What is it?
After two long weeks of arduous work on divergent and convergent thinking, precluded by field interviews with school teachers of different areas, Teaching Wiki is the resulting diamond in the rough. An e-learning meta platform, in the form of a [hybrid app oder cross-platform native app], it tackles the largest problem we identified in our research – teachers aren’t ready to be embassadors of digitalization yet.
How does it work?
Our platform offers courses and supplemental material tailored to the teacher’s knowledge, as well as to the digital technology at his disposal. Furthermore, it offers a forum service, similar to Reddit and StackOverflow, which is a safe place for discussions ranging from technical support to creative new teaching methods.
Through recent plans of the German Ministry of Education, like DigitalPakt [https://www.bmbf.de/de/sprung-nach-vorn-in-der-digitalen-bildung-3430.html], the task to implement the effective use of digital means at schools has been imposed on teacher’s that weren’t educated on such topics. Our platform would help prevent valuable state funds be effectively put to use.
A critical first step would be to attain support from the German Kultusministerium, as the platform’s content would be highly coupled each state’s teching program. On a similar note, support from the Ministry of Education would help legitimize its value. In the long run, we see an organic growth of the user base as critical, as much of the services rely on interactions between users.
One of our insights gathered from the user research we conducted last week was the lack of confidence and knowledge teachers have when it comes to electronic devices in classrooms. A great example for the current situation is that smartboards are seldomely or not used at all. Instead of using them to their full potential most teachers only use them as more expensive beamers if anything. There is still a huge percentage of teachers and people in general that have difficulties in performing basic technological tasks like connecting mobile devices to wifi networks or finding the right plug to connect their notebooks to the stationary beamer.
Because of this problem the majority of classes held to this day use analog equipment only. Now it would certainly not be a wise move to force teachers into using electronic equipment in every of their classes and lectures. In a lot of subjects it is mandatory for students to interact with one another and not their computers.
Instead of traditional on-the-job trainings to increase technological affinity which will likely be performed only once a year we propose a different approach. On the centralized platform “Teaching Wiki” teachers can inform themselves about how certain topics can be presented to their classes in the most instructional matter. This will include recommendations about suitable equipment choices and didactical usage which comes in the form of articles, blog posts or even video tutorials.
We went to two modern schools that already use e-lerning techniques to have some interviews with teachers to get to know about how it works. We visited the “Gymnasium Ottobrunn” that has some computer classes and iPads for the students and the “Realschule Gauting” with iPad classes. What we learned from there is that the usability isn’t good enough right now and that teaching media-based e-learning lessons means a lot of more time for preperation than normal analog lessons and that means that most of the teachers still have analog lessons.
Beside the user-view we wanted to get to know about the developers-view, so we had an interview with a developer of the “Viazenetti GmbH” with the main knowledge that E-learning platforms aren’t didactic enough and that they had to be expanded. Furthermore independently e-learning doesn’t make sence in every area because right now in some cases interaction with people is still important to completely understand some things.