Design Sprint, Android
At the beginning of each new semester or school year, teachers are faced with the challenge of remembering names for a large number of new students. Many educators believe that knowing exactly who each student is helps to improve the classroom climate. But many instructors find learning students' names difficult and frustrating. If the classes are large lecture classes, the challenge may seem impossible.
The goal of this design challenge is create a digital experience to simplify and quicken the process of learning students’ names, thereby improving classroom environments.
Potential User Groups
1. Educators teach diverse classes in the heterogeneous countries like the US
Classes are commonly mixed with various cultures, languages, and backgrounds.
Educators teach diverse classes in US
2. Educators in homogeneous countries like China or Japan tend to teach
classes that contain one language and a single culture
They have less problems with pronouncing students' names but still struggle with remembering all students' names
due to the high popularity in each class in theses countries.
3. Educators teach in other countries
They need to deal with both memorizing and pronouncing students' names and mostly the language barrier tends to
make the task even harder to accomplish.
Observation & Assumptions
To validate my assumptions and discover more real problems, I conducted several interviews. Due to the time limitation, I only managed to interview 7 teachers with different teaching background and experience to find out their common and unique goals, needs, and user behaviors. Three persona were created as representatives of different user groups.
Basic info(Age, job)
What do you feel about learning students’ names?
Do you have trouble matching faces with the names of students on your class roster?
Have you had troubles remembering or pronouncing students’ names?
How long do you take to remember all of your students’ names each semester?
What would you do to boost your name-learning process?
Have you had any bad experiences due to forgetting a student’s name?
Is there any software you use to aid in your teaching?
Caleb Mantel, 28
A full-time English Language teacher at a public high school
Goals & Needs
What does he say?
"There is something uniquely embarrassing about forgetting or mispronouncing a student’s name. Not only have I embarrassed both of us, but I have slowed down the class. Parent teacher conferences are another concern. If i mispronounce a parent’s name it can really offend them and make their relationship with he school worse, not to mention they can make my life a lot harder. FYI, not to mention the foreign names I'm not familiar with, lots of time it is difficult to tell apart the common English names neither."
Jamison Taube, 26
A substitute teacher while finishing graduate school
Goals & Needs
What does he say?
"Every time I say ‘Hey guys, it is impossible for me to remember all your names so don’t worry about remembering mine. Just call me whatever you like!’ I want them to know that I still respect them and don’t expect anything from them I don’t do myself. If there were some way for me to learn their names though, I would really appreciate that."
Shelby Shay, 23
An ELL teacher at an Korean church school in Chicago
Goals & Needs
What does she say?
"The issue I keep running into with my students’ names is that I’m figuring them out off of a sheet of paper, and that they are all very similar. The Korean language is based around a set amount of phonetic symbols and all Korean names are 2-3 syllables so they can be very hard to tell apart. Even a slight mistake on my part may mean I am literally calling a student “dirty rag” by accident."
The interview helped me validate the original assumptions and identify the existing pain points.
1. Mispronouncing students’ names
For ELL teachers who work with non English speaking students or teachers who teach multicultural students, linguistic difficulties are a consistent problem. Hard to pronounce given names, unique spellings, and names from tonal languages each present issues that teachers do not have time to remedy with long memorization sessions.
2. Difficulties of front loading students names
Most ELL students choose to go by an English name, which doubles the already daunting task of remembering all the names for a class. Many teachers need a better way to memorize or front load students names. Many still use a pen and paper seating chart in this day and age.
3. Difficulties of matching the faces and names
Lots of students are using the most common English names and it is hard to tell apart. A multifaceted digital experience could significantly reduce teacher stress and improve the classroom environment.
Why remembering students’ names is important?
Why correctly pronouncing students’ names is important?
What current methods teachers use to “jog memory”?
What software teachers commonly use to improve results and manage classes?
Based on the results of research and interviews, I decided that a mobile phone app would be the best due to its convenience for quizzing and referencing at any time. Many teachers work during long time periods with short breaks and could use this information at any locations when not by their computers.
Adding details besides just names is helpful for memorization
Details can include: Gender, grade, interests, homeroom teacher name
Google Capabilities Integration
Teachers can get their class list with email addresses included. Email addresses could be Gmail accounts with simple information such as names, pictures, and personal summaries already updated.
These are easy to build and intuitive websites that can be used as assignments or assessments. Because these sites are linked to Google accounts it would also help reinforce the names and information the teachers are learning about their students. Building one of these could be a regular introductory assignment to the class.
Users can create any customized memos in Google keep that can be easily connected to the app.
This app can help in accurate pronunciation for multiple languages. If a name or term is outside a teacher’s scope of understanding, they can use Google translate to hear how it’s pronunciation. Idea: Sound clips can also be saved and attached to student profiles or other documents for later use and memorization purposes.
Sketches include my memos during interviews and brainstorming the structures and contents of the app.
In this fast-paced design time-line, I was able to communicate to a few users with diverse teaching experience and constantly getting feedback from them. Multiple user tests were conducted through the process. All the design decisions were made based on the combination of my knowledge in interaction design and suggestions from real end users.
User flow was created to present main structure and functions of the app. It also demonstrates the key features and interactions throughout the experience. There are four main features - create, organize, share and quiz. In "create" function, there are three special features, including attach voice memos, connect to Google translate, and import files are designed to meet the unique objectives of this app.
Scrolling page to browse all names
Add new name
Login with Gmail
Sort imported names
Create new quiz
from existing lists
Selected names are shown on top
Quiz History of
Edit class content
Create new class
Selected names are shown on top for quick change
Add name, class, quiz or import files
Wireframe were sketched quickly for simple user testing and gathering feedback. Functional consistency and navigational clarity were the main goals at this stage.
Iterations and Modifications based on user feedback
Based on the feedback, I made adjustments to certain visual designs and functions to achieve better user experience.
1. Three dots bottom on the right corner is confusing, changed to a flowing bottom
2. Change"List" to"Class"
3. Square photo frames for quiz section is inconsistent with entire design style
This mobile app is dedicated to the memorization of students' names, focusing on the design solution relevant to organize and iterate the important information of students. Android design principles are the main considerations for deciding UI patterns.
Name & Class Lists
Risk and Difficulties
1. How to classify extract information to the format of the mobile app from import digital profiles from Gmail account?
At the moment, I have no way to automatically extract information from a Google account or to import it into the format of the app. Right now, a user must manually open Gmail to look at a contacts Gmail account and then manually enter the contacts information into the app.
2. Inaccurate pronunciation in Google Translate
While Google translate is nothing short of amazing, it is not always correct in its pronunciations of names. To remedy this, there is a record function where users can take audio notes on individual contacts, so they can simply ask their students. There should be a way for students to record their own audio note and attach it to their Google profile so it can be automatically imported with the rest of their data.
3. How can users save and send the pronunciation sound clip from Google translate to the student's profile or other users?
At the moment, a common user can only copy translated text from Google translate. A very computer literate user could use developer tools on the Google translate website to download the audio file, but this method is impractical and far beyond the skill level of the average user.
4. How can we make student information secure if a phone is lost, stolen, or its security is compromised?
Student information may be relatively easy to obtain, but it is their private data and it needs to be carefully guarded. Right now, the only safe guard against this is the any existing lock on the device. Some ideas to secure the information is requiring a sign in to a users Google account every time they use the device and implementing and automatic log out function after a set amount of inactivity. The app could also have a separate fingerprint pass-code required every time it is accessed.
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