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The 20 things you should know when designing for classrooms.
Co-designing with teachers, for their world
1 Know where you ﬁt. There are three types of technology teachers need.
TEC H AS A CURRICULUM SUBJECT TECH THAT AMPLIFIES AND AUGM ENTS OTHER TOPICS TECH TEACHING TOOLS
2 Know who you’re designing for.
Focus on what the user needs, not what you think they need. Teachers know the classroom better than anyone else, just as kids know the playground. You will be proven wrong — and that’s a good thing.
3 Teachers are natural born hackers.
Involve teachers across your whole product cycle. They will reward you by adopting your tech and giving it a purpose you couldn’t imagine.
4 Want teachers to adopt your product instantly? Do your homework.
Help schools and teachers satisfy the criteria against which they’re judged. Show teachers how exactly your solution ﬁts with their teaching and learning objectives.
5 Give teachers an opportunity to feel conﬁdent using your tech.
“You wouldn’t expect to teach a whole classroom of kids how to make a cake if you weren’t conﬁdent doing it yourself.“ Clare Copeland Senior Lecturer and the Subject Leader for Computing and Information, London South Bank University Photo credit: Universe Awareness
Understanding teachers’ reality
6 Teachers don’t have time. Make this into an opportunity, not an obstacle.
Q UI CK SI M P L E L O W B A R RI ER A NY T IME A NY WH ER E “I like to be spoonfed and have the opportunity to watch something at home or quickly before the class happens.” Nadia Raza Teacher and Senco at Al Sadiq & Al Zahra schools
7 The role of the teacher has changed. The answer to this could well be the next Airbnb for teachers - but better!
community engagement speaking at conferences training teacher meetups & seminars knowledge exchange brand ambassadors mentoring search for resources and teaching tools professional development recruitment teachers rating content CPD certiﬁcation teachers as curators portfolio building peer endorsement publication of resources and teaching tools
8 We’re at the point when things like programming can’t be taught by teachers alone.
“It’s a lot to ask a teacher to teach the new computing curriculum without training. You wouldn’t do it in any other profession.” changes in the job market industry input CONTINUOUS INNOVATION re-education of teachers need to make teaching relevant
9 Teachers don’t have much money but they need your tech. What’s your go-to-market strategy?
the do just We d it ﬁn ps. we y ap use bu n’t eca me o b ed nly volu “W Mai t up . ol, se es to on cho ult ree ge s f iﬃc d vera a not y ver . An y, is sing dem a a US, ac rch u the n p . In t’s a ss i card nle dit d.” u cre car da bit owe a de all ven te no “The alre ady for t limit echn ed b year olog udg y we is di et ﬃcu have as y lt to ou d for a spen on’t is go d wi know ing sely wha to c t tec ome hard h out to p - it’s redi ct.” W HO MA KES P URC HA S I NG D EC IS I ONS ? HO W A ND WH EN A RE T HE Y B EI NG MA D E? ?
10 Your typical marketing techniques won’t cut it.
Teachers trust other teachers’ expertise and they love to share their stories. Peer-to-peer is the most successful ampliﬁer of a good story amongst educators. Dare to embed this in your business model!
Designing for utility, longevity & adaptability
11 If your hardware will be used by kids, it needs to be indestructible — things get broken.
Expect daily repeated use by many children “We’ve got 15 tablets for 400 children. It takes a lot to maintain all the tech we have. Laptops are losing keys, you need to replace batteries, things go missing.” Nadia Raza Teacher and Senco at Al Sadiq & Al Zahra schools
13 Ensure tech is used in the way you intended.
“Children should be using the interactive whiteboard to enhance their learning, it’s not the teacher’s tool. Many schools don’t let children touch the boards.” Isabella Lieghio ICT Education Consultant at Icon Learning, Apple Distinguished Educator Photo credit: Kathy Cassidy
“There was a maths-related app, with questions that come up and kids have to tick the right answer. They’re competing against each other. What I noticed was that they were pressing every answer to get to the right one. As a teacher, it was really depressing because they were not using any maths in a maths lesson. It was teaching them practice of that particular game [alone].” Nadia Raza Teacher and Senco at Al Sadiq & Al Zahra schools
13 Tech savviness of children is over-rated. Pedagogy is key with or without tech.
“Many of my colleagues think the children know everything — they’re digital natives, but they don’t!” Clare Copeland Senior Lecturer and the Subject Leader for Computing and Information, London South Bank University FOR ACTUAL LEARNING TO TAKE PLACE, HAS TO BE USEFUL BEYOND THE “WOW” MOMENT.
14 “Our solution teaches kids how to code.” Are you sure?
“You’re teaching to that [particular] software and kids ﬁnd it hard to transfer it to other things.” Nadia Raza Teacher and Senco at Al Sadiq & Al Zahra schools
A good piece of edtech … ACHIEVES LEARNING OBJECTIVES FITS WITH ASSESSMENT FRAMEWORK LINKS TO OTHE R LE ARNING AND R EAL LI FE NE EDS
15 It’s not about an app, it’s what you do with it.
sometimes the simplest tool can make THE BIGGEST impact “I used an avatar to redirect my authority to kids in a different voice. They didn’t know it was me but they found it fun and interactive. They paid more attention.” Nadia Raza Teacher and Senco at Al Sadiq & Al Zahra schools
16 Design for multiple use cases. Make things that become indispensable.
“I don’t mind paying for a good app that I can use for different subjects, on different occasions throughout the year.” Isabella Lieghio ICT Education Consultant at Icon Learning, Apple Distinguished Educator
17 Gamiﬁcation is not a thing.
Play has always been a part of our learning process. Humans are social beings and enjoy engaged learning experiences. However, with all the hype around gamiﬁcation, don’t forget that your main agenda is to get kids to learn.
18 Forget ROI. In the classroom, we’re talking VOI.
How do you measure whether knowledge or a skill was acquired, or a mindset was changed? V AL UE O F I NV E ST M E N T & R ETU RN ON L EA R NING
19 This is what you’re up against: proving value to multiple stakeholders in a complex ecosystem
Education authorities Examiners School Teachers Students Pa nts re lo p m rs ye en ot P l e ia t
R AP I D PA C E O F CHA N G E O F TE CH NOL OGY ! T IME IT TAKES FOR ROB UST EVID EN CE TO EMERGE IN EDUC AT ION LA CK O F H AR D DATA T EC HNOL OGY DOESN’ T WOR K IN SILO ES. O THER PR OCESSES INVOLVED IN TEACHIN G AND L EAR NING PLAY A ROL E, TOO .
20 Edtech and the unbearable lightness of impact measurement.
“There’s that thing around the impermanence of technology and children’s work. How do you make it tangible to both children and parents – around recording their progress?” Clare Copeland Senior Lecturer and the Subject Leader for Computing and Information, London South Bank University
“What I ﬁnd diﬃcult about technology is that most of our books are catered for Ofsted, so if you’ve done something with computers, how do you prove that you’ve done that?” Nadia Raza Teacher and Senco at Al Sadiq & Al Zahra schools
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