Storyboards of Potential Scenarios
Description of Whole System

Storyboards of Potential Scenarios

Following the lead of Cooper Interaction Design, I chose to create user profiles to keep my design process user-centered. I developed profiles for teachers with various levels of proficiency with technology and various levels of levels of initiative in the area of teacher professional development. These profiles, together with imagined scenarios for the use of a networked whiteboard system in a school provide the basis for my storyboards.

Sending and Receiving Messages
Mrs. Adams writes a message.
  • Uses web-like navigation which is familiar to many educators
  • Choices are visible to limit number of touches
  • Eraser located naturally near "chalktray"
She chooses to send her message to a person.
  • May touch a command with anything including marker
  • Send "person" greyed out as feedback for action
  • Dialog box appears near initial touch site to keep user from having to move
She chooses to send her message to a person.
  • System recognizes partial names by comparing to loaded directory list
  • Automatically sends message when name is recognized
Mrs. Adams knows that her message is sent because a date and time stamp appears.
  • Feedback appears
  • Message remains until erased
Margaret receives the message in the open space of her board.
  • Customization allows designation of how areas of board are used
  • Incoming messages look for open board space within designated areas
  • Incoming messages appear identical to sent message to maintain visual integrity
  • Incoming messages are time and date stamped
Margaret chooses to reply to Mrs. Adams' message.
  • Replies are written and then sent
  • Reply function is automated
Mrs. Adams receives Margaret's reply.
Margaret knows that her message has appeared on Mrs. Adams' board from the date and time stamp feedback.
Scanning and Sending Articles
Bryan acquires an article from the scanner.
  • Can modify location of toolbar and number of levels in view
  • Scanning capability matches software used
  • Can customize to modify scanning preferences at each use
He chooses to send the scanned article to S. Adams.
  • System directs user to matches for recipient name
The system recognizes S. Adams as one of three people and requests Bryan to select the intended name.
Bryan knows that the scanned item was sent with date and time stamp feedback.
He chooses to send this item to the printer.
  • May access printer in room or via local area network
  • "When all else fails standardize the actions, outcomes, layout, displays" (Norman, 1988)
  • Dialog box has most used functions on the left for ease of perception
Bryan selects to print the entire board.
  • Printing will appear landscape in dimension
  • Can change number of copies through natural mapping of up and down arrows or writing over number
  • Feedback comes in the form of a printed page
Arranging Multiple Messages
Mrs. Adams' board has gotten full throughout the afternoon.
  • Incoming messages will search for empty space
  • Finding none they will begin to layer upon transparent backgrounds to maintain visual perception in the periphery
She chooses to arrange her messages changing them into thumbnails in the order in which the messages were received.
  • Layered messages are hard to click and drag apart
  • Thumbnails maintain visual integrity helpful when visually scanning
She selects a message to read in the original size.
  • Could select multiple messages depending on space available on board
  • Messages enlarge to original size in whatever space is available
Saving Messages
Mrs. Adams chooses to send this message to her computer.
  • Dialog box offers various levels of file management but works well with all levels of proficiency
  • Buttons for higher functions are located on the left to not distract novices
She chooses to create a new folder for the message.
  • Selecting a button brings additional
  • Boxes layer within the same physical space
She names the new folder.
She also names the new file.
She knows that the message has saved via visual feedback of the file name and location.
  • Message returns to thumbnail due to customization
E-mailing Messages
Mrs. Adams decides to annotate the scanned article.
  • Annotations appear in handwriting
She sends an email of the scanned article to a friend.
  • System will employ customary email program from pc
  • System will send article with annotation as a result of the line connecting the two documents
  • E-mails can be sent to multiple people
  • Blind carbon copies would violate the public nature of the system
The email message is sent.
  • Messages are sent as attachments
  • Feedback appears as a saved sent message in the email system
Mrs. Adams chooses to erase her board by touching the eraser near the chalk tray.
  • System moves into "erase" mode
  • Mode is clearly visible by yellow outline and buttons
  • Undo erase is vital although not part of user's conceptual model
She decides to erase by selection.
  • Greyed out button makes "selection" mode visible
  • Selection mode mirrors behavior used with physical eraser
She selects one message to erase.
  • Erasing feedback is absence of message
She selects another message to erase.
She also chooses to erase her annotation on the scanned image.
  • Selection can mean any writing
Mrs. Adams has finished erasing and has turned off erase mode.
  • Touching eraser mirrors replacing eraser in chalktray and turns off "erase" mode
Arranging Board Space
Mrs. Adams decides to arrange some dividers on her board.
  • Dividers are typically basic horizontal or vertical lines
  • Customization can change the direction and look of dividers
She adds a vertical divider and drags it to the top right corner.
  • Selected line appears at half board size
  • Ends of line can be pulled to lengthen or shorten divider
  • Divider is positioned with a second tap
She chooses to add a second divider.
Mrs. Adams drags a horizontal divider to the vertical one.
Using the Internet and Saved Files
Coach Brown acquires the Internet on his board.
  • System automatically opens browser located on connected pc
  • Browser maintains identical functions and settings as on pc
He handwrites in the URL for the page he wishes to access.
  • Browser responds to touches rather than mouse clicks
  • Browser responds to handwriting rather than typing
Coach Brown titles his work for the team to use as reference.
  • The area outside the browser remains active
He chooses to acquire from his computer a file he had saved previously.
  • System will search for files based on information from user
Coach Brown handwrites the name of his saved file.
  • System will look for all files matching given name
The saved file appears on the board.
  • System finds one match and opens it
  • File opens into top layer of board
Engaging in Teacher Professional Development
Sulli is involved in a group project and chooses to engage teacher professional development with his teammates.
  • Can choose among returning to a saved activity, selecting an empty template, or creating a new template
  • System can recognize handwritten information as a shortcut past button selections
While in a meeting, the team decides to choose a pre-made template to assist them with project management.
  • Choosing a template brings up choices
  • Creating a template will add it to community for further use
The project management template appears.
  • Templates will differ depending on task at hand
Sulli records the teams data in the template.
  • Templates are meant to be used as interactive worksheets
The template generates a milestones continuum to assist with managing the project.
  • Handwriting recognition software is optional on system
  • For an interactive demo of current capabilities see Calligrapher
Sulli enters in each member's job and milestones.
  • Writing two dates in one row will cause system to generate an additional row
Based on the team's information, a project management space for this team appears on each team member's board.
  • Closing the template saves it under project title
  • System automatically sets up shared workspace on all team member boards
Each team member may adapt the project management space; Sulli chooses to view only his deadlines.
  • Team members have ultimate control of shared space on their board
  • Option exists to show all members' deadlines or just individuals
  • Modeling for students is powerful here

Description of Whole System

In the design of a system of networked whiteboards, each classroom, office, and teacher work area in a school would contain an electronic whiteboard. These whiteboards would be outfitted with an interface designed especially for use by teachers to facilitate communication, to encourage collaboration, and to scaffold teacher professional development activities situated in the classroom and school as a whole.

Multiple Uses
Besides the obvious venue for synchronous and asynchronous communications, the electronic whiteboards also have powerful secondary uses within the school. Electronic boards are already helping with necessary tasks such as idea generation and note taking during face to face group meetings of teachers or students. With the networked capabilities, other tasks like distribution of information can also be carried out by the whiteboard. Another wonderful secondary feature is the modeling which will occur throughout the school. Not only will teachers be able to model best practices for each other via the whