Day#254: Local private school using Digital tools

Day#254: Local private school using Digital tools

Hey Uxers for today I wanted to discuss the Curro Digital System that they rolled out with, there are a lot of misconceptions around the curriculum and the Schools rules on Devices etc but I will be going through some myths I worked through when chatting with a local Curro mom. For the purpose of anonymity I will be referring to the mom as Rachel. Before I start though I wanted to share some of the misconceptions that are circulating, firstly that students have to use iPads, and then secondly that the system has gone back to a paper based system. Rachel has confirmed with me that her child is still using her tablet, I decided to structure a few questions to understand the Rachel as a mom part of the system and a bit of info on the process etc. Unfortunately I don’t have any info on any usability info from actual users of the Tablets but will be discussing my views on the Device and changes to the system as well as the Device on a whole.

So basically the rumors were the following

  • Students had a lot of data requirements from having to update Apps and download content etc
  • Parents felt trapped if the device was not charged on time etc then the student would be punished
  • Parents were worried about the child losing the Device
  • Certain Curro schools are reverting back to textbooks because parents feel it is easier, this may be true if the school can operate differently from one another. This I am not sure of, and I will be conducting more research to understand this a little better in the near future.

My hypotheses  

  • I think using a Device for educational purposes may contradict existing mental models created by parents and possibly children as well, see my post here on Mental models in UX.

(Children and parents alike would need to be introduced to the concept of digital learning in a productive and easy to understand format.)

  • I would imagine that the school would have specific Portals for students and parents to view communication from and to the school on.
  • I can see the Wifi being a issue, but again I think that may perhaps be generational for example my partner and I have had uncapped internet in our home, even when we were not earning very well. I think in comparison to different people it may not be as important and thus they will have to fork out for individual Data costs that will be accumulated on the individual Device
  • I would think that students would prefer having the Device because it would mean one item to remember to take to school everyday instead of many school books and perhaps changing the school books everyday in relation to the timetable
  • I think parents may struggle to control the child’s time on the Device, and it will be interesting to see if parents are struggling with this

Resources to look at by Curo

This was a mini project that I did to try get into the user’s head on their experience and what the on-boarding for such a change is, if you would like to see more on usability testing please check out some of my other posts on usability testing processes, tips and ideas here

Now on to Rachels answers, note when I worked on the questions I made sure not to lead the individual whom I am questioning it becomes evident on the outcomes you are aiming for if you add extra adjectives or phrase questions in a certain way. Basically when users can guess the outcome that you are expecting or want that can taint the outcomes of the study in favour of your bias, for more information on this check out my post on Demand Characteristics here

I would love to chat to an actual user and I will be working on that for another post. For this post I wanted to chat with a parent since I had heard rumors that parents were not happy with the system and wanted to understand if so and then the why’s. In relation to children, I think parents can greatly influence the outcome of the product if they don’t like it and I wanted to understand what the thoughts around what made them dislike the Digital system. Check out Rachel’s questions below


Rachel’s Answers

What made you decide to send your kids to Curro

As my child was in another private school in the area that just became totally impossible to pay the fees we had to look for alternatives and as Curro was talking about their high school plans for century it was just a good option for us at the time from a cost perspective and keeping her in a private scenario


Did you know about the Digital tools before or after

When we moved to Curro they still made use of the Android tablets so we were aware of that we had to replace her tablet as the other school used ipads so it wasn’t ideal to have to spend money again but we had no choice as it wasn’t accepted at Curro to be ipad


If after, what did you think about the Digital learning tools

I don’t really have an issue with the way they use the technology they often push extra resources to the children and this can be beneficial to them


How does the school present the digital tools and how are they used in the classroom?

I’m not exactly sure how it is used as I actually never enquired much about it to be honest


What are the advantages of this Digital system?

I personally if I had a choice would go back to text books the tablets is maybe great but even as a student myself I find it more difficult to study from a text book on a tablet then a real book and I can see this in my daughter also scrolling up and down losing her place then having to find it again.


What are the disadvantages of the Digital system?

