After doing some user research in primary schools and thoroughly analyzing the interviews, we came up with two insights. One of them the idea of using augmented reality in classrooms. Specifically in music lessons.
Schools usually don’t have the money or the capacity to own a lot of instruments. Generally, there is not much space in classrooms for pupils to make some music together with various different musical instruments. Just imagine having a set of drums, a piano, cello and a bunch of guitars in one room, it can get quite crowded and probably too noisy for the rest of the school.
That’s where our idea comes in: The schools don’t have to own the instruments, all they need is augmented reality glasses and a pair of gloves for every child in one class and they can play whichever instrument they wish. This concept could also help motivating the pupils to make music and be more interested in it. Furthermore, it encourages the children to create something together and strengthen their sense of community.
To visualize our idea and later shoot a video prototype we created the storyboard above.
One of the biggest problems we discovered during the user research process is that, while teachers would like to integrate digital media into classes and consider it an opportunity to modernize schools and teaching methods, they are hesitant to do so because students could easily be distracted and it might lead to them paying less attention to class.
The solution we decided on involves the use of Augmented Reality Glasses. With these glasses, the students can learn in an interactive and playful way, without getting distracted. The students perceive the subject of the class in a whole different level and can even interact with it.
The AR-Glasses have a large number of advantages. They can replace the expensive Smartboards most schools use today. They are portable. You don’t need other big interfaces, as you can use the desks as touchscreens.
We believe that this idea will greatly improve the common experience of classes!
Our user research showed that high school teachers spend more time on the preparation of lectures than they would like to. Sure, every good lecture takes a decent amount of preparation time but how much effort is it exactly and why does it take so long?
As it turns out, teachers prepare their courses on their own, usually the week before they have to hold them, searching through various school books, Youtube videos and their own material from previous years. When they are done with a course they usually store their materials in a physical folder in their home. The only time another teacher gets to see the contents of this folder is, when he is in his apprenticeship years and asks his mentor for his material.
We believe that this process results in a lot of redundant work being done by the teachers, consuming work time that could be spend on students, rather than preparing for them. We realize that teaching styles differ, and so do the needs of specific school classes. Therefore a simple copy and paste of one teachers material will not fit all. We have a more nuanced solution in mind.
Let us present to you: TeacheRedo, an online platform that allows teachers to mix and match, discuss, rate and share small course modules like introductions to a new topic or small exercises, puzzling them together to a course that fits their students as well as their own style.
After a week of research, brainstorming and using many different steps and methods for Concept Development, we came up with a new Idea to improve an Aspect of E-learning. We gained the Insight, that there are so many different digital learning Tools already available, that the Teachers are losing track which one is best to use.
So, our Idea to make a Teachers life with E-Learning easier is EVA or “Entwicklung von Ausbildungssoftware”. EVA is a multifunctional development environment, specialized to create E-Learning Programs and Apps. It comes with two separate modes. The first one is a true IDE where you can write actual code, many Programming-Languages are supported. The other is a sandbox mode, where you can drag-and-drop functions and easily create new Software. This is meant to help younger students to already be able to use this software and teach them about Programming. The Teacher is always an active part of the development and software that he approves of can be shared between classes or even schools.
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.
During our research on schools for children with special needs, the most asked for feature in a digital tool was individualization. So we came up with an App which allows special individualization and also focuses on gamification. As our research showed gamification is highly motivating for children in general and simplifies the learning process of topics that are normally considered dull. The core idea is to motivate children to learn in small groups by solving special quests individually designed by the teacher. Only when all groups have successfully finished their task, the main goal is achieved, visualized as a 2D in game boss. During this process the teacher can adapt the difficulties for each individual pupil, so everyone has a chance to contribute equally to the group success. This strengthens the classes’ collaboration to solve a problem, and excludes competitive or conflict-based thinking.
With this product we hope to improve not only teachers’ everyday workflow, but also every pupils’ distinct learning experience.
Based on the interviews and research done last week we figured out many problems
that occur in classrooms and could/should be improved. The most interesting and current problem more and more students have is the lack of understanding German. Due to the present situation of huge migration numbers there are many pupils with migration background and sometimes no knowledge in German at all.
Therefore, teachers are now facing situations that they have not been trained for. Lessons, exams, etc. just got a lot more complicated. But also immigrated students suffer under these circumstances. Our prototype is designed to help pupils understand language and thus, also relieve teachers so that they can concentrate on their actual tasks.
A translation pen in combination with a Bluetooth-headset that students use during exams or while working on worksheets shall make the start in German schools a lot easier. The pen can be used like a marker to highlight all the words or sentences that should be translated. Through wireless connection with a headset the marked sentences’ translation is read to the user in real time.
The idea of the SmartDesk based on two insights. Firstly primary school teachers are only able to help one pupil simultaneously during individual practice, secondly pupils need something tangible for learning.
At the one hand first grader Toni needs some help to write the letter “A” correctly. At the other hand there are plenty other pupils needing support too. The solution to this issue is our new invention called SmartDesk. It’s a digital helper which combines traditional handwriting skills with modern technology. It improves the orthography of each individual child. The SmartDesk is placed under a sheet of paper and either displays the outline of a word or letter or marks mistakes. Furthermore it includes a reward system, so that every pupil receive a star for each correctly written word. This gamification enhances the motivation significantly.
Another important feature of SmartDesk is the live feed, which monitores the handwriting of each pupil. The benefit of it is, that every child can be supported individually by his teacher if needed.
By using SmartDeks, the class successfully learned the letters of the alphabet.
What we could hear from most of the interviews with various primary school teachers was that even now, in the age of digitalization, the use of digital media in the classroom is still not sufficiently covered, although thanks to numerous existing learning software, work is already being done quite regularly on computers or on the Internet. The world of digital media offers many facets and dangers, especially for newcomers. Avoiding technology cannot be a solution, so we wanted to support teachers to prepare primary school children for their first contact and possible dangers at an early age.
With our robot Benjamin we not only create an emotional bond with the students, but also a safe and interactive environment for the first steps into the World Wide Web. Thus, teachers and students are relieved and can dive into an exciting universe of digital media with Benjamin.
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.