Scenarios for participatory design sessions
Use metaphors when talking about the system to teachers.
Scenario 1: history teacher Jana
Jana is a history teacher in a small primary school in Poland. She just graduated from the university last spring, so it is her first year as a teacher. Jana is a very concerned teacher and wants to make her lessons interesting for the students. She has been using computers for years - mainly for university studies and communicating with friends. She is also interested to use Internet and ICT tools with her students.
In 6th grade history lessons are focused on the Middle Ages. Currently Jana is preparing a lesson about life in medieval cities. She looks for additional information from Polish Wikipedia and Google. Wikipedia has good articles on Polish cities, but it lacks the detailed information about medieval times. Jana remembers, that one of her colleagues was talking about Toolbox. She finds Toolbox from Google and starts to browse the website. Toolbox has a good selection of learning resources, which are all tagged with keywords. Jana is searching for history and receives several hundred results. Maybe there is something on medieval cities too? New search gives only a dozen results. Some photos, some slide shows and a few pages of text.
Jana finds photos that are taken from archaeological excavations in Krakow. There are many interesting discoveries – some coins, pieces of plates and knifes and different tools that people used for work. Jana bookmarks the photos and finds some additional facts from Wikipedia. She decides to create a learning material that can be used both for presentation and handouts. Toolbox provides simple templates for making this kind of learning resources. She even does not have to upload the photos from her computer - it is possible to add the bookmarked photos to the learning resource.
When Jana is saving the created page to the Toolbox, she notices that it is possible to give other people rights to use and edit her learning resource. She decides to share her resource, because she was also using resources created by other people.
Jana looks around in the Toolbox and finds out that she can contact other teachers. There are many teachers who are looking for collaboration to author learning resources together. It is also possible to write reviews for learning resources. Jana writes a short review for the archaeological excavation photos. She finds out that these photos were published by one young researcher from Institute of History. Toolbox environment is not only for teachers, but there are also university students, researchers and other people who are interested find and create educational resources. It is already late and Jana logs out. She will come back on Monday morning to see, if somebody has been using the archaeology page that she just created.
Scenario 2: Gyárfás, László, Balázs and the Linux script programming
Gyárfás is a college student. He is interested in Linux script programming but there is no subject related to this topic at his college. He finds many documents on this topic on the web and the school also has some electronic training materials on Linux, which touches upon Linux programming.
Gyárfás collects many data but only small part of them is interesting for him. Gyárfás tries to filter the essence and to test the written content in practice as well because the books deal only theoretically with the topic.
Gyárfás is confronting with many problems while testing the written things in practice. Many things work a little bit differently than it is written in the documentation. He registers for mailing lists and forums where he can ask and can share his knowledge with others. He proceeds very slowly because he has to wait for the answers for a long time.
Browsing the internet, Gyárfás finds the Calibrate Toolbox and starts a course on Linux script programming. He advertises his course on mailing lists and many others join him. Gyárfás loads the collected documents into the system and starts to assemble a new document from the parts of the imported documents. He extends the written things based on his experiences and makes comments to the individual parts.
When Gyárfás enters the system next day, he experiences with a surprise that many new documents got into the system, other people also make comments to the individual parts and the documentation in progress was extended as well.
A whole group of people is built in some days, which sets up a professional handbook on script for Linux programmers co-operating with each other. The handbook contains examples from the reality and warns on the traps of tools.
The new documentation becomes ready and Gyárfás thinks how good it would be if he could find similar documentation on the internet. He decides to publish the digital handbook on the internet and places it in the shared Calibrate directory.
A little bit later, László from the other side of the world - a young man similar to Gyárfás - searches the web for documents on Linux script programming. He finds the Calibrate toolbox and finds the handbook on Linux script prepared by Gyárfás and his friends. The book introduces the scripts from practical aspects and László learns the basics of script programming only one week.
At that time, a third participant registers in the system. Balázs is a young teacher in an IT training centre. The education institutes try to offer up-to-date trainings to the customers because of the strong competition on the market of education. It is advantageous for both the institute and the teacher because if they advertise popular topics, then the frequency of the courses is increasing together with the number of students, which generates greater income for the institute and the teacher.