Many times you think your child is busy with homework but then find them sitting surfing online there is no way to really know if they working or not and you can’t take the tablet away as they need it for school so punishing a child is harder as the item you want to limit is the one item you can’t take away


I have heard a rumor that schools only use Ipads, was this a past occurrence or has it always been just been a rumor perhaps?

We have never used Ipads at Curro we used the android tablet and now the 2 in 1 device – im not a fan I feel they must have just stuck to laptops and get it over and down with as also later in highschool when you d certain subjects this require laptops so then you have to once again buy a new device


Do students have free wifi at school?

They have wifi access and gets an email account – the wifi is limited to certain things they can access I don’t think they can stream for example but they can email , access websites for research and after school have some limited internet experience


Does the school have Apps etc that they then use and inject work flow through?

As parents we have access to certain facilities on their website but there is no App as such for example to do communication , class info etc ( the previous private school made use of communicator ) Curro sends all comms via email and all permissions slips is send to you via a link where you need to download it and then print and sign and send back – as a parent I would have likes a better online experience wrt an app for basic interactions between us and school , granting permissions to outings, getting updates if events run late etc


Summary of Rachels answers

Did you know about the Digital tools before or after

Curro only allows students to have Android Devices


If after, what did you think about the Digital learning tools

Positive extra resources being pushed to kids


How does the school present the digital tools and how are they used in the classroom?

Not sure, and parent never inquired


What are the advantages of this Digital system?

Parent would prefer going back to textbooks, indicates difficulty in studying and says child also struggles and loses her place when reading etc, here I would add the extra resources provided as well.


What are the disadvantages of the Digital system?

Parent indicates it is difficult to punish the child, and not sure if the child is working or playing on Device


I have heard a rumor that schools only use Ipads, was this a past occurrence or has it always been just been a rumor perhaps?

Curro uses Android devices, Rachel is not a fan and thinks school should have allowed parents to get laptops for students which they could have then used as they got further in schooling.


Do students have free wifi at school?

Students do have access to educational content during classes and for a short period after classes


Does the school have Apps etc that they then use and inject work flow through?

There is no App for communication and mailers are sent out to parents, Rachel would have liked an App or a more intuitive measure than parents having to print sign and send back printed documents


Okay after all the information Rachel patiently provided me with above, I want to start with the onboarding process. I think for such an established name that Curro should consider it their jobs to introduce parents to the system, even if a child perhaps starts mid year there should be material that helps parents understand the benefits of using Digital Devices, this will then help parents understand the product easier. Yes everyone is aware that everything is digital and it makes sense to use Digital Devices but taking the time to show parents who are actually the schools customers the benefits of the device would be very advantageous in having parents on board. Rachels biggest concerns were around the difficulty of the keeping ones place etc when reading and there are Apps that store your reading material and allow for you to make notes on documents etc. The school should have also shared this with parents and students by having a handy guide book for everyone to look at if they are struggling with the transition.

It is after all a transition, parents did not grow up using these types of mechanisms to study so it would need careful planning and education on the institutions part to encourage students and parents to understand different Apps that can help them along the way. Finally Rachel indicated that she struggled to control her daughters time on the Device and be able to see if she was actually doing homework or not, there are many handy Apps that can actually put one’s Device on lock down. I think a lot of these Devices were made for us Millennial’s who cant stay from the intermittent rewarding that is social media, however locking access to certain Apps etc can 100% be used for instances like this where a child needs to focus on their homework and not be distracted by games etc. Check out this article which has 10 Apps to stop distractions

There are Apps for both Android and IOS, some for just social media and others that outright put the Device on lock down. This site also indicates 6 Apps to stop your Smartphone addiction

Look maybe none of these work specifically for this situation but I think this was a valid point that Rachel made and the school should have also identified this and helped parents by introducing them to such products. I am all for the transition of education to a digital format but it needs to be done correctly to create positive outlooks and foster a culture of growth and belief in the system, if that is not done then schools can not be baffled if it does not work and reap the results they had envisioned. Happy researching until next time Uxers

Bye for now

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *