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.
In primary school, kids need to learn many basics, such as writing single letters, words or complete sentences. With increasing class size, it can be challenging for the teacher to help every kid separately without leaving others behind.
SmartDesk is a writing pad that supports children in those tasks individually, while also preserving the look-and-feel of real handwriting.
Instead of writing on the SmartDesk directly, it is placed underneath a sheet of paper. It recognizes writing on the paper, and thus can give instant feedback about typeface and spelling by projecting through the paper. Mistakes are marked locally, and if a child is stuck, the correct answer is given to trace it. New Elements can also be introduced by showing animations of e.g. a letter’s path which can then be traced by the children.
When the input fulfills the specified requirements, the children will be rewarded with a star. Collecting stars as a gamification element further motivates the children, and may relieve the teacher from correcting the children’s notebooks.
The teacher can also monitor the input of every SmartDesk in the room, which enables him/her to track each child’s progress and help specific children that need further support.
A major benefit of this approach is that, while the use of a digital medium enhances the learning process of individuals, the haptics of traditional handwriting are preserved.
The SmartDesk offers numerous possibilities. This showcase covers handwriting skills; other use cases might be a more interactive and visual approach to math and geometry lessons, animated elements, and more.
A next step might consist of building a functional prototype for usability studies. Additionally, concrete use cases of the SmartDesk need to be elaborated.
To supply all classrooms with SmartDesks once successful, financial support will be needed, either from the kultus ministry or from private investors.
Our final concept was named „TeacheRedo” which reflects the purpose of our tool: Teachers should be able to reuse an already prepared lesson unit from another teacher. Because of the great differences between various classes, the main idea of the concept is that a lesson shouldn’t be reused as it is, but its fragments. These fragments are recognized as parts of a puzzle. Every session in the tool starts with selecting the grade, the subject and the topic of the lesson. The next step is to design the template of the lesson. The Teacher can choose between several “puzzle parts” like an intro, an exercise or an experiment. This kind of designing leaves every opportunity of lesson arrangement to the teacher himself/herself. After choosing puzzle parts and arranging them in the desired order, the teacher can attach different files to every part. The available files include videos, documents, exercises, experimental approaches and other useful types of data. The available files are contained by a database, which is regularly complemented and updated by a community of teachers and other educationists. In the final step, the teacher can decide whether he/she want to print the required documents and save multimedia files on a memory stick or save all files or send them per email to be able to print it in school.
An additional purpose of the concept is obviously to stop redundant work and to bring teachers to work together more frequently. Successful lessons can be reused, or young teachers can learn from them. Less successful teaching units can be criticized and improved by other teachers. And maybe some older teachers could learn from the younger ones.
The next steps of this project would contain a research with our clickable prototype to determine the feedback of the potential users and a raw implementation of it for a test group to check if it would be useful in their daily work routine. Additional features would be a rate function with optional comments, a storage function to save complete lessons in the application to be able to reuse them.
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.