We are Lirio, a team of five masters students from Carnegie Mellon University who partnered with BloomBoard to build a supportive online video coaching experience for teachers. Our user-centered and iterative research, design, development and testing process led us to the creation of TeachList, a mobile application that enables teachers to take ownership of their professional development in a supportive community of fellow teachers and coaches. Core to TeachList is the playlist, which is a collection of resources and activities around a central pedagogical topic, and breaks down bigger goals into small, easily actionable steps.
Ya Gao | Guanjie Li | Justin Kahn | Ariel Norling
- Coordinator: Coordinating the work within the team, communicating with client and professors
- UX Researcher: Conducted interviews with users, synthesized research findings
- UX Designer: Came up with design ideas, designed all user interfaces for the mobile app, created both low-fi and hi-fi prototypes for user testing and make changes based on user feedback
JAN 2015 - Aug 2015 | Pittsburgh
Professional coaches play an important role in K-12 teacher professional development. Coaches, oftentimes senior teachers, would give teachers advice on how to improve their professional skills. However, it is usually really hard for coaches to find a good way to interact with teachers because of the following reasons:
- It takes time and effort for coaches and teachers to build a trust relationship, especially when the coach is assigned by school. Teachers don't feel safe to fail in front of their coaches because of the fear of their performance review getting hurt.
- Teachers don't feel motivated enough because of a poor coach/teacher balance during the goal setting process.
- Teachers get frustrated when coaches can't provide contextualized feedback that can lead to precisely-defined action items
- It is hard to complete an effective feedback cycle in an ideal timeframe because both teachers and coaches have a tight schedule.
- Has 2-year experience as a teacher
- Teaching 7th grade science
- Likes searching for new professional learning materials to help solve his problems, but sometimes he deosn’t know how to tailor the materials to his situation and apply them in practice
- Would asks senior teachers for teaching advice oftentimes
- Open to new educational method & technologies
- 11-year experience of teaching junior high science
- 4-year experience working as an in-building coach
- Coaching 11 teachers currently but focusing on new teachers and those who need specific help
- Like sharing experience with other teachers both face to face and via email
- Not as tech savvy as young generations
- Curated lists of bite-size resources about a specific pedagogical topic
- Includes tasks for feedback
- Steps cover three phases: inspiration, action and reflection
- Next step for each playlist a teacher is following
- Context for each step
- Displays step type and time estimate
- Less formal than other kinds of communication
- Teachers are more trusting because they know exactly what is being shared
- Easy for coaches to keep tabs on what teachers on
- Encourages contribution
- Easy to find things of interest without having something particular in mind
- Portal to BloomBoard's marketplace
- Each step in the playlists encourages contextualized discussion and feedback
- Teachers can easily record a short clip of their classroom and share with coaches to comment
- Teachers can also take notes on all the learning materials and share thoughts with coaches
EASILY PERSONALIZED CONTENT
- Coaches can easily create and edit playlists for teachers according to the provided structure
- Coaches can add tips & comments everywhere to make it more personalized
Teacher Side APP
COACH SIDE APP
How we got here
The theme of our literature review develops every week to support our research practice. During the earlier stage of literature review, we attempted to extract characters of teacher coaching experience. Traditional professional development for teachers are not functioning as effectively as it should be because it is intellectually superficial and/or it does not take into account what we know about how teachers learn. Hence, these are what we should attempt to fix by designing one-on-one coaching experience. What does not work well and should be ruled out. We sought both theoretical support for our research results and empirical evidence of the feasibility of our design ideas.
To understand the current space of teacher development and how technology is used to support them we performed a competitive analysis. With the focus of this project on video coaching for teachers we divided the competitive space into three main areas: video technology, remote coaching, and online teacher development. This analysis illustrated many themes and formed a basis for our exploration. What we found from the teacher professional observation companies was a focus on teacher community feedback. We found some references to coaching, but were not a primary focus of the platforms. In most cases videos were collected to create local best practices repository from classroom videos. This led to an emphasis on getting schoolwide buy-in to have enough teachers uploading and reviewing the videos.
- 8 teacher
- 9 coaches
- 1 film specialist
- 1 program director
- 1 librarian
- Social science
- Washington D.C.
We conducted face-to-face and remote interviews with teachers and coaches to get a fundamental understanding of teacher professional development, personal learning goals for professional growth, and experiences with coaching. In these interviews, we uncovered tension between teachers and administrators on professional development, what creates positive professional learning and coaching experiences, and how teachers use coaching to achieve their goals. We also uncovered many of the cultural hurdles, deeply rooted routines and beliefs, concern for privacy, and many other factors that frequently prevent teachers from utilizing video coaching. As we progressed in our research, we iterated on our field guide, generating new questions and exploring recurring concerns and questions more deeply.
We built models to capture teachers' behavior and their relationship with other parties.
To identify users’ needs and gain insights from our research, we started with the raw interview data transcribed from our interviews and then extracted key quotes and observations from the interviews. We then clustered all the quotes using affinity diagramming and identified key opportunities and breakdowns in the cultural and flow models. After synthesizing all of the data, we identified five emerging themes for further exploration and investigation.
To further consolidate our research findings, we analyzed the connections among all the findings in our emerging themes, incorporated the conclusions from literature review and competitive analysis, and figured out the key insights that we can use to direct our future design.
Our team generated a detailed user experience flow and a slew of design ideas which we believe could help motivate the use of virtual coaching. We tried to create a divergent group of ideas that all focus on some aspect of shooting, sharing, and getting feedback on video. We presented the ideas to teachers and asked for their ratings and feedback on the ideas. This section will present the initial ideas and the preliminary feedback and ratings for these ideas.
After discussion with BloomBoard and professors based on the feedback we got from teachers and coaches, we decided to go with the "My Notebook" idea. We started prototyping interface and user testings to make sure we were building the right product for our target users.
We started with a simple concept of collections that teachers can work on and easily share with each other.
After testing with users, we found following problems:
- It is not obvious what our app is about and how it is different from others
- Teachers are confused about what is private and what is being shared.
We came up with the concept "playlist" to better convey that our app is all about providing a list of bite-size learning material and tasks for teachers to work on. Teachers can choose playlists based on their interests.
Teachers generally liked the idea of playlist. But feed is confusing to them.
We got rid of feed and focused more on progress. We also added more details like video recording and feedback. After testing with users, we decided to further streamline our app structure by using a hamburger menu so that users can focus on the current screen, which leads to our final product.