23 Jun TeacherConnect: How Education is Adapting in Unprecedented Times
ECubed/DBE launched the TeacherConnect app to facilitate learning and mentorship, in real time, 24/7. The app was created with the primary focus of empowering educators through the provision of useful content and resources that would aid them in supporting learners. It was also intended to help educators bridge all the gaps that may have occurred as per the commencement of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and included all the necessary learning resources needed by educators as per the current Annual Teaching Plan, aligning it to the CAPS curriculum.
TeacherConnect is accessible on WhatsApp due to the latter’s instance of accessibility for all, its user-friendliness, and how little data it uses in comparison to any other platform that might be utilized for TeacherConnect. Though the app is relatively new, many tests have been orchestrated by teachers to ensure that the App is ready for use and includes all the possible resources it may need for schools that form part of different quintiles for its presence to grow in schools with the progression of time.
How was testing conducted by Tomorrow Trust?
In TeacherConnect’s formative stages, Tomorrow Trust collaborated with Ecubed by enlisting educators to assist in gauging the accessibility and usability of the app. In February 2021, Tomorrow Trust managed to conduct eight user-groups, with five being face-to-face and three being virtual sessions to collect research.
To date, 230 educators have been involved in the user-testing. The user-groups that participated were Bokamoso Secondary School, Bonolong Primary School, Diepsloot Primary School, Ecubed Group, Endulweni Primary School, Emfundisweni primary School, Mokorotlo Primary School, Thabisang Primary School, Tlamatlama Primary School, Tomorrow Trust Educators, Sandbox Group, Steetlight Schools, Super Group, and the University of Johannesburg 4th Year Students. It is notable that Tomorrow Trust ensured that all face-to-face sessions held a maximum of twenty educators who were socially distanced and COVID-compliant. We also ensured that all the online sessions held a maximum of six educators to ensure that their queries could be attended to in a timely manner by the relevant facilitators
Some of the categories of focus in the user-testing included how extensive the information being shared on the App was, whether it was user-friendly enough, and where improvements could be made – technical, content-wise, available resources etc. The main point, however, was ensuring the app had value-add for beneficiaries – both educators and learners, of which the latter were prospective at the time user-testing commenced. The discussions took approximately 30-minutes, with transcription being done so that raw content could be transferred into valuable research for the developers and content creators of TeacherConnect and ran over three sessions.
The first set of testing consisted of general usability questions, similar to the following:
- How would you describe the service?
- Have you heard of TeacherConnect?
- What do you consider to be the main purpose of the WhatsApp channel?
- Does this WhatsApp channel remind you of any other services?
- Can you think of any digital resources from the Department of Basic Education that you currently use?
- Are there scenarios that you imagine this channel would be useful for you?
- Can you describe the most valuable feature [in your opinion] on the WhatsApp channel?
- Was anything confusing or unclear to you when using the WhatsApp channel?
- What kind of educational resources or information do you wish was available on the WhatsApp channel?
- How would you make the WhatsApp channel better?
The second set of testing was centered around the collaborative value offer by TeacherConnect, attending to its collaborative capacities regarding learner wellness, educator collaboration prospects and its accessibility and potential ability for form part of an educator’s daily routine. The third set of testing consisted of gauging how adequate the information presented on TeacherConnect was that attended to Robotics, Coding, Making, and Tinkering.
If you would like to find out more about TeacherConnect, CLICK HERE.
Author(s): Duduzile Brown Ndlovu, ICT Programme Lead, Tomorrow Trust; Otshepeng Buckwalter, Associate Consultant, IQbusiness.