School assignments in a mobile application for students
Every student hates assignments. Papers, pens, a lot of handwritten text… Why should students fill out their answers and conclusions still on the paper while there are smartphones everywhere? Thanks to us they don’t need to anymore. At least in one school cooperating with a modern local museum.
What was the problem?
A school offering courses in botany, zoology, genetics, etc., wanted to make the educational process simpler, more innovative and more effective. Study materials were hard to find and if they were available, no one wanted to search for an information in a 200 pages book. Questions in assignments consisted of various types of answers and it was too impractical to use paper for them. Old habits were simply out-of-date and there was a need of making things more attractive for young students.
Was there a solution?
Yes, there was and we made it become reality. Our solution was to create a platform where content managers (museum) can upload and manage study materials and teachers can create assignments for students that will be automatically notified by push notifications. They are also able to acquire the materials in the form of texts, videos, pictures and audio records. Everything is organized in the structure of themes, chapters and questions — just like a book. The result of this digitalization is the ability to study and do assignments without the need of pen or paper. It’s also more effective because every question contains the information where the student can find the answer — is it in the text or in the video?
How did we implement it?
Content managers use online web interface where they can transfer study materials from paper form to organized digital structure. There are also few forms used to create questions that can be used later in assignments by teachers. Questions are divided into 3 categories by difficulty so the teacher can configure an assignment while it’s being created.
Also, it’s very important for content managers to specify the correct answer so the application can correctly validate students’ answers.
How did we make it different?
We wanted to bring some creativeness into the process for students. That's why we created various types of answers such as single/multi choice, pairs, numbers, short/long text and also the special unvalidated type of answer where the student can write a long text validated later by the teacher. All other types are validated automatically by the application so there is no additional work required from the teacher's side. What’s more, teachers see the progress of their students and also the correctness of their answers.
Teachers can send a push notification or an email to notify students that e.g. they have only 2 days left to submit an assigment. Assignments have an ending date after which answering the questions is disabled and students can check the correctness of their answers. Teacher gets a report with questions and answers by an email so the automatic computer validation can be corrected by a human.
It was a good idea to bring a part of the educational system into everyone’s pocket. We made the school life of some of the students easier and more fun. The learning process is one they can identify with.