When asking teachers about the possibilities of e-learning some very distinct patterns appear in most of their answers: Yes, e-learning can generate great benefits! No, e-learning isn’t used to its full potential in the classroom right now. Subpar usage of e-learning methods will either create too big of a distraction for students or will not add any value compared to traditional lessons at all.
Our solution of an interactive cross-platform real time-updating lecture notes app aims to take this knowledge we gathered during our research and turn it into an intuitive, easy-to-use app that benefits both teachers and students at the same time by essentially cutting out all the unnecessary time consuming processes of traditional non-digital teaching and enhancing the less than ideal interactive part of current in-class e-learning methods.
It offers teachers a way to assemble their lecture notes from all sorts of different sources into one central place from where they synced with student devices. These digital lecture notes can be edited on the fly to add explanatory videos, GIFs, images, links and notes, essentially creating a script that the teacher can edit and adjust whenever and wherever and immediately show these changes on the whiteboard projection.
Our app offers vivid interaction for students as well allowing them to pose questions anonymously, give feedback, take notes and have a discussion about what’s thought both inside and outside of the classroom.
It further allows teachers to create interactive quizzes spontaneously to enhance class participation and engagement.
Additionally our app shows several statistics on quizzes and student participation in order to give teachers an insight as to what they can improve about their own lessons.
Through technology we aim to better the interaction between teachers and their students. We believe that through our solution we can strip traditional lessons of their weary one-sidedness and engage students while still maintaining the very important human aspect of learning that gets lost with over-digitalization.
Our future plans include building a working prototype and pitching to publishing companies in order to collaborate with them as well as to get the official support of the ministry of education at state level. We would then field test out methods in a classroom and ultimately strive for world domination.
Based on the insights we gained from the interviews and the user research, we developed a concept which should solve some of the issues teachers have during their lectures. First of all, the interaction and communication between the teacher and the pupils should be improved by the new system, as well as the individual participation of the pupils. Additionally, the system should facilitate the usage of varying teaching methods in order to keep the pupils motivated and interested.
The idea that evolved from these problems and insights is a system which provides a dynamic and flexible script. It enables the teacher to prepare a script for each class in advance and project it onto the wall, while he can make changes and adapt it in real time during the lecture by using a tablet. In order to reach the full potential of the dynamic script and to be able to use all the different functionalities, every pupil should have his or her own tablet. This way, it is possible for them to ask anonymous questions by annotating the interactive script which is being synchronized with and shown on their own tablets and on the projector. As a result of the anonymization, the pupils can ask questions that they wouldn’t dare to ask in person and the teacher can react immediately. Another feature is the integration of external media, such as visualizations or graphical animations in real time, which can be very helpful for explaining difficult topics or demonstrating some things more clearly, and the teacher can also set up spontaneous votings and quizzes for the whole class, which provides instant feedback for the teacher and entertainment for the pupils.
Over the course of the last three days we visited three quite different schools from which we hoped generate a good variety of knowledge for our further research.
The Pestalozzi Gymnasium in Munich for instance has a great focus on musical education whereas the Anne-Frank-Gymnasium in Erding was known to us as a very technologically equipped school with a very forward thinking policy regarding e-learning and the use of technology in the classroom.
After the interviews we conducted we must firstly acknowledge the importance of sticking to the right order of steps in the process of user experience design.
The knowledge we gathered from these first-hand experiences greatly impacted our stance on the topic of e-learning moving forward.
One recurring issue that really stuck out was that teachers have a clear desire to use digital media to automatize some of the very redundant parts of teaching. Some teachers have already incorporated the use of certain apps or online platforms.
On the other side a thing that really stuck out was the complaint that the apps and/or platforms offer little room for individual feedback for the students. More often than not they seem to resemble some sort of standardized testing or exercise.
Moving forward we will think about this apparent conflict automatization vs individualization and other topics that came up during the interviews and see what we can build from this data.