How can we help teachers to tackle the challenge of remembering names for a large number of new students at the beginning of each new semester?

PROJECT DURATION: 10 days

Teacher's perspective

I interviewed several middle school to college teachers to find out their techniques and challenges.

Heidrun

James

Frido

Audrey

Connections to student's projects (more data point to associate with faces/names)

Associate the name with something else that somehow relates to the individual's face.

Remember by using them.

Always have the roster out, and look at student's faces when they answer.

Getting to know them as a person makes everything easier.

Foreign names are more challenging. Rather ask "remind me your name?", won't hold a device to scan a face.

Ask questions/ have small chats to discover interesting facts about each student, adding more layers of information.

Randomly call students during class from the roster. (Tend to call on students with foreign or difficult names less.)

Try to actively use names during classes, simply ask the student for their names if forgot.

Teachers remembering my name is important, and pronouncing it correctly shows that she/he truly cares.

 

Have difficulties remember peer's name too, it's not only challenging for teachers to learn names!

 

I spoke with many of my peers to learn about their opinions on this matter.

Feels special if they remember my foreign name.

 

Student's perspective

Conventional wisdom

Looked at books, videos, articles about how to better remember names.

Focus your mind. Take the time to pay attention.

 

Write down everyone's name in a book, keep a record of the meeting.

Apply mnemonic devices to add information associated with the person.

 

Focus on a particular feature of a new person’s face.

 

Go back over names at the end of a day.

 

Link the new name with something you already know.

 

Key insights to help me generate and evaluate concepts.

Rosters are the most accessible and utilized tool for teachers.

Foreign names and pronunciation of non-generic names are particularly challenging.

Adding meaning and additional layers information related to the student's name or face.

Students struggle with the same exact challenges.

Synthesize research findings

Teachers aren't terrible at names and faces; they just need better ways to establish meanings and context behind those names and faces.

Ideation

Using the research as framework and guidances, I explored a range of ideas with analog & digital solutions. Some are simple while others are more complex or wild.

Hover to read details

REFINEMENT

I took elements from the ideation stage that have the most potential and developed three concepts. I've consciously decided to focus on digital solutions because analog tools would require much more time & effort to create, something teachers cannot afford to do.

Create a digital name deck with face+initial on one side, and full name + personal note/drawing on the flip side. Quiz yourself before the class by trying to recall names based on looking at the student's photo or vice-versa.

Take a photo during the class, and use the face + seating information to correlate names. Tap on the circles to see if you got it right.

Have a name deck handy,

Quiz yourself!

Refresh your memory.

Concept 1

Concept 2

A roster that enable students to better express themselves.

Help teachers to establish connections to the names by giving students the ability to upload their own portrait and write a catchy self-introduction. All to make things more personalized and meaningful compared to just a name.

 

The roster also provides audio pronunciation assistance to help teachers on challenging names before the class.

 

Help goes both ways.

Students have quick access to edit/update their profile and get familiarized with their classmates before & after they meet in person.

Leveraging Google Assistant's unique ability to recognize different voices and use it inside the classroom context.

 

It will keep track of each student's activity throughout the class and highlight key interactions in a report to help teachers review and reflect afterwards.

Bring voice to the equation.

Concept 3

FINAL DESIGN

After evaluating each of the three directions, I felt that the challenge can best be addressed by merging elements from concept 2 & 3 because they provide a platform that enables all parties to create a multi-touch point solution together; rather than solely rely on the teachers. Concept 1 is simple and can be effective too since it's based on methodologies that have proven to work. However it lacks scalability and sustained value, as it's usefulness degrades quickly with passing time.

 

Why Google?

After further research, it appears that the new digital Roster is a perfect fit for the existing "Google Classroom" platform as an attractive function for both teachers and students. It can serve as an effective entry point, thus expanding the platform's users base.

Strategy:

Expand the Google Classroom ecosystem by introducing the Google Roster and Google Assistant.

 

Target audience:

Middle school to college students and teachers; small to mid-size classrooms excluding lecture hall environments.

Face

Google Roster

Voice

Meaning

Name

A platform that accelerates the process of getting to know each new student for the teacher, and enables all members of the class to build memorable, sustained connections with one another.

Allow students to build a personalized profile with imagery, words, and sound.

A multi-touch point roster that creates memorable elements for teachers.

A useful networking platform for students.

Integrate Google Assistant into the classroom, keeps track of interactions between students and teachers.

For teachers

By students

Much more than just

names and faces.

With each class, the teacher can add students to the roster and allow them to edit their profiles by adding self-introductions as well as record an authentic name pronunciation. The platform encourages the students to be more expressive about themselves, which also makes them more memorable.

 

These elements will help the teacher to know each student better, gain access to data points to form connections and a more comprehensive mental image of that person.

Hear the most authentic pronunciation, recorded by the students themselves.

 

Portrait picked and uploaded by the students.

 

A short, catchy self-introduction from each students.

 

For students

They can hand pick the best photo, write something interesting about themselves and even record an audio saying their name so that the teachers won't get it wrong.

 

Students also have access to their classmate's profiles, which makes it easier to get familiarized with their peers. In addition, students can start a private or group conversation through the Google Classroom platform.

Express the authentic you.

Google Assistant

for classrooms

Elevate classroom interactions

The Google Assistant will track each student's activities throughout the class by recognizing their voices. It will generate a report for the instructor after each class, including questions asked, comments/answers, and warnings given by the teacher.

 

The teacher can review & reflect after each class and replay the interactions with a specific student, which will create extra layers of meanings behind their names and faces. Then he or she can add a comment or memo to reinforce that memory.

"Tracey Tyler"

"Zack Chan"

"Okay Google, play some relaxing music for the class."

 

"Okay Google, how many species of plants are there?"

 

"Okay Google, what was the question Frank asked me during class earlier?"

Voice sign in

 

Background music

 

Quick fact check

 

Flashback

The Google Assistant will track each student's activities throughout the class by recognizing their voices. It will generate a brief including questions asked, comments/answers, and warnings given by the teacher.

 

The teacher can review & reflect after each class and replay the interactions with each student, which will create extra layers of meanings behind their names and faces. Then he or she can add a comment or memo to reinforce the memory.

 

Roster
Spark memorable connections among students and teachers.

Powered by

Google Classroom

Copyright © 2017 Daniel Cheng. All Rights Reserved.