Copyright © 2018 Andrés Eduardo Hurtado.  All Rights Reserved.

 

MY ROLE

UX, UI, Design Research, Interaction Design

MY APPROACH

As part of my senior thesis project, I created an educational online and offline cross-platform for teachers who work with indigenous communities in Mexico, providing access to cultural and linguistic resources while building a teacher-to-teacher knowledge hub.  I went through a meticulous discovery phase of the problem, two rigorous research and iteration phases that at the end helped me prototype and user-test with teachers on the field.

PROJECT RUNDOWN

Being someone who comes from Mexico and has a privileged social status with accessibility to quality education due to my ethnic background as mestizo (a person of half Spanish and half Indigenous decent), I wanted to use my privilege and my skills as an interaction designer to help students in Mexican indigenous communities achieve success. 

 

In a world where designers focus on designing solely for iOS interfaces, I took on the challenge of designing for a cross-platform Android interface in order to address the issue of accessibility in developing communities.

TOOLS

Sketch, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop & Premiere, InVision, Keynote.

LENGTH

9 months

 

A massive problem.

Out of the 15.7 million indigenous people living in Mexico, 80% of them live under poverty or extreme poverty.

Indigenous people are the most marginalized, underrepresented, and under-resourced group in Mexico.

The Mexican education system serving indigenous communities is

broken.

Out of the 2 million indigenous kids who start with primary education, only 4,252 graduate from high school.

What has been attempted?

The Mexican Secretary of Public Education created the National Teacher Professional Service.  An online platform aimed at standardizing evaluation methods to assess the skills and abilities of those who aspire to become public teachers and to improve the methods to evaluate teacher performance.

How might we help educate the educator?

Introducing

(Translating to “I Teach”, in the indigenous Raramuri language)

An educational online and offline cross-platform for teachers who work with indigenous communities, providing access to cultural and linguistic resources while building a teacher-to-teacher knowledge hub.

My Process

I covered every aspect of the design process, from research to ideation to prototyping. I used IDEO’s design thinking methodology as a basis for my process.

As seniors we were given liberty to focus our thesis on whatever topic we wanted.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to tackle and contribute to bettering an issue of my home country, Mexico. 

 

It was challenging at first to wrap my head around the large, yet opportunity-rich problems I was passionate about. In order to identify a topic area of interest with an opportunity for change that I could realistically approach through interaction design, I conducted many individual and team ideation exercises; such as affinity and 4x4 mapping, force field analysis and journey mapping.

I also conducted Secondary Research at the beginning of the project to give me a background on the topic and provide context before the primary research I’d do later on.

Who I talked to • Primary Research 

Misha Abbas

Winner of 2017 CCA Impact Awards - Worked with Textile communities at Karachi, Pakistan

Martha Garza

Director at Centro de Acopio para la Tarahumara, A.C.

José Brunner

Border Phenomena, Diversity Studies Lecturer at CCA

Mariel Ramírez

Operational Director at Tarahumara Foundation Jose A. Llaguno

Kimberly Shuck

Indigeneities, Diversity Studies Lecturer at CCA

I spoke to six individuals who had experience with and/or knowledge on indigenous peoples and the difficulties they face. 

 

From my interviews I met Mariel, the director of Fundación Tarahumara José A. Llaguno.  This NGO became a key partner in helping me conduct primary research with my users later on in my project by acting as the bridge between an indigenous community and I.

What I learned • Insights 

1. There is value in a singular community.

There is value on focusing within a specific demographic and group of people given that each community is unique and diverse.  There is an opportunity to focus on a specific Indigenous community, which will bring value specific to the them.

2. Giving back to own community.

There is an opportunity for Indigenous Tarahumara youth to give back to their community through giving them access to education, increasing the chances of them making a lasting change in their own community.

4. Offline technology access.

Inaccessibility to the internet hinders educational teaching and learning potential.  Therefore, there is an opportunity to improve teaching and learning practices through offline technology access.

3. Specific learning tools for a specific community.

Inaccessibility to proper learning tools from an early age specific to the Tarahumara communities leads to high Illiteracy rates, therefore there is an opportunity to improve teaching and learning practices unique to the community through access to internet educational platforms.

5. Privilege as a tool for change.

Identifying the root causes vs symptoms of the problem, identifying one’s privilege, and working directly with communities rather than speaking for them leads to an opportunity for dialogue in order to  bring empathy, using the NGO as a bridge to connect with the community, which will help measure impact

Opportunities

Value Proposition

Developing a system that improves teaching and/or learning opportunities will help Indigenous teenagers who want to want to pursue higher education and give back to their communities by providing access to offline technology platforms that are unique to the indigenous Tarahumara needs.

In order to generate ideas on the insights and opportunities I identified, I storyboarded, system mapped, created molecules (people, problem, solution) and visually represented the opportunity spaces.

Meeting my user

Over winter break I traveled to Mexico with the purpose of meeting with my NGO partner and conducting ethnographic research at schools. Through the brainstorming session I facilitated with my NGO partner and the ethnographic research conducted, I gained deeper insights on my users, the problem space, and potential solutions.

