Based on our research we decided to make a teacher and student app store and forum. It gives teachers an arena to share their experiences and views on the different EDU-apps available.
Goals and hypothesis:
Our goal with the test is to see if our solution can help build a community for teachers using tablets in class. Our research shows that one big challenge for teachers today is overview and to navigate the huge number of EDU-apps available.
Our hypothesis is that our solution will make this problem smaller by nesting forum, review and app store into one arena for teachers. We also want to encourage pupils to take an active role in their education. If they can feel that they have “a word” in solutions they use in class it could contribute to minimize disruption, which has shown to be a negative side effect off the introduction of tablets in classrooms. and off-topic activity during class.
The pupil-version of our solution allows pupils to navigate and rate the available apps, suggest apps for their teacher and recommend apps thats should be available in the app store.
The prototype is an app where teachers can learn and discuss apps meant for use in class. We have combined this with an app store where teachers can download and control the apps available for the pupils in class. Students are part of exploring apps so we have included a way for students to easily explore, rate and suggest apps to the teacher.
Amalie Meek, 10 years old, pupil at Rødsmyra school at Kråkerøy
Hanne Holhjem, assistant teacher at Gjennestad vgs
Team leader Thomas Reichborn and the team of iPad consultants in Oslo municipality
Øystein Kjellstadli, teacher at Åsgården elementary school
Prioritised list of functionality we found important to test:
- The link between the app and the community section. How obvious is the link from the app your seeing and the discussions and ratings of the same app? Can this be implemented in any other way?
- Is the design (colours, fonts, text size etc) good, and are the app easy to use? Is the readability strong?
- The push button, and how this improves the control of apps the student use.
- The functionality where a pupil suggest an app for the teacher.
- The ability where teachers can suggest new apps for the app store.
- How the forum can be used to explore discussion about apps for different courses.
Task and scenarios:
You want to find a creative app for creating comics, you have heard about an app called Pixton with an icon like this (bilde). You want to know more about this app and see what other teachers have to say about it. You find that the app has good reviews and want to download it and try it out yourself. After trying it out you want to use the app in class to do this you decide to push the app to all students of this class.
This scenario will test how the users experience the link between the app-part and the community-part, how the design works for this purpose, if the functionality of push, add, folder and rate is properly positioned in the design and the overall user experience of the prototype.
Your a 5th grade pupil give a task in class to create a cartoon about your summer holiday. You don’t think the app you’re using today is any good but know about an app called Pixton that’s allot better. You want to recommend it to your teacher. First you want to check if it exists in the app store. If not you want your teacher to add it. If it exists you want to recommend it to your teacher so he/she can download to all the ipads in class.
This scenario will test how the design works for a typical user among the pupils, how she responds to the functionality of recommending apps for here teacher and the ability to rate an app she knows.
Testing scenario 1:
Group of iPad consultants
Results: We managed to get the team of iPad consultants in Oslo municipality to test our prototype during a session they had. This team assists all teachers in Oslo with iPad related questions on a daily basis. We introduced them to scenario 1, and the task we had listed as most important as described above, and asked them to comment on the fly. Since they are a big group, and had limited time, we have summarized their feedback under each task.
Task 1 & 2. Feedback:
- If you don’t know the app icons it’s hard to identify each app since the name doesn’t show next to the icons on the main page.
- When you know the app its intuitive where to press to get more related info and comments/reviews.
- Star-rating next to each icon on the front page is a big plus.
- In the app-section its somewhat unclear what the add to folder functionality does if you don’t know the concept from other programs or web solutions.
- You should generally increase font size because it’s sometimes can be hard to read the text.
Task 3. Feedback:
- The idea is really good. This functionality could improve teacher control and in a good way simplify the process of distributing solutions to groups of pupils.
Regards to this functionality the team had a concern. They pointed out certain technical limitations regards to app licences, each teachers limited permissions to distribute apps and also the possibility of flooding the pupils iPads with to many apps.
Task 4. Feedback:
- This functionality looks good, but where does the pupils find the link to the app they wish to recommend?
- Each pupils often has multiple teachers, they should be able to choose which teachers they want to send the suggestion.
- In general they really liked the possibility for pupils to be involved and suggest apps for their teacher.
Task 5. Feedback:
- This functionality is great. It looks good but might be a little bit hard to find in the prototype.
