourguiba, Skanes Monastir; Leila
Blilli, Historian; Ridha Mouni, Art Historian and curator of the exhibition L’Eveil d’une Nation; Molka Haj Salem,
Sustainability 2019, 11, 1373 18 of 20
global coordinator, Rambourg Foundation; Aziz Bey, member of the Beylical family; all teachers, head teachers
and students who participated in the first stage of evaluation of the project. Project management and logistics (from
laser scanning to content creation and evaluation): members of the INP, including all staff of Ksar Said, for their
generous and enthusiastic support during the 3D laser scanning stage of the Palace; members of the Rambourg
Foundation, and especially to Olfa Terras Rambourg and Karim Terras. Technical Support for 3D data post
processing: Marco Di Ioia. Translations: Many thanks to Aymen Chihauoi, for work on the translation of contents
from English to Arabic and French, and to Mikiko Allouis for additional help with the French elements. Many
thanks go to Younes Hafidi and Valeria Meneghelli for their help with the Amazigh language elements. Website
Design: Open Eye Media. We are also grateful to Imed Belkhodja, from the British Council, Tunisia, for his
support during the development of the project. Finally, our sincere thanks go to the many wonderful people we
met on our travels in Tunisia for their warmth and hospitality.
Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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... In contrast to the passive, didactic and solitary pedagogical techniques that are the basis of many of the resources discussed above, we suggest that a humanfocused practice, such as archaeology, requires a human-focused pedagogy. The concept of historical empathy offers a meaningful intellectual grounding upon which to build such a pedagogy, and it has obvious parallels with both the inquiry-based approach of Di Giuseppantonio Di Franco et al. (2019) and the historical thinking approach of Hiriart (2019). Collectively, these models seek to nurture richer personal engagements with heritage through methods that oblige students to see -or, indeed, embody -difference and to take the lead in navigating their own learning. ...
... Although it is complex in its various parts, we have simultaneously developed generic tools (see description in note 1), including a how-to guide for the creation of dialogic chatbots, to enable others to experiment in other contexts -playing with their content, adjusting how, in which order and when (if at all) they are deployed, and otherwise remixing them, knowing that individually and collectively they function to enhance emotive outcomes among users. Our tests of the pre/historical empathy model suggest that it is best applied in informal educational environments, owing to the challenges of integrating any new resource into the formal learning setting (also see comparable discussions in Di Giuseppantonio Di Franco et al. (2019) and Hiriart (2019)). While this point requires further exploration (see McKinney et al., forthcoming), the informal application of this approach is arguably its strength, as young people are empowered to survey ideas that might otherwise sit awkwardly within their formal schooling, and that might more fluidly fold into their home lives, where empathetic (or non-empathetic) relations are so strongly created and reinforced. ...
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Recent developments in the field of archaeology are not only progressing archaeological fieldwork but also changing the way we practise and present archaeology today. As these digital technologies are being used more and more every day on excavations or in museums, this also means that we must change the way we approach teaching and communicating archaeology as a discipline. The communication of archaeology is an often neglected but ever more important part of the profession. Instead of traditional lectures and museum displays, we can interact with the past in various ways. Students of archaeology today need to learn and understand these technologies, but can on the other hand also profit from them in creative ways of teaching and learning. The same holds true for visitors to a museum. This volume presents the outcome of a two-day international symposium on digital methods in teaching and learning in archaeology held at the University of Cologne in October 2018 addressing exactly this topic. Specialists from around the world share their views on the newest developments in the field of archaeology and the way we teach these with the help of archaeogaming, augmented and virtual reality, 3D reconstruction and many more. Thirteen chapters cover different approaches to teaching and learning archaeology in universities and museums and offer insights into modern-day ways to communicate the past in a digital age.
... This creates resources that allow working with game design elements, autonomous decision making, role-playing, or narrative immersion over the substrate of digitized cultural heritage. As highlighted by studies [14,15], it is necessary that these are digital resources explicitly created for educational purposes and, at the same time, should be linked to instructional guides for teachers [16,17]. For the resources we created, there was an even more specific requirement for them to be designated as open educational resources (OER) [18][19][20]. ...
