Teachers & Classroom Technology

by Amanda Davis, HFID Student at Bentley University

Technology in the classroom has come a long way. In the 1980s, teachers began using desktop PCs. Since then, education technology has expanded to include the internet, blogging and websites, laptops, podcasts, e-learning platforms such as Blackboard, interactive whiteboards and digital notebooks. Press coverage of the latest technology frequently declares that this technology will revolutionize education. Beyond the hype, what are the trends for technology adoption in the classroom? What enables or limits this adoption?

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"Make Yourself Useful" Internal Design Event: Improve Your Intranet

  • Re-architect your agency's Intranet homepage - The Intranet is often the ugly stepdaughter of websites; it never gets asked to the ball. On copies of the Intranet Home Page, ask employees to highlight or write in the three areas they find most useful. Have them scratch out areas they never use.
  • Create personas for your Intranet - Ask employees to complete a simple demographic survey so you have a better idea of who your typical users are and what they need.

"Make Yourself Useful" Internal Design Event: Assess the Usability of Your Agency's Public Website

  • How usable is your website? - Take the Usability I.Q. Test and rate your site against the top 25 usability guidelines to see how it stacks up.

  • Usability for $1.98 - Using a laptop or paper prototype, conduct a "usability-study-on-the-cheap" in the lobby or cafeteria of your building. Ask users to find the three most important items on your website.

How can I get people involved and share what we learn?

"Make Yourself Useful" Internal Redesign Event: Usability Beyond Computers

  • Redesign an important form - Choose a form (electronic or paper) and ask employees to help redesign it. Do a "lobby card sort" with cards or Post-Its or ask employees to highlight important fields with a marker. Choose the parking application, a health insurance explanation of benefits, the pay and benefits statement, or other "troublesome" form.

  • Revise signage in your building - Post new signage for the day. Make sure employees understand the connection to World Usability Day by staffing a table in the lobby and soliciting feedback on the new signage.

Contest: World's Best Expert Reviewer

Are you the world's best Expert Reviewer? Find out by participating in this competition!

Expert reviewers (or heuristic evaluators) claim to be experts without quantitative proof. A heuristic skill assessment called Heuristic Evaluation Quality Score (HEQS) was introduced earlier this year and published in the Journal of Usability Studies (Feb 2007, Volume 2, Issue 2).

All participants will be provided a website to review and the review will be judged quantitatively using the criteria specified under HEQS. The person who has the most points will be awarded a cash prize. 

Contest: Worst User Experience Meltdown

Share a story about a user experience meltdown and how it could have been avoided. The meltdown can be experienced personally or one that you witnessed in a major public website. Stories should be submitted to a specified online forum. Winning stories will be posted on the organization's website. Stories should not contain any confidential or proprietary information.

Stories will be judged on this criteria:

Global Online Card Sort

The online card sort will be done by participants around the world, either individually or in groups. Participants can be part of the organizing committee or participate in the card sort.

At the end of World Usability Day, the global responses can be aggregated into a set of results that can be analyzed to look at regional, cultural, and other demographic differences. The knowledge gained from the responses will be shared with the usability community.

Inspired by an event held online in 2006, led by team in Boulder, Colorado, USA. 

Video Contest: Everyday Usability Troubles

Award prizes for videos made of people who are having trouble handling some sort of interface (machine, robot, computer, remote control, car, etc.) or who face problems or barriers in an everyday situation due to bad usability. Videos can be turned in from all over the world. Videos should be submitted to a predetermined YouTube group. 

Winning videos will be chosen based on user comments and ratings and the evaluation of a professional jury. Winners will be notified via their YouTube ID and asked for contact information. 

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