Test with teacher Hanne Holhjem
We had Hanne Holhjem, an assistant teacher at Gjennestad VGS to look at our app and test the functionality of our prototype. We wanted her to give us feedback on the usability of the app and possible improvements we could make. Not only did we want to find improvements to the usability of the app, but also find if our app solves the problems we found that many teachers and students experience using ipads in school. To test the app we created a scenario we thought would be representative of a common use case. We had Hanne try to follow scenario one. She was asked to read out her thoughts while following the scenario and comment on things she noticed. Some parts of the app was not as intuitive as we had hoped but some confusion also came from the language barrier because the prototype was created in english.
Frontpage for apps:
She knew how the pixton app looked like but said that it was strange there was no title for the app. The description was also small and hard to read. She would prefer if the rating was under the description as she is more interested in what the app does than what people think of it.
The value of the news and trending community was not immediately obvious, but after further explanation she could see herself using it. The title “Trending Community” still felt off.
It was not self explanatory that “All courses was apps categorized by courses
Single app page:
After clicking on pixton and entering the page for pixton it was strange that the explanation of what the app does in bellow ratings and mentions. Mentions was far from obvious for someone not used to how # is used on twitter/instagram, but after having explained the use it felt more important than ratings. Would be more interested in an average rating instead of ratings with comments.
Hanne focuses on the description and the video when deciding if she wants to try out the app. The rating and mentions was not that important to her. This could be because it’s new and she is not used to the option. When asked to try out the mentions function she was confused when suggestions for other apps appeared. It was also not clear what the top post was and what was comments. Having comments or replies to the post appear without taking action felt bad as it reminded her of the comment section in the newspaper.
Downloading and sharing:
She liked that downloading was as simple as in the normal appstore. When using the function to push the app to students she had questions about how one could define a class, was it possible to push to a group or a few students. Could you create a new group or class while pushing or do you have to do this in another part of the app.
Test with teacher Øystein Kjellstadli
Øystein Kjellstadli was one of the test participants to test the app store prototype we made. He is a teacher at Åsgården elementary school and he’s been using iPad in some lectures at the school. We thought therefore he might be able to give us useful feedback on the prototype we have made. Like what improvements can we give to the app so it can solve problems that teachers struggle with when it comes to iPad in elementary school. We also wanted feedback on what is good with our app prototype, problems that it might solve. We made Øystein follow scenario one with some guidelines. When going through the prototype, we asked about his thoughts on the different functionalities.
On the frontpage before going into the Pixton app, he noticed that the apps were sorted in courses. This was a very positive thing he said, because he has found it difficult to find apps that fit for a specific course.
When he entered the Pixton he would have liked information about the recommended grades for the app. He didn’t have many thoughts at first about the mentions from the forum on the Pixton app page.
But when he entered the forum he thought the forum is a smart idea. Didn’t have much else to say about that part.
He asked specifically what the push button did, we told that the push button would push the app to the pupils and the pupils would only be able to have apps that a teacher pushes to them. He thought is was smart that the pupils will only get apps that he teachers pushes to them.
Testing scenario 2:
Pupil Amalie Meek, 10 year old
Feedback: I, Tore Meek, showed our prototype to my daughter which is 10 years old. I asked here to test it without giving too much information about how it worked. I watched as she navigated around the pupil-section of the app. She has experience using iPad, both a home and in class, so she did not have any major difficulties understanding our solution.
One thing Amalie pointed out, besides everything being written in english, was that the icons should have the app name included. This has also been pointed out by other users and is something we would improve.
Another suggestion the test pupil had was to make the sections for the different app types more child friendly. To use more illustrative icons so it would be easier to find apps related to the course she needed. She liked the ability to suggest app but was a little afraid that here teacher would get to many suggestions. A solution here could be to give each pupil the ability to give a certain number of suggestions each semester.
She liked the rating functionality but she thought that someone should read the ratings before they were posted so people don’t just write nonsense. One solution could be that next to each rating the pupils name would appear. This might make it less attractive to post nonsense.
To improve usability we should overall increase font size. The apps on the front page should have a title to make it easier to find them. The title of some sections could be improved to make it more intuitive what purpose it serves.
Students should be able to choose the teacher and class to which they want to recommend an app.The app page should have information about recommended grades.