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Working with digitized cultural heritage is an important aspect of education. This article offers research on the interaction of pupils and teachers with digitized cultural heritage processed in the Twine2 environment, focusing on exploring the potential use of digital nonlinear stories in the teaching of humanities in high schools. The aim of this study is to describe the design process that led to the creation of 16 innovative educational resources, and to present the results of their pilot testing and evaluation, which subsequently took place among participating teachers and pupils. For the evaluation, we used a mix of design methods, combining a quantitative and qualitative approach. Both the teachers and the pupils were asked about their experience and takeaways from the interaction with the resources offered. The findings show that presenting educational content in the form of a nonlinear interactive story is a suitable alternative to the traditional frontal educational approach, as both teachers and pupils perceived the resources as intuitive, appealing, and effective in helping to achieve the set educational goals. The study also highlights some key recommendations for future designers of nonlinear interactive stories, which emerged from the respondents’ feedback.
... There are many educational benefits to integrating VR technologies with traditional teaching methods. For example, using VR in a blended learning environment allows for teacher-student discussion and is seen as an effective for of inquiry-based learning [36]. VR enables critical learning opportunities in an entertaining and engaging process [37]. ...
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A design-based project grounded in learning technology theories and systematically implemented can impact environmental education in many positive ways. This paper explores the systematic application of best practices from design-based projects that were used to combine and implement a drought education program. Embracing diffusion of innovation as its framework, augmented and virtual reality applications were used to design a virtual meeting space called the Virtual Citizen Science Expo. The results and findings show that users found Mozilla Hubs engaging as it gave them new ideas on the creative and inspirational use of virtual reality technology as an interactive and collaborative learning space. The discussions demonstrate that our VCSE can be used to promote and engage learners in science related to environmental monitoring.
... Meanwhile, the development of modeling techniques with 3D technology has had great relevance in recent years as a tool for the conservation of heritage assets. Applied as a complement to virtual or augmented reality [38], [39] these technologies make it possible to reach all types of audiences and contribute to the preservation of geological [21], archaeological [40]- [42] and intangible [43] heritage, involving teachers in training and also young people in the design of collaborative platforms and materials for the support, safeguarding and revaluation of the significance of heritage [44]- [46]. ...
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The irruption of digital technologies in social contexts and their integration in educa-tion has led to new learning environments where the communication, interaction and access to knowledge are an essential part of the educational process. This paper shows a literature review and mapping of the most important technological tools used in the contexts where heritage teaching has been conducted in the last decade. For this aim developed a bibliometric analysis of scientific publications in high impact journals through selective searches in the specialized databases Scopus and Science Direct. The findings show trends in the educational practice approach regarding herit-age, integrating emerging technologies such as augmented reality, 3D modelling, arti-ficial intelligence, QR coding and virtual reality that offer situated and immersive learning experiences on mobile apps and web-based platforms. From the studies analyzed in different contexts, it is concluded that the integration of digital technolo-gies in the teaching and heritage appropriation is a field that in recent years shows a clear increase, so that it is necessary to consider the potential of these tools in it’s diffusion, teaching and preservation to strengthen existing work lines and open up possibilities to future studies.
... ase while not excusing themselves of their very own critical part. Our study suggests that, in the context of a very alarming pandemic experience, the youth are capable of reflecting the socio-political determinants of health. This study adds to the already growing literature attesting the youth's ability to engage in critical thinking (Chan, 2019;Giuseppantonio, 2019;Ku, 2019). With this, our study hopes to contribute the voices of the youth in public health discourse inspired by their desire to end the crisis. ...
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The article aims to describe the pandemic experience from the vantage point of the youth. We wish to uncover the thoughts, feelings, and attitudes of the youth while being under the virus- induce lockdown and examine how the whole experience shapes the way they look at the crisis. Our subjects were students of non-health related courses studying in the National Capital Region, Philippines. Findings drawn from 29 written interview participants, whose data were obtained through the internet, reveal that the pandemic is predominantly seen as a disappointing and anxiety-inducing experience. The results also indicate how the pandemic challenged the young people’s indifference towards public health prior to the pandemic. Moreover, the magnitude of the crisis stirred them to view the pandemic as something more than just strictly a medical issue. Largely dissatisfied in the way the crisis is being handled, our participants acknowledged that the disease has a socio-political dimension requiring meaningful political solutions. The youth participants remained cognizant of the indispensable part of political actors and institutions in the fight against the disease while not excusing themselves of their very own vital role. Our study suggests that, within the context of a highly concerning pandemic experience, the youth are able to engage critically in our quest to end the crisis.
