TeachPort is a Short Message Service (SMS) platform that is created to support teachers who are currently in INSET (In-service Education and Training) program.
In-service Education and Training (INSET) strategy for Tanzanian primary school teachers was approved in 2009 and a pilot launched in early 2011. Modules for teachers were developed in three key areas: mathematics, English and pedagogy. Based on a nationally agreed teacher competency framework and drawing on national and international research into effective teaching and learning theory the modules were designed to promote teaching as an interactive, problem-solving activity, requiring a thoughtful and reflective approach to classroom practice.
Delivering small pieces of training materials such as teaching tips.
Sending local based notifications for INSET events like workshops.
Gathering reports and needs from teachers around the country.
In-Service Education and Training (INSET) for teachers is an important part of improving the quality of education in Tanzania. Through INSET programmes, teachers are kept abreast of ever-changing teaching and learning approaches, making them competent and effective practitioners.
A Pilot Program has been launched in 2011, and the outcome is inspiring. But the national scale up of INSET is facing a lot of challenges.
Tanzania has made significant progress towards ‘Achieving Universal Primary Education’. Since the eradication of school fees for primary education in 2001, primary school enrolment expanded to 98% in 2012.
However, sector has failed to attract sufficient numbers of qualified teachers and teaching facilities. The quality of education continues to decreases since 2006. More than 400,000 children failed in 2013's Primary School Leaving Examination.
Problems in Tanzanian education were detected and we figured out how to deal with them by making a mind map.
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Common barriers, access issues, problems and needs in Tanzanian education environment were mapped out and identified.
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The ideation phase included various explorations with personas, scenario development, experience map, and system flows.
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Several iterations of a reporting booklet and a corresponding plugin for Rapidpro were designed and developed.
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Parsons the New School for Design and UNICEF have been working together since 2014 by creating a fellowship to help Tanzania citizens.
Tanzania has made significant progress towards ‘Achieving Universal Primary Education’. Since the eradication of school fees for primary education in 2001, primary school enrolment expanded to 98% in 2012. However, sector has failed to attract sufficient numbers of qualified teachers and teaching facilities. The quality of education continues to decreases since 2006, and more than 400,000 children failed in 2013's Primary School Leaving Examination.
In-Service Education and Training (INSET) for teachers is an important part of improving the quality of education in Tanzania. Through INSET programs, teachers are kept abreast of ever-changing teaching and learning approaches, making them competent and effective practitioners. A Pilot Program has been launched in 2011, and the outcome is inspiring.
Based on Evaluation of School-Based INSET Pilot Program, we researched what INSET is, and set concepts and foundations of our project.
Intervening at the school and classroom level through school-based INSET in Tanzania is crucial in raising the quality of teaching and learning in schools, as ultimately educational quality is obtained through the knowledge, skills, dispositions and commitments of the teachers in whose care students are entrusted. Developing the quality of classroom interaction between teachers and students through in-service training was therefore been identified as a key priority in the 2009 INSET strategy.
However, problems with disbursement of budgets for school-based INSET at the regional, district, and school level was seen as a major challenge. The main constraint identified by those working at the district and school level was the lack of an INSET budget to cover travel costs to the schools, cluster meetings and district education offices, thereby limiting the number of visits that could be made to schools to mentor, monitor and assess the teachers and to plan implementation of the program.
At this level, we considered overall environment in Tanzania and discussed about issues of how and what to make a system with existed resources.
The current INSET implementation strategy is facing difficulties scaling up the system due to disbursement of budget. TeachPort can provide a cost-effective, easy-to-scale-up, and real-time solution by using SMS as a medium to reach out to more teachers all over the nation. As 70% of the country is being covered by mobile signals today, SMS became more accessible for Tanzanians, therefore it is a perfect segue for INSET to connect with their audience.
The crucial step for TeachPort is to user test the system in Tanzania. Due to circumstances, it was not possible to do so at the actual location of launch. There are many aspect of the project that needs to be tested, such as the speed of the internet in the area, duration of the feedback cycle, and accessibility for teachers. Once the systems is tested with the targeted users, designated INSET officials needs to be trained to use and maintain the system accordingly.
After taking a long time on research, our interesting of INSET reached to technology part so we started to develop our own system for teachers.
Our choice was to use Short Message Service (SMS), and the main focus on this system was to make a platform where users can communicate via SMS. We set user experience map and flowcharts, then set personas and their story. It was helpful to set up user flows for registration, subscription, and any other UX strategies.
Not only technical parts, but we also considered about physical materials. To motivate teachers to use TeachPort, it was required to make instructions with guide books for teachers and supply them to schools in Tanzania. We truly believed that this will help teachers strengthen their ability of teaching, then it'll improve the quality of Tanzanian education.
TeachPort instruction manual will be included in teacher's guide that was delivered to each schools in Tanzania. Whenever teachers have questions regarding students and schools, or when they need tips, they easily send a text message to us then INSET level users will response them.
Textit is an user-friendly flow system that visually builds interactive SMS applications anywhere in the world. We set text flow trees and algorithms with Textit to improve user experience with text messaging. It works on even old cellular phones as well as smartphones.
UNICEF is the driving force that helps build a world where the rights of every child are realized. It was created with this purpose in mind – to work with others to overcome the obstacles that education poverty, violence, disease and discrimination place in a child’s path.
The project was run by the master students to and work with Unicef to improve the education quality in Tanzania. To achieve this goal, we used the Design and Technology methods and interview the local worker and doing the users testing to build the SMS and monitoring system to enables primary teachers to peer learning and have the useable channel to access information and resources.