A Communication Tool for Educators in Tanzania
TeachPort is a Short Message Service (SMS) platform that is created for UNICEF to support teachers who are currently in INSET (In-service Education and Training) program in Tanzania.
Billy Ryu Front-End Development
Shiwon Jang Project Lead
Xinhe Feng Research
Chia-Hsuan Chou Design
Design for UNICEF at Parsons UNICEF Blog
TeachPort is a cost-effective, easy-to-scale-up, and real-time communication tool between INSET and teachers via SMS managing system that reduces travel needs and feedback delays in between. Teachers throughout the nation can easily register and subscribe to the system with few text messages, and receive weekly teaching tips and event information.
They can be conversant with ever-changing teaching and learning approaches. Also, it provides real-time services for teachers to request materials and report issues directly to INSET in order to ensure the quality of education within communities.
The school doesn’t have enough teachers and some of the teachers have very bad English, even though they are supposed to be teaching it. Since the eradication of school fees for primary education in 2001, primary school enrollment expanded to 98% in 2012. However, sector has failed to attract sufficient numbers of qualified teachers and teaching facilities.
In-Service Education and Training (INSET) for primary school teachers is an important part of improving the quality of education in Tanzania. A Pilot Program has been launched in 2011, and the outcome is inspiring. However, nationwide INSET roll out is facing a lot of challenges such as a large number of teachers, limited budgets and technical infrastructures. We decided to use SMS to face these problems. According to the research, 70% of Tanzania is being covered by mobile signal and Tanzanian phone subscribers has reached more than 28,000,000, with the majority using mobile phones.
Based on research, we worked on developing SMS communication system to encourage both INSET and teachers. My role was to improve the user experience by constructing SMS registration/subscription flows for teachers and developing a website for INSET users. With this system, ordinary teachers can send a SMS with questions/inquiries/reports, then INSET can read and response to them immediately.
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.