Cultural Probes

The users for our probes are 5th grade pupils at Bogstad skole in Oslo. We also included a probe meant for teachers at the same school. Together these two user groups could give us valuable insight into how iPads are being used in education and how it affects communication flow in the classroom. We chose Bogstad skole because it is one of the schools in Norway with most experience using iPads in education. We made an appointment with the headmaster Karoline Hoel who we also met when we delivered the porbes at school.

Bogstad skole in Oslo where we handed out our probes.

The goal of our cultural probes were to get feedback from both teachers and pupils on their experience using iPads at school. How does it affect their communication and what are the benefits and challenges? We also wanted to know if they had any ideas on improvements.
We designed our probes to be an easy, interactive and playful method for the kids to give us information about their user experience. We made a scrapbook for them to draw and use clip art to express themselves. With the freedom they get from drawing the keywords sets the subject matter. In that way they could share how they see the iPad as a tool for learning in their “own language” while we still get relevant information. For the teachers we created a simple word cloud with keyword from our interview. The teachers were encouraged to comment on the keywords they felt most relevant for them. In this way it felt more inviting and free than a questionnaire. We also included a chocolate treat for the teachers.

All the teachers at this school is iPad certified. They have to do a online course where they get insight into the different solutions available.
    Our probes consisted of:

  • Two mailboxes with customized top. One for the teachers and one for the pupils. The mailbox for the teachers had more information about our project and described what we wanted them to do. The box for the kids were simpler and with less information.
  • For the kids: An envelope containing; A scrapbook with a front page where we described two simple tasks we wanted them to do. The second page was page with emojis they could use and two blank pages for 1) expressing what they liked/disliked about iPads and 2) drawing/writing they’re app-idea. The probeds also included laminated keywords carefully selected for them to use in their scrapbook.
  • Empty iPad with a word cloud inviting the teachers to comment words they felt most relevant and/or they had an opinion about.
    Chocolate treat for the teachers. We put this, and the pages with word cloud, inside the mailbox.

Her are pictures of our probes:

The way the probes were delivered to the school. Two «mailboxes».

Scrapbook for the pupils:

Front page of the scrapbook for the pupils
Emojis for the pupils to express themselves.
The first «assignment» for the kids. Whats good and bad about using iPads in school?
The second «assignment». Whats your app idea?

Wordcloud the teachers:

Wordcloud for the teachers. They were asked to comment the keywords they felt most relevant for them.

Result of the scrapbook:


All the answers from the pupils first assignment. We read through and found what was the most supprising and gave us insight.

App idea:

All the answers from the pupils second assignment. Not many had a idea but the once who did is represented here. We read through and made comments.

Result from the teachers:

All the answers from the teachers. A total of 13 teachers answered. We read through and found what was the most supprising and gave us insight.