A3 map-folding trail & classroom resources
Client: Historic Royal Palaces
HRP asked me to develop, write and design an educational trail exploring the Norman Conquest for secondary schools visiting the Tower of London.
The team wanted to develop a flexible, on-site approach that could support students preparing for GCSE and A-level history exams.
1) Produce an engaging, high-quality learning trail exploring Norman history for secondary schools on self-guided visits to the Tower of London.
2) Target GCSE and A-level history students with activities and materials directly relevant to exam preparation.
3) Develop a modular design approach to serve as a basis for future curriculum-relevant self-guided trails.
4) Create pre-visit classroom resources.
Part of the challenge was to develop a 'design system' that could enhance the target audience’s knowledge and understanding of the Tower’s Norman past, and remain flexible enough so it could be repurposed for learning about other historical periods.
With access to teacher consultation before publication, we followed an iterative UX design framework. I created a prototype as quickly as possible in order to learn / validate our hypotheses about how conceptual, educational and design decisions could integrate into a single, coherent solution.
‘ARGUE ABOUT’ TRAILS
The trail takes the form of a historical enquiry, which challenges and supports students to develop their historical argument skills by asking them to independently explore and test a contentious proposition.
The first ‘Argue About’ trail's proposition contends:
'The Norman conquest was a good thing for the Anglo-Saxons'
This is deliberately provocative. It forces students to agree or disagree with the statement, and the trail then supports them to explore and justify their position.
Armed with an A3 printed trail, students explore five different sites and draw on a varied range of authentic physical, written and illustrative evidence to develop their own view.
This includes historical reconstructions, infographics and contemporary sources as well as the Tower of London itself, which serves as a primary source.
The trail provides preparation for a plenary where students can compare, debate and exchange views and arguments.
HISTORICAL SKILLS DEVELOPMENT
The trail is designed to fit with GCSE and A-level exam board specifications.
When combined with a visit to the Tower, the self-guided experience is intended to reinforce and bolster the broader enquiries students undertake while studying the Norman conquest at GCSE and A-level.
The trail (and its pre-visit classroom resources) help students improve in the following areas:
1) Building knowledge of the 11th-century historical context
2) Weighing evidence and developing a personal interpretation
3) Practising source analysis
I also produced a teachers’ pack which provides advice, ideas, guidance and additional pre-visit resources (ppt slides & student worksheets) for helping students get the most from their self-guided visit at the Tower.