The Department of Education’s (DoE) digital landscape has grown over 20 years and is now fragmented into silos, with lack of connection or visual coherence. As there are a number of stakeholders in the school community our team concentrated on teachers. As our brief was very vague we needed to find what problems teachers had within their everyday lives at school and how a digital platform could aid in improving this.


We created a challenge statement to guide us in our approach. Interviews with teachers from different regions, school levels and a remote indigenous school, as well as casual and full-time employed, would be undertaken to determine pain points and delights with teaching, digital platforms and the school community. Through this we would employ different techniques to apply our research findings to create a digital platform prototype.


To create a digital platform where teachers could communicate to parents on a regular basis regarding what their child was learning in class, any behavioural or learning difficulties they were having and what homework needed to be completed for the next lesson. The platform acted as a way to break down the barriers between teachers and parents, improving communication through direct messaging (not having to wait once a year for parent teacher interviews), and ultimately empowering student learning.



Methods used: Abstract Laddering, Hypothesis & Challenge Statement, Territory Mapping, Stakeholder Mapping

As our initial briefing was not in-depth we created a challenge statement /“How Might We” statement that we would need to validate throughout our project and which would set the direction of our research: “How might we create a low training, low tech, high impact platform to give teachers a way to celebrate student success”. We also undertook a number of activities such as abstract laddering to understand the exact nature of the business and their aspirations for the project.

Original Challenge Statement & Its Evolution

Over the course of the project we found that our initial challenge/how might we (HMW) statement did not sit correctly with our research. In this light we revisited the statement several times to address our findings.


As the ‘Teachers’ were our main focus we create a few hypotheses to also follow along the way.

  • Teachers value student success
  • Teachers would like to publicly celebrate student success
  • Students would be open to being celebrated
  • Teachers would be willing to use a web service to do so
  • Teachers would find time to use the platform

Territory Mapping

A territory map was initially created to set out the immediate and wider school community, who were involved in that community and what places and factors would have influence.


Stakeholder Mapping

A stakeholder map was created to define all the parties that would be involved within the immediate and wider school environment and their interaction between each other. After research was conducted this stakeholder map was later refined to only include principal, teacher, student and parent. These were the main players – specifically the latter three.



Methods Used: Affinity Mapping/Observations,Themes & Insights, Behavioural Profile, Personas, Journey Mapping

After interview a number of teachers including casual and full-time, suburban and regional, and a teacher at a remote indigenous school, we created an affinity map from our observations, grouping them into themes.

  • Perceptions and Motivations
  • Empowering Students
  • Parental Interaction
  • Community Impact
  • Job Enablers
  • Job Barriers

Insights & Opportunities (How Might We Statements)
From our themes and observations we were able to create insights and then opportunities on how we might address the pain points we had observed.
Due to the size, depth and time constraints of the project we choose two insights and opportunities to focus on.

  • Teachers put in a lot of thought and effort to make school life and learning a great experience. However, they aren’t acknowledged for this.  How might we help teachers to be recognised and acknowledged for their efforts and their successes?
  • Teachers don’t have much interaction with parents because parents don’t seem interested. But, they often make an effort to break down barriers. How might we break down the barriers between parents and teachers to allow more collaboration?

Behavioural Profiling

We chose one of our insights to base our profiling on:

Teachers want to build independence in children as it builds confidence. However, the school system doesn’t use self-esteem as a measure of success, it uses marks.

Our identified desired behaviour change: We believe that changing the behaviour of pro-authority teachers FROM measuring student marks TO measuring student confidence is an worthy opportunity.”


We created two different personas for teachers after undertaking behavioural profiling. These included casual, fulltime,  remote indigenous school and city school, primary and high school.


Drawing from our insights, we found a key point of tension for teachers in the process was the disconnect between what was happening in the classroom and parental contact.

Journey Mapping

Visual coming soon…


Methods Used: Guiding Principles, Idea Cards, Concept Poster, Storyboarding

From our personas, observations, insights and opportunities we created three guiding principles to which we would adhere to when ideating our solution. These were:

Idea Cards, Crazy 8’s & Concept Poster

From here we created a pitch to“Create a no think interface for teachers to communicate with parents directly”. As a team we experimented coming up with ideas using Crazy 8’s and Idea Cards. We used a concept poster to represent the key points of our combined ideas, highlighting the key points that we needed to consider.


Methods Used: Prototyping

We iterated a number of times adding different components and screens. We created a parent side screen to match the teacher side screens so that we could see how they would translate with one another.


Methods Used: Role Playing, Card Sorting/Moscow, Usability Testing

After creating the initial prototype we role played a scenario where a teacher would use the platform to message the parent about her son’s poor performance in class (ie. tiredness and bad marks). The parent was then able to see and comment on the feedback directly and use the information to address any problem’s and improve her son’s performance in school.

After the role play we discussed how it was useful in helping us not only see how the interactivity we had chosen would work in the real world, but also if the components we had chosen would function correctly.

Card Sorting/MoSCOW

To validate the components of our platform we created a card sort of Must Haves, Nice to Haves and Don’t Need To Have. From here a teacher and a parent sorted these cards into what they thought was beneficial and not so beneficial.

Usability Testing

We then tested this with a teacher and a parent to see if they found it easy and a useful tool.


Final Concept

Our final prototype was created with a number of screens. The teachers would be able to input information into the teachers screens as well as information pulled from other databases. Parents would not be able to alter text only chat with the teacher.


Class Screen

  • Images of students for role call with check boxes, message icons (if messages from parents) & alerts (if children had allergies, etc).
  • Brief description of today’s lesson
    Homework that needed to be completed
  • Suggestions for extra study

Notes & permissions

  • Individual Student Screen (accessed via Role Call)
  • Child’s Image & alerts
  • Chart of marks & progress to see ups and downs
    Extra curricular activities undertaken by student
  • Notes about student
  • Chat with parent box


Child Screen

  • Child’s Image & alerts
  • Chart of marks & progress to see ups and downs
  • Today’s lesson
  • Homework
  • Suggested extra study
  • School updates
  • Chat with parent box

Teacher Profile Screen

  • Teacher Image
  • Employment status (e.g. Casual)
  • Teacher Overview
  • Teacher Interests
  • Why the teacher loves to teach
  • Training and qualifications
  • Experience/history
  • ROLE Service Designer. Part of a 3 person Service Design consultant team. Team’s focus was on Teachers, particularly at the primary school level..
  • DURATION 10 days over a 10 week period
  • METHODS Abstract Laddering, Challenge Statement & Hypothesis, Territory Mapping, Stakeholder Mapping,Interview Screeners, User Interviews, Discussion Guide, Journey Mapping, Behavioural Profiling, Personas, Affinity Mapping, Themes/Insights/Opportunities, HMW Statements, Idea Cards, Storyboarding, Guiding Principles, Crazy 8’s, Sketching, Prototyping, Role Playing, MoSCoW, Card Sorting, Usability Testing
  • CLIENT NSW Department of Education through Academy Xi