Service design project

Designer:          Kristine Sørensen
Duration:           Two weeks - ongoing
Where:              Oslo
Software:           Illustrator

Week 1

The background of this project is a news article in Aftenposten 28th of march 2017 saying that there is a teacher shortage in the north of Norway. Resulting in pupils having to communicate with the teacher and have classes over Skype. I have also been inspired by a case study and project done by Cisco showing a similar scenario in Uruguay where there was decided to add english to the curriculum, but not enough english teachers to meet the new demand. (video)

I want to look at this problem through a user centred design process, do research and interviews, and map out some different scenarios.

* I am not affiliated to any company, just passionate about user centred design and design methods.

Insight from research

  • When having classes over video it is important that the electronics is working properly so that the students can keep up the concentration and focus on the subject. 
  • The North of Norway will need about 4000 new teachers if they are going to replace the teachers without education and the teachers retiring in the next 10 years. 
  • Image building is important to get people to want to become teachers.
  • Some suggests recruitment campaigns and perks, such as less student loans or tax credits, as possible measures to meet the shortage of teachers.
  • In the North of Norway there are great distances, decentralised schools and many small schools. 
  • 5000 teachers receive continuing education each year and it triggers a larger need for substitute teachers.
  • There has also been an increase in the number of students, especially in the lowest grades, which also results in a need for more teachers
  • To help out some retired teachers are taking on some of the classes. 
It’s a wonderful job. I love being a teacher!
— Unni 71, retired teacher.

Interview and Insights

To gain insight I reached out to the people I know working as teachers and I got to do one interview face to face, and one over e-mail. I wanted to know more about their day to day life, issues and joys, how they communicate with the students, and the other people tied to the school and the use of digital aid in the education. 

After the interviews I did a post-it note session, where I got some of the key insights up on the wall. 

  • The publishers of the school books often have good digital resources. Saves time because you you dont have to correct the tests manually
  • All students have computers provided by the school. We use a lot of technology, for example Google Docs and digital books. This works very well, but students can occasionally be somewhat distracted and work inefficiently. We are also vulnerable when, for example the network is down (which happens). We have a projector in the classroom, and it is very easy to show movies or give presentations.
  • Over time you learn how to fix the most usual IT errors. The IT department at school can fix most issues, but some issues need to be sorted by external (network software)
  • There are too many plattforms that we communicate on in the school. 6 different plattforms to check if there is any messages or info. 
  • Experiencing some challenges when it comes to students' use of social media. What happens in their spare time quickly becomes an issue for the school. We work with netiquette and inclusion at all times.
  • Wish there was more time for planing, evaluating and collaborating with the other teachers. Wish there was more teachers at the school. 
  • There is a lot of unnecessary time wasted on unstructured meetings. 
  • Loud students aren't negative as long as it is on the subject matter, and the pupils are also good teachers for each other. 
  • Love to plan the good discussions in class. When the pupils discuss and come up with good conclusions I often think:  "Wow, they are all so talented"
  • Believe people will want to become teachers if they themselves have had good experience with school growing up
  • Think the focus on continuing education of teachers will strengthen the status of the profession.

Personas and analyse of different scenarios

There is no doubt that a lot of the problem has to be fixed on a national and political level. I will focus the right now and how teaching through video and conference systems might be structured. I have made personas of the people I through my research found out is involved in the day to day business of the school and the scenarios, and then looked at the pros and cons of the different scenarios. 

Click here to see as PDF

The analysis gave me some good insights. I think that except from scenario 1, which I feel will not give the students the follow- up the deserve, that they all have some interesting points that are worth looking in to further. This can be done by making storyboards and to find out what the different scenarios would cost. 


WEek 2

After doing the scenarios I presented them to one of the teachers I interviewed who teaches at a middle school, and his wife who also has a teaching degree. They pointed out that to teach over video will be a completely different way of teaching than to do so in an actual classroom, so to combine a regular classroom and video classes would not be so optimal. They were exited about the idea of a e-school combined with the possibility to teach from home. An e-school would give the teachers an opportunity to share experiences and to build on the methodology of this kind of teaching environment. They emphasised the importance of having the same teacher tutoring the same class over time, and suggested that in this scenario it would be nice to have at least one meeting in-person between the teacher and the students. Maybe as a workshop, as a meeting in the beginning to get to know eachother or some kind of summary at the end of the semester where the students can ask questions on the subjects they been learning. 

Analyse of interfaces to design for and the different video options in the concept.