... ase while not excusing themselves of their very own critical part. Our study suggests that, in the context of a very alarming pandemic experience, the youth are capable of reflecting the socio-political determinants of health. This study adds to the already growing literature attesting the youth's ability to engage in critical thinking (Chan, 2019;Giuseppantonio, 2019;Ku, 2019). With this, our study hopes to contribute the voices of the youth in public health discourse inspired by their desire to end the crisis. ...
The article aims to describe the pandemic experience from the vantage point of the youth. We wish to uncover the thoughts, feelings, and attitudes of the youth while being under the virus- induced lockdown and examine how the whole experience shapes the way they look at the crisis. Our subjects were students of non-health related courses studying in the National Capital Region, Philippines. Findings drawn from 29 written interview participants, whose data were obtained through the internet, reveal that the pandemic is predominantly seen as a disappointing and anxiety-inducing experience. The results also indicate how the pandemic challenged the young people’s indifference towards public health prior to the pandemic. Moreover, the magnitude of the crisis stirred them to view the pandemic as something more than just strictly a medical issue. Largely dissatisfied in the way the crisis is being handled, our participants acknowledged that the disease has a socio-political dimension requiring meaningful political solutions. The youth participants remained cognizant of the indispensable part of political actors and institutions in the fight against the disease while not excusing themselves of their very own vital role. Our study suggests that, within the context of a highly concerning pandemic experience, the youth are able to engage critically in our quest to end the crisis. Keywords: Youth, Pandemic, Critical Awareness, Filipino young people, COVID-19
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En los últimos años las tecnologías digitales se han integrado en la enseñanza dando lugar a nuevos escenarios de aprendizaje donde la comunicación, interacción y el acceso al conocimiento se posicionan como parte fundamental del proceso educativo. De igual forma, recientemente ha crecido el interés en buscar alternativas para que las personas conozcan, aprendan y mantengan contacto con su patrimonio como estrategia para el fortalecimiento de su identidad cultural. En este documento se presenta una revisión sistemática de la literatura relacionada con la enseñanza del patrimonio donde convergen las tecnologías digitales en diferentes contextos a partir del análisis de los estudios publicados en revistas de alto impacto en los últimos diez años, donde se señalan importantes hallazgos en el uso de tecnologías como la realidad virtual, realidad aumentada, modelación 3D y algunas tendencias emergentes como la gamifcación, el mobile learning y las narrativas digitales. El análisis de los resultados proporciona elementos a considerar en el desarrollo de programas de formación que integren las tecnologías digitales en la enseñanza del patrimonio, ofreciendo nuevos escenarios y líneas de trabajo para estudios futuros.
In this article, we discuss the experimental application of iterative co-design, community-based and place-centred approaches in the creation of 3D immersive experiences of places that have been badly damaged or destroyed after natural catastrophic events. We take as our case study the community of Senerchia, hit and partially destroyed by the 1980 Irpinia earthquake in Italy. The main purpose of this paper is to analyse and discuss the co-creation process we undertook with residents of the town for the making of an immersive documentary Italia Terremotata which explores life before, during and after the earthquake. Our approach is based on design-thinking and aims to define an ethical framework for the creation of reflexive and multi-vocal 3D immersive storytelling systems that consider ‘vulnerability’ and ‘empathy’ as central design values of the iterative prototyping and co-creation cycle.
Digital archaeology is both a pervasive practice and a unique subdiscipline within archaeology. The diverse digital methods and tools employed by archaeologists have led to a proliferation of innovative practice that has fundamentally reconfigured the discipline. Rather than reviewing specific technologies, this review situates digital archaeology within broader theoretical debates regarding craft and embodiment; materiality; the uncanny; and ethics, politics, and accessibility. A future digital archaeology must move beyond skeuomorphic submission and replication of previous structural inequalities to foment new archaeological imaginaries. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Anthropology Volume 51 is October 2022. Please see for revised estimates.
