Based on my research so far..
I landed on The Teacher Control-panel as a solution to all the teachers feeling they lack control over the pupils devices. The control-panel is meant to be user-friendly and clear things up for the teachers.
The goals and hypothesis for this test
The goal with this test is to see if the Teacher Control-panel actually helps the teachers control their pupils activity on their iPads or if the control-panel turn out to be more confusing. The earlier research shows that teachers has a strong need for a simple system that keeps their pupils focused.
The hypothesis is that my solution will improve the lessons and boost the general learning-outcome. It will boost the working flow by letting the teachers start the needed apps and put the neccessary boundaries around access to other apps or the network. The pupils will no longer have any room to avoid the task, since the teacher is able to remotely control and overlook their pupils activity.
This may sound like some form of TOTAL control for the teachers. But the control-panel is suppose to be used in cooperation with the students or pupils. The teacher may be the deciding part, but aren’t they anywas? The pupil may come with recommendations for other apps that will work well with their task, and the teacher will be able to decide if the app should be available for use or not during the lessons. The teacher will be the controlling part, but that was just what the teachers felt they were lacking.
The prototype/mockup for this test
The prototype that I made earlier is a great mockup/prototype for this test aswell. I will have to use a small portion of the “Wizard Of Oz” technique, since some of the functions ment for the complete control-panel is simply too difficult to program, like connecting the mockup with a real iPad.
The prototype will give a general feeling of the navigation around the control-panel and an idea of how it will work during class.
- Roger Andersen, 50 yars old, principal at Verket School in Moss
- Jon-Martin Støtvig, 32 years old, teacher at Verket School in Moss
- Fredrik Leier, 37 years old, Designer
List of what’s important to test
- User-friendliness, how easy is it to understand what the different menus are for, and how easy is it to generally understand the control-panel.
- The looks. Is the fonts, the text size, colours, animations, etc, good? Is it easy to navigate around, and is the readability strong?
- Is the functionalities what the teachers are looking for?
- The “Hamburger” menu. Is this the best solution?
- Will this improve the pupils focus or just demoralize them?
The tasks and senarios for the participants
You have planned a couple days before which apps you will be using for the upcoming class. One of the apps you have selected are Microsoft Excel. You will be using this app during the math-lecture.
The lecture starts and you want to use the control-panel to start Microsoft Excel on all the iPads.
This scenario will test if the control-panel feels useful or just more like an extra step in the work proccess. This scenario will also test how the user experiences navigating through the app. They will get a general understanding of how the control-panel works.
You’re a teacher. The lecture has begun and your pupils have began doing their tasks. You have set them up to use the iPads for this tasks, since they will be typing in Word.
After a while you will get a notification from the control-panel, explaining that one of the pupils is not doing as they should. You want to get the pupil back on track and you’re free to use the control-panel however you like.
This scenario will also test general feeling of the control-panel. But it will also go through one of the main functionalities and at the same time leaving alot of room for the test-user to proceed however they like. This scenario will test if the teacher finds it helpful to be able to narrow inn on the pupils access or whether this will help the pupil regain focus or not.
The Think aloud technique..
This test is based around the “Think aloud technique”. While the participants went through the scenarios they were asked to explain what they were think as they used the control panel.
The first participant was Jon-Martin Støtvig, the 32 years old teacher.
During the first scenario he asked how you add the apps you’ve choosen before the lecture starts. I later explained that I was going to create an own menu where apps get updated regularly and added as they’re found useful. This way you will have your owen library. He also mentioned that an own menu for the semesterplans might not be necessary, since these always out on mail or already downloaded, he told us “Not a dumb idea, but may be best to exchange it with something else”.
In conclusion, he was impressed by the design how simple and highly readable everything was. He said that he had no question about were anything was or navigating through the app. He mentioned that the tracking of the progress menu would have little use, since they follow the same teaching schedule no matter the progress of the induvidials. He added that maybe there would be use for the progress-tracking if there were som kind of reward for completing the task, but they didnt do much of that in this school. He enjoyed the page which let you turn on and off iPads and on/off network access. He mentioned that this would be really helpful for pupils doing stuff they’re not suppose too aswell as just keeping everyone on the same page.
The second participant was the designer, Fredrik Leier (37).
We asked him specifically to look at the design of the control-panel. His feed back was that he enjoyed the colours we’ve used and that its relaxing for the eyes to look at. He agreed on the “Hamburger” menu being a good idea, but suggested that we put more time in the animations, instead of the more boring “fade in, fade out” animations.
The third participant, the principal, Roger Andersen (50).
He was gonna go through the same scenarios as the earlier participants, but we asked him to pay most attention to the pupils side of the control panel.
When going through the first scenario, which was all about getting started in the classroom. He said that this is a move in the right direction, it gets the classes going faster and keeps alot of nonsense away since the teacher got control. A downthing to the teacher having so much control, is that some pupils react opposite of what you would’ve expected when “forcing” them to go to work. It’s still elementary school, and children are alot different.
The principal was impressed during scenario two, he liked the idea of getting notifications as the pupil moved over to something they were not suppose to. His main feedback was that the control-panel was 100% going in the right direction, with its intetion of a easier controlled classroom. But handling children ain’t always as easy as you would think.
Testing the prototype with different users, gave me great information in return. Getting feedback of how children most likely would react to a control-panel as mine was really helpful. All the positives from Fredrik (the designer) when it came to design was just fun to recieve. He mentioned the high readability and simpleness in design. He later explained that the animation were either too slow or little creative.
However the feedback from Jon-Martin (32) about how the semesterplan is already downloaded and mailed, gave me a heads up that maybe this part of the control-panel should be replaced or skipped. Maybe its possible to create own goals to reach during the semester instead? It seemed like the principal and teacher were agreeing on the lack of control, and that this control-panel would help.
So in conclusion; All the participants enjoyed the design and simpleness, and agreed on this being a step in the right direction. Forwards I will look to improve general anmation flow and change out the “semesterplan”-menu with something else. I must also find a way to be more fun for kids, instead of pure restriction. And I will also have to add the new menu that will work as a library for the teachers, when they are picking apps for their lessons.