Balázs searches the system for the topics appeared within the last year. Selecting among them he chooses the topics that are interesting for him and offer business income if they advertised them as courses. After studying the topics, he decides for Linux script programming because he thinks that this is the best organised knowledge set in the system.
He wants to own the selected training material legally. For this reason he queries the price of the training material using the metadata stored in the system. The price is 16 euro. After short calculation, he finds that the income from teaching is much higher than the cost of the course material. He gives his personal data and downloads the material after the successful transaction.
The IT training centre where Balázs works is open and committed to use new technologies in the education. They introduced a distance learning framework (LMS) aiming that the students participating in the adult education do not have to learn only in the school face-to-face in a strict time (5 pm after finishing work) but the "ubiquitous learning" makes it possible to learn the training materials anywhere, anytime. Practically, the students can log into the learning framework (LMS) with any digital tools (digital TV, PC, PDA, mobile phones) in their free time. The system tracks and stores the proceedings of the student and he can proceed in a customised way and efficiently with the help of the tutor.
Balázs supports the new things as a dynamic young man and he want to advertise his course "Linux script programming" not only in the traditional way but in the LMS as well. The introduced system supports the eLearning standards and it supports any SCORM-compliant training material.
Balázs happily experiences that he gets the training material in a form of SCORM package. Thus, his only thing to do is simply to import the package into educational framework and to prepare the standardised QTI tests. The course is ready to be taught, the school admits on his course collection.
It is ensured during the years that selecting the topic was a good decision, the number of the students who select this course is increasing, in both traditional and online form. Balázs finds it fantastic that he could achieve such a big income with little investment and he understands the importance of standards. After years, when the interest is decreasing, Balázs decides to look for a newer topic in the Calibrate toolbox.
Scenario 3: geography teacher Taavi
Taavi is an experienced geography teacher. He has been working as a teacher for more than 15 years. He has used to teach his subject from year to year with the same structure and principles and organized them quite in a same way without any innovations or new tools. Lately he took part of the course “Computer at school”, where he got basic skills and knowledge of using computers and ICT at schools. He found it very interesting and he believes that ICT has a huge set of new and interesting ways of teaching his subject.
Next week he has to teach Baltic Sea environmental problems in the 7th grade. This year he would like to try something different and interactive as he has noticed that his lessons need some innovations. Also he would like to apply his ICT knowledge and skills. Using Google he finds various interesting articles related to the Baltic Sea problems, but most of them are just articles and too complicated for 7th grade, except few. He clicks on them and notices that these materials belong to the environment called Toolbox. Exploring this Toolbox more Taavi finds it very interesting and useful.
Taavi uses search engine within this Toolbox to find an interactive material about environmental problems of Baltic Sea. He finds some material designed in Sweden, Finland and Germany. Some of the materials are in English and some of them in Swedish and Finnish. Taavi has studied Swedish and decides to choose material designed in Sweden. Material seems quite suitable for his lessons, but it needs some adaptation in order to use it in his class. First of all the level of material is a little bit complicated for the age he is teaching and it needs translation and localization based on the environmental problems from Estonian side. Taavi would like to design an interactive learning material as he has taught this topic all these years using same pedagogical approach: lecture with exercises in workbook. Exploring the Toolbox he finds a place, where he can easily customize chosen learning material and add his own. Besides, the Toolbox offers various templates with different pedagogical approaches, an opportunity to modify the learning instructions of the material and add some contextual information to make the material pedagogically valuable. He chooses a template with problem-based learning as it provides interactivity and an opportunity for students to collaborate. Taavi knows that few teachers in Estonia are able to read Swedish, therefore he would like to share his created learning material with other teachers as it is completed and ready to use. He finds a way how to save his material and give for others an access to it.
Taavi has finished his preparations for next week and he will certainly come back to this environment next week to find material for his next lessons.
Scenario 4: Martin and educational games
Martin is a teacher of economics in high school (16 – 18 years old students). He graduated already 10 years ago and his speciality was teacher of math and informatics. The selection of business teacher job was a big coincidence. Basically he is self studied in this field.