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Účel – Cílem studie je stručně analyzovat současný odborný diskurs a zmapovat aktuální trendy v oblasti využití digitalizovaného kulturního dědictví, zejména jeho aplikace do vzdělávání středoškolských studentů. Na teoretickou studii navazuje drobná výzkumná experimentální sonda, která reflektuje použitelnost jednotlivých přístupů a důrazů odborné literatury při vývoji digitálních vzdělávacích objektů pro české středoškoláky. Design/metodologie/přístup – V první části stručně popisuje český a zahraniční kontext a dále pracuje s přehledovou studií nad texty z databáze Scopus. V druhé části využíváme experimentálního vývoje s využitím drobných výzkumných dat v kvantitativní i kvalitativní formě pro vývoj evaluovaného prototypu. Výsledky – Výsledkem studie je soubor zásad pro tvorbu digitálního vzdělávacího zdroje (DVZ), který pracuje s digitalizovaným kulturním dědictvím. Tento soubor se skládá jednak z kritické systematické reflexe dostupné literatury a také aplikace z ní vyplývajících poznatků do prototypů DVZ, které byly evaluovány se studenty gymnázia v Brně. Originalita/hodnota – Studie přináší syntetizující poznatky v podobě, která je snadno prakticky aplikovatelná. Její závěry mohou posloužit knihovnám, školám či jiným paměťovým institucím při tvorbě vlastních digitálních vzdělávacích objektů využívajících digitalizované kulturní dědictví.
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This paper addresses the value of effective, significant heritage education pedagogic activities and tasks when teaching heritage topics in history and social science lessons. Heritage pedagogy needs to challenge students' preconceptions about their heritage and encourage learning about it: the investigation, interpretation and provenance of its sources and its significance. Our article is based on a research project in Portugal and Spain to evaluate the impact of heritage education pedagogy on students' historical understanding and their development of national identity. This paper's research involved secondary school students in northern Portugal. To assess their understanding of heritage, they completed a questionnaire at a heritage site with a focus on buildings, archaeological remains and museum artefacts that related to aspects of national history studied in schools. Analysis of their questionnaires revealed the relationship between students' interpretation of the heritage site's historical evidence and their historical consciousness. Although most students treated the heritage site buildings, remains and artefacts as sources of factual information about a fixed, given and largely unremembered past, several students questioned, hypothesized, and treated the sources as historically contextualized evidence that dovetailed with their existing historical knowledge. Contextualized interpretation is essential to historical understanding; accordingly, students studying heritage should be trained to analyse its historical sources in relation to their historicity. More generally, teaching about heritage should give students opportunities to challenge preconceptions they hold about it, and to learn how to deal with different, contrasting, difficult and controversial interpretations of heritage topics and sites in their historical contexts.
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One of the enduring objects used to represent the technological future is the robot. This legacy means that its promise has the ability to evolve in accordance with our societal and cultural dreams and aspirations. It can reflect the current state of technological development, our hopes for that technology and also our fears; fundamentally though, after almost a century of media depictions and corporate promises, the robot is yet to enter our homes and lives in any meaningful way. This thesis begins by asking the question: how does an emerging technology (such as robotic) become a domestic product? In addressing this issue I draw from the theory of domestication and the method of speculative design to describe three possible technological journeys: how technology does not, does and could become a domestic product: 1. Technology does not make the transition from laboratory to domestic life. Robots have made countless departures from the habitat of the research laboratory, apparently headed towards the domestic habitat, but the vast majority never arrive. This observation leads to the identification of a third habitat and the current destination for the majority of proposed domestic robots – robot-related imaginaries. In this theatre-like environment, robots exist as either promises or warnings of a potential technological future. The habitat includes technology fairs, laboratory open houses, news articles and the films and novels of science fiction. I conclude by suggesting reasons why these visions of the future so often fail to become domestic products. 2. Technology does make the transition from laboratory to domestic life. Borrowing from the science of ecology and biological concepts of evolution and domestication, I make an analogy between the shift of habitats that occurs when an organism successfully goes through the process of artificial selection (natural to domestic) and the transition an emerging technology makes in order to become a suitable product for domestic use (laboratory to domestic). 3. How technology could make the transition from laboratory to domestic life. This section makes up the core of the thesis as I describe speculative design and how it can be used to present more plausible depictions of near-future technological applications. By stepping out of the normative relationship that ties technological development to commercial markets, speculative design opens a space for alternative perspectives, critical reflection and an examination of contemporary and near-future technological application. Throughout the thesis these theoretical investigations run parallel to the practice-based element, allowing for interplay between the two. This resulted in three projects that exemplify the speculative design approach applied to robots, inviting dialogue and contemplation on what a preferable robotic future might be.
