Designing NameMe app, I had to consider two major aspects of its functionality — building and managing the database and memory practice.
The initial set-up is likely to be the largest obstacle preventing teachers from signing-up, as the databased of students’ names and photos will be unique for each teacher and will therefore take some time to create and customise. Privacy concerns will be another issue, especially since many students are likely to be under 18 years of age, so teacher will need to acquire permission from their parents before using their photographs.
In an ideal case scenario, the database will be built and managed by the school or other educational institution, which can then share details of selected classes with the teachers who work with them. This will eliminate the need for each teacher to build their own database from scratch and reduce the number of times each student’s data is entered into the system.
In any case, the database management should be as simple as possible, so I propose the following two step system:
1. Create and manage your classes
This screen offers teachers an overview of all the classes they are teaching and allows to track their progress in memorising each group’s names.
2. Add and manage your students
Each class folder is populated with students. Here a teacher can add new students, take/upload photos for the existing name cards, see their progress with each pupil and enter the individual class practice mode.
Once enough student cards have been created, teacher can start their daily practice. The exercises in NameMe app are similar to those used by Memrise, Duolingo TinyCards and other memory training apps.
The process is divided into three stages:
The teacher starts their practice by browsing through a gallery of flashcards placed picture-side up. Tapping on a card flips it to reveal the name. The teacher then swipes the card right if they remembered the name correctly or left if it needs more practice.
NameMe algorithm is based on Leitner system of spaced repetition, meaning each time the name is remembered correctly, it moves one level up. Once the card reaches lever five, it’s marked as “memorised” and no longer appears during practice or in tests.
Once the teacher has familiarised themselves with the students in their class they can proceed to practice mode. The exercises may include typing the name of the student after seeing their photo, picking a name from a list of options or matching pictures with names. Each correct answer gives +1 point and each incorrect guess results in -1. Teachers can set their daily target, meaning they have to remember 10, 20, 30 or more students each day.
At any point in their practice, the teacher can choose to take a test which requires entering the student’s name next to their photograph. If the name is entered correctly, the flashcard is removed from the deck.