Sharing for better education for all
A holistic solution for sharing educational resources, bounce ideas and brainstorm subjects on a one-stop social platform.
Team: Team 8
Team membersJan Sykora, Jan Krsnak, Olga Attard, Radka Tesikova, Kamila Hazdrova
Members roles and background
Jan Sykora - director of a primary school
Jan Krsnak - lecturer
Radka Tesikova - primary school teacher
Kamila Hazdrova - O2 manager
Olga Attard - director of Projekta 360 Malta
Educators’ Lounge will be a one-stop social platform aimed at educators to facilitate the sharing of learning materials whilst encouraging socialising with other peers. In a nutshell it is a fusion between Facebook and Pinterest for educators. The aim is to promote a safe environment where educators share their work (such as lesson plans and videos) as an open source, thus contributing and benefiting from each other’s work.
The platform has three main aspects:
- “My Desk” serves as a collection of personal or shared boards with a compilation of interesting materials the user creates or finds and saves (pins) onto these boards. Multiple boards can be set up as required, for example by subject, and each board can be further divided into sub-categories. Each board can be either private, public, or custom visibility. Users browsing public boards by subject can find a trove of readily available related materials scoured by their peers. Users can re-pin items from other users so that these items show on their “Desk”
- “Templates” is another section, with a collection of lesson plans (or any other original educational material) that the user uploads to share on the platform. Other users can view and/or edit the templates to their requirements. The edited versions will be saved in the new user’s template section but with an acknowledgement of the original creator. The original template creator is notified of any edits so they can easily apply any improvements to their original template. This model empowers crowdsourcing ideas and collaboration for an improved end-product.
- The third aspect is the Discussion Forums where educators discuss different topics. Topics are sub-divided into sub-categories, for example: Maths -> Grade 1 / Grade 2 / Grade 3 / etc… Discussion Boards are a great resource to brainstorm and share ideas and to link to other resources such as My Desk items and Templates.
Every user will have a constantly updated “feed” which lists updates of items of interest uploaded by same user, “friended” users or selected subjects, be it changes to originally uploaded templates, new entries in discussions they are participating in or public pins which have been “liked” or “shared”.
User engagement, participation and feedback will be the fundamental measure of success of this solution. The idea is to leverage, build on and enhance existing technologies to achieve the desired result rather than re-invent the wheel. Most of the required tools already exist in different platforms or for different target groups, our idea is to bring together tried and tested tools and methodologies to create the ultimate solution targeted for the Czech education professionals where they can create, share, collaborate and support each other by honing the power of digital technologies.
Many of the ideas being proposed already exist in some form or another in a much wider sense: for example, Facebook and Pinterest; however, the existing solutions are very generic and not focused on education. The idea behind “Educators Lounge” is to take the best of these tried and tested applications and implement a focused solution targeted for Czech educational professionals. One can argue that educators can easily use Facebook to interact and share ideas, however it is very easy to get distracted when using such diverse, non-focused tools. The need for such collaborative tools has been long felt, so much so that there have been attempts in the past to bridge this gap, albeit with limited success. The proponents of “Educators Lounge” are aware of the limitations of existing platforms and the proposed solution is to address were previous platforms have failed, most notably on user-experience, ease of use and social engagement. The idea is to create a specialist crowd-sourced platform to facilitate education across the board.
Solution target group
As the name implies, the main target group of Educators Lounge are education professionals. The way the platform is build, allows professionals to focus on their area of interest - be it by subject or by grade/age. Having said this, the platform is not limited to any demographic, anyone is free to create an account, explore and contribute. We believe that everybody can take the role of an educator, irrelevant of professional title. Students learning to become teachers can benefit immensely from the work shared by professionals, as can parents helping their children with a specific topic.
Impact of such a platform can be easily measured through user engagement. Web analytics tools play a crucial role in this assessment. Other than visitors to the site, which can be somewhat boosted by advertising and SEO, the number of signed users and their interactions are important to gauge how effective the platform is. This platform is a paradigm for “content is King” and the more quality content uploaded and shared, the more user engagement is generated. The platform is build in a way that quality content is recognised (by ratings, mentions, and shares) thus encouraging users to upload and share their creations, knowing that apart helping other professionals, they themselves can benefit from suggestions to improve same content. Our motto is: “Sharing is Caring, but it also Rewarding!”
Solution tweet textEducators Lounge – the social media platform to meet fellow education professionals, share your ideas to inspire and be inspired in return. #education2030 #educatorslounge # bettereducation # educationforall #digieduhack
The innovation aspect lies in creating a specialised crowd-sourced solution for the Czech educational community. The idea is to empower users to upload and share original content, making it available to other peers, who can use it as is, or continue to build on it, further enriching the library of resources. The platform is a blend of several digital tools such as digital boards, editable templates and discussion forums that elevate social collaboration to promote interaction between users and encourage them to share more, quality resources. These tools can be accessed individually but a merged “feed” keeps the user updated of any interactions or new material of interest.
By design the platform is intended for education professionals in Czech Republic, but other interested users (such as parents and students) are also encouraged to explore and participate. Uploaded materials can be held as private, shared openly, or shared with selected individuals. The design of this platform can be easily adopted to any other profession or topic of interest especially those willing to share ideas and collaborate, such as design, photography, cooking etc. Although the original implementation is open source based, where information is shared for free, a monetisation layer can be implemented with some effort, where creators can sell their creations instead. This addition can widen the scope of such a platform to other areas where professionals might not be inclined to share their work for free.
During the workshop we could already see a high interest about the solution from mentors coming from both the public and private sectors. It is evident that there is a market opportunity for such a service as it would both facilitate the work of educators as well as contribute to the better delivery of education. Given that the idea behind Educators Lounge is to create an open-source tool, the plan is to collaborate with the public sector to fund the project and facilitate implementation and adoption. Awareness campaigns amongst teachers and educators are crucial to introduce them to the platform and its benefits. Once the number of users starts picking up and the shared content increasing, the platform will start marketing itself as users will find more value and engagement opportunities. Through smart search engine optimisation, the more content is shared, the more the possibility that users come across the website through their online searches.
Longer term enhancements will include the possibility for educators to collaborate with students online, also using video streaming with the possibility of interactively sharing learning resources on the platform with their students – such as quizzes and assessments.
Solution team work
We worked very good as a team, especially because we all have different backgrounds which complimented each other perfectly. Taking advantage of every member’s strengths and supporting each other as needed, we managed to achieve a good result even though we had never met before this hackathon. It would be a privilege for all of us to work together in the future as we all learned from each other and worked so well together.
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