Start with teachers
To create social impact (grassroots style) by applying UX Design to innovating the current Public Education system.
Teachers are not getting enough financial and emotional support, negatively impacting their teaching methods. Therefore, students are not getting the best education that they can.
To design a mobile application that allows anyone to donate school supplies to teachers; securing them financially, supporting them emotionally, and bettering their classroom environment. Teachers have an account to create classroom wishlists, and donors have an account to access wishlists, and donate supplies.
Whiteboard & pen, Mybalsamiq, Sketch, Invision, Keynote, Omnigraffle
What could three UX Designers with no teaching experience do to make change in the public education system?
To find out, we held in-depth interviews with five public elementary school teachers in LA, and surveyed 20 other people (teachers and "non-teachers").
Our goals for the survey were to find the source of the problem, leading us to our solutions.
Another crucial factor in determining our actionable plan, were the results of our Comparative Analysis.
Our goal in this step of our research process was to find out how the United States differed from other education systems across the globe, and why. We found that the difference in value placed on teachers was a major factor between leading countries in education, versus the United States.
From Problems to Solutions
After thoroughly analyzing our research, we carefully came up with the source of the problem, so we could eventually tackle it by creating solutions; consisting of an actionable plan.
From our research, surveys & interviews, we found that teachers feel undervalued from three different outlets:
(1) The US Government: The majority of teachers feel they are underpaid for the amount of hours they work, and for the amount of value they contribute to their students.
(2) Principal: Many teachers feel discouraged as there are constraints when it comes to creative teaching methods, due to standardized testing.
(3) Community: Teachers feel underappreciated by their community and believe society is not aware of the hardships teachers face. They would like their communities to create awareness to bring support.
The result of teachers feeling underfunded, underpaid and undervalued is:
(1) Teachers lose motivation & become stressed, negatively affecting the ways that they teach.
(2) Some of the greatest teachers abandon their jobs because they are underpaid.
(3) Schools are missing out on great potential teachers who don't consider it due to the salary.
Therefore, students are not getting the education they deserve.
We need to increase community appreciation and value for our teachers, financially and emotionally.
Short-Term Goals (Grassroots):
1. Community Donations
2. Community Support
Long-Term Goals (Official):
1. Higher Salary
2. Higher Job Credibility
Better teachers means better teaching methods, leading to a better education for children.
How are we going to do this?
Katrina, John and I were going to create realistic change by designing a mobile application that allows people to donate school supplies to teachers, bringing them financial and emotional support.
With both a donor and teacher login,
A. Teachers can:
(1) Browse Supplies
(2) Add needed supplies to their classroom wishlist
B. Donors can:
(1) Find classrooms by looking up teachers (The classroom of your choice)
(2) Access classroom wishlists
(3) Donate supplies
Pictured above are three screens that appear before you enter the homepage, as a new user (in this case, as a new teacher). To see all the screens that were made, see the clickable prototype below:
Who and What did we design for?
Our surveys & research led us to our persona creation. Our persona, "Teacher Tasha", is a 25 year old teacher with just a couple of years of experience, but endless passion. Her salary is $42,000, leaving her budget tight while she is paying student loans from her studies and supporting herself entirely.
Scenario & Painpoints
Tasha Summers is extremely passionate, and loves to explore creative teaching methods. She found that her students excel most when their lessons are project-based and collaborative. Tasha's classroom needs a variety of supplies in order for her to teach using this method.
Tasha's school is giving her the bare minimum of classroom supplies, and if she really wants to impact her students, she will have to pay out-of-pocket.
Tasha paid $3,000 out-of-pocket for supplies last year. However, this year she is extra tight on money. She cannot afford to shop for her class this year. Her school is not supplying her classroom with what they need, so she needs a solution.
Her principal notifies the faculty about the "#StartWithTeachers" app. She opens it, and her user flow begins.
The Solution: Tasha's painpoints are solved when she has the ability to create a classroom wishlist, and non-teachers can donate supplies to her class. This supports her financially and emotionally.
Getting There Through Testing
We didn't get to the higher-fidelity prototype that easily! We started out by testing our low-fidelity prototype in MyBalsamiq. Through testing, we made iterations to make the app as user friendly as possible.
Deliverables & Next Steps
Through the process of research, testing and sketching, my team delivered a high fidelity, clickable prototype for a mobile application. All of the deliverables were thought of and created from scratch; from the initial research, to creating the concept, to the design, and in the end: the clickable prototype.
Eventually, we would like to continue researching, testing, and to expand our clickable flows. As of now, our user has limited flows with presentable features. The next steps would be to enhance the rest of our features, test them, and then make them function.
The donor login is also a crucial next step to consider for the function of this application. For the donors, we presume a website would be a better solution than a mobile application, as it is not something they would necessarily need phone-handy. (However, that is something we'll find out for sure with testing!).
A Note From Me
I am especially proud and excited about this project, because of the connection we developed towards the cause. Previous to this project, I had never really considered the needs of teachers, nore thought about our public education system's problems. Once the findings of this project were revealed and my team created something tangible that could truly make a difference, we decided we should make a difference.
Katrina Dargel, John Pak, and I would like to make this come alive. Our next step is to interview leaders of local public schools, and see where we can go from there.
If you or anyone you know (teachers or non-teachers) would like to see #StartWithTeachers come alive, feel free to message me with questions or comments.