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This article provides critical engagement with cultural heritage-making processes conducted by stakeholders and interest groups within the UNESCO's intangible heritage paradigm. By tracking the road of Peru's cuisine to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (the ICH List) and focusing on the turning points during food's shift from culinary to heritage status, the aim is to shed light on the political and economic forces that shape the meanings of food heritage. This article draws on recent research conducted at the intersection of globalisation with cultural and food politics in Peru. The empirical evidence, collected between 2011 and 2014 from individuals directly implicated in Peru's food heritage-making, allows for a discussion of how, despite a discursive emphasis on cultural continuity and intercultural dialogue, food incursions into the UNESCO intangible cultural paradigm operate more as an elite-driven competitive global concept than as a tool for cultural safeguarding and inclusive development. To do so, a description of the backgrounds that led to the rise of food heritage awareness in Peru and an account of the evolution of the candidature of Peruvian cuisine to the UNESCO's ICH List are provided.
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How does a city and a nation deal with a legacy of perpetrating atrocity? How are contemporary identities negotiated and shaped in the face of concrete reminders of a past that most wish they did not have? Difficult Heritage focuses on the case of Nuremberg - a city whose name is indelibly linked with Nazism - to explore these questions and their implications. Using an original in-depth research, using archival, interview and ethnographic sources, it provides not only fascinating new material and perspectives, but also more general original theorizing of the relationship between heritage, identity and material culture. The book looks at how Nuremberg has dealt with its Nazi past post-1945. It focuses especially, but not exclusively, on the city's architectural heritage, in particular, the former Nazi party rally grounds, on which the Nuremburg rallies were staged. The book draws on original sources, such as city council debates and interviews, to chart a lively picture of debate, action and inaction in relation to this site and significant others, in Nuremberg and elsewhere. In doing so, Difficult Heritage seeks to highlight changes over time in the ways in which the Nazi past has been dealt with in Germany, and the underlying cultural assumptions, motivations and sources of friction involved. Whilst referencing wider debates and giving examples of what was happening elsewhere in Germany and beyond, Difficult Heritage provides a rich in-depth account of this most fascinating of cases. It also engages in comparative reflection on developments underway elsewhere in order to contextualize what was happening in Nuremberg and to show similarities to and differences from the ways in which other 'difficult heritages' have been dealt with elsewhere. By doing so, the author offers an informed perspective on ways of dealing with difficult heritage, today and in the future, discussing innovative museological, educational and artistic practice.
The reconstruction of society after conflict is complex and multifaceted. This book investigates this theme as it relates to cultural heritage through a number of case studies relating to European wars since 1864. The case studies show in detail how buildings, landscapes, and monuments become important agents in post-conflict reconstruction, as well as how their meanings change and how they become sites of competition over historical narratives and claims. Looking at iconic and lesser-known sites, this book connects broad theoretical discussions of reconstruction and memorialisation to specific physical places, and in the process it traces shifts in their meanings over time. This book identifies common threads and investigates their wider implications. It explores the relationship between cultural heritage and international conflict, paying close attention to the long aftermaths of acts of destruction and reconstruction and making important contributions through the use of new empirical evidence and critical theory.
By all accounts, science and inquiry should go hand in hand. Whether the same is true of science education and inquiry is quite another matter.
Cultural heritage is material - tangible and intangible - that signifies a culture's history or legacy. It has become a venue for contestation, ranging in scale from protesting to violently claimed and destroyed. But who defines what is to be preserved and what is to be erased? As cultural heritage becomes increasingly significant across the world, the number of issues for critical analysis and, hopefully, mediation, arise. The issue stems from various groups: religious, ethnic, national, political, and others come together to claim, appropriate, use, exclude, or erase markers and manifestations of their own and other's cultural heritage as a means for asserting, defending, or denying critical claims to power, land, and legitimacy. Can cultural heritage be well managed and promoted while at the same time kept within parameters so as to diminish contestation? The cases herein rage from Greece, Spain, Egypt, the UK, Syria, Zimbabwe, Italy, the Balkans, Bénin, and Central America. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011All rights reserved.