I chose Optimizing Teaching because...

A student’s education cycle is dependent on the teacher. A teacher’s teaching methodology is key for the optimization of learning and rooting the impulse for contributing to one’s community.

SPRINT 5

 Final Design Presentation

Narrowing down the problem

As I moved from ideation to prototyping, I struggled in simplifying the problem space in optimizing teaching and how I could ethically, yet effectively intervene.

To help me solve this, I created a matrix of all the opportunity problems, my hypotheses, my proposed solutions, and how success would be measured. I was able to identify and develop three main features that would go on to the first iteration of prototyping and user-testing.

I would build a platform...

for teachers, accessible online & offline. It would act as a tool for them to optimize their teaching.

 

This tool is meant to be part of a teacher’s existing ecosystem of tools for knowledge exchange.

Key Insights I took into consideration:

Offline technology access

Inaccessibility to the internet hinders educational teaching and learning potential.  Therefore, there is an opportunity to improve teaching and learning practices through offline technology access.

Specific learning and teaching tools for a specific community

Inaccessibility to proper learning tools from an early age specific to the Tarahumara communities leads to high Illiteracy rates, therefore there is an opportunity to improve teaching and learning practices unique to the community through access to internet educational platforms.

Prototyping • 1st iteration 

1. Mobile app platform

Resources

Understand, connect and empathize with the culture, practices, and background that is unique to the specific indigenous community they’re working with

Personal Practices

Reflect and keep track of what they see is working and what isn’t working in their teaching practices to the class or a specific student

Collaboration

Adjust and make changes to the classroom environment based on their reflections made,  making it more engaging for the indigenous students’ learning methods and needs specific to them

Overview of four design sprints done during internship. Present final IC-Right design to design team and VP of Design.

2. Website/desktop platform

3. Platform teacher content

Nejé Béneri’s collaboration feature is dependent on the upload of teacher-created content. Given the lack of teacher-created content at the initial launch of the platform, I created teaching didactic exercises that would serve as initial content. These exercises aided in identifying and creating positive teaching habits in the classroom. The forms where emailed and remotely tested. Results and feedback were collected while in my trip to Mexico.

User testing

Over spring break I traveled back to Mexico to conduct A/B user testing with the teachers I had met during my past ethnographic research trip. I tested a mobile and desktop prototype using InVision, while also collecting the data from the remote user tested platform content.

 

During user testing I presented four scenarios and use cases, which gave insight on the usefulness and the ease of use of the features I had built for the teacher platform.

A/B Testing InVision

Mobile app

Desktop/website

Remote user testing

Platform content

Use Cases

• Translate the word "hello" from Spanish to rarámuri on the mobile app, then do the same on the computer

• Find the list of socio-cultural resources that help you understand students’ behavior more.

• Search on Teachers’ Hub "Increasing students performance".

• Create a new exercise called "Raramuri Tutor", and share it with the teacher community.

Insights from testing

• Teachers want to have access to teaching strategies from teachers in other localities.

• Some teachers struggle to engage students when unfamiliar with the students’ culture.

• Some teachers struggle to verbalize lessons when unfamiliar with students’ language.

Prototyping • 2nd iteration 

Validated

Why?

Resources feature gives teachers access to a library of existing cultural and linguistic resources specific to the indigenous region they teach - resources such a language translator, articles, events, and subject matter experts. Currently, there is no central hub for readily available resources on specific indigenous groups.

I do sometimes wish I could speak Raramuri (Tarahumaras’ language). It’s sometimes challenging to explain a part of a lesson to them when there is no translation for some words from Spanish to Raramuri.

- Brenda, Math Teacher

Resources

Helps understand, connect and empathize with the culture, practices, and background that is unique to the specific indigenous community they’re working with

Validated

We have teacher meetings where we share what works and what does not work for us. However, it would be extremely beneficial for us to see what other teachers from other schools and localities are doing. We currently have no way of knowing that.

- José, History Teacher

Why?

Collaboration feature allows for the an exchange of teaching strategies among teachers of various localities. Teachers learn new teaching strategies among each other through collective sharing, rather than presenting definitive strategies within the app that might or might not work for all teachers.

Collaboration

Helps adjust and make changes to the classroom environment based on their reflections made,  making it more engaging for the students' learning methods and needs specific to them

Vetoed

Why?

Personal Practices’ feature of tracking teaching-habits only aided 2/6 teachers in altering their teaching methods. It failed at altering the teaching strategies of most teachers. The feature was focused on a specific solution that would only appeal to the needs of the few.

Personal Practices

Helps reflect and keep track of what teachers see is working and what isn’t working in their teaching practices to the class or a specific student

Final Design InVision

Resources

Provides teachers with existing digital resources on culture and language available online & offline.

Teachers’ Hub

Creates a community of teachers to share and upload their own teaching tools and didactics while also being able to search what other teachers have shared.