Because of IT background he is convinced that computer is useful tool in every subject. That's why he is surprised why school's computer class is mostly empty and basically used by teachers of informatics. Five years ago, when he started work as teacher of economics he designed the course so that every second lesson was computer lab. He has created lot of learning materials. They are mostly spreadsheet based exercises for example personal tax calculation, investment portfolio competition and making of class event budget but there are also on-line tests. He has found some resources made by other organizations for collaborative study. They are computer simulations (Gazileonaire, Multi MESE, Dynama-Merk) – economical games that can be played by groups and the groups can compete with each other making decisions and gaining virtual profit.
Giving lessons in computer class is a hard task. Lot of energy must be spent for keeping process in planned track. In computer class students prefer doing anything else except economics. They chat, surf on entertainment pages, play games and so on. Lot of effort have wasted for changing that. Black list of not appropriate URL-s have been made. Games in local computer are disabled. Even the software, that blocs Internet connection (if needed) has created. Unfortunately all this does not help. Students find always some opportunity for doing something else. Some exercises are related with Internet. For example they have to collect information from central bank and board of statistics but when the net is free, they play (there is always some web-games, that is not jet in black list). When the net is off, they found some games from local hard-drive. Games are downloaded by students and are so simple that does not need installation (installation is disabled).
Martin believes, that his learning resources are interesting enough. What can be more interesting than subject based computer game. But students prefer different games. He even tries to force students quit or delete entertaining games if he finds them playing but students start again, when teacher turns his back.
So he planes to move some lessons from computer class to traditional classroom. He has no problems with controlling process with paper and pen. This decision is against his nature. He believes, that learning process must be innovative and interesting and using computers in teaching is one opportunely to do that. He tries to find out some solutions from Calibrate Toolbox to keep lessons in computer class.
He is uploading his resources in to Calibrate learning portal and designs them with interfaces stored in Toolbox. He have found in Toolbox some interface templates for learning resources that looks like commercial entertaining web-pages. He is convinced that students like them also, because interfaces are rated by students.
In Toolbox there are already some examples of learning resources which are related with activities that students prefer. For example teamwork exercises based on chat. He finds group discussion lesson for history of music where students talk and analyze about 19th century music styles. Martin founds that he can also use chat in his lessons and he selects template of group discussion learning resource and creates his own chat task about government tax policies.
He remembers that students are interested to rate each other (web-page rate.ee where students can rate others photos is extremely popular). Martin starts to look for a group evaluation resources that let students to present their own work and rate others.
He joins with newsgroups to get and provide tips and tricks how to manage learning process in computer class.
Scenario 5: class teacher Kelly
Kelly is a teacher. She has just been assigned a new class at the fourth grade, and are going to have her first meeting with her new pupils in a couple of weeks. The subject is environmental studies.
She knows that the pupils usually struggle with this material, and she wants to try to use ICT-support and organize the learning as project work in groups. Other teachers Kelly has met on the community pages of the TOOLBOX have reported that the pupils’ discovery of the material on the internet, together with the exploratory discussions among the pupils is beneficial. She also knows that this is a challenge, because she has experienced pupils have used considerable time on searching, selecting and structuring information from the internet.
When Kelly logs into the TOOLBOX she first, as she usually does, checks the community pages for news, reviews and experience reports. To design learning processes and materials that work in practice is difficult, and the teacher community benefits from sharing and learning from each other.
The search for learning materials for environmental studies reveals 6 objects, 4 have been used in Poland, Belgia and Austria, while 2 are newly added and not used so far. She reads the reviews and comments carefully for each of the 4 objects. She now search for learning processes that involve ICT based group work in the fouth grade. The list consist of 3 items: English, geography and European history. She again reads the experience reports carefully.
Using the TOOLBOX she makes a copy of the learning process for European history, she keeps the five first activities, and adds a new at the end. The activities are a variation of the inquiry model. The external links and all the learning material are deleted and are replaced with references to two of the environmental study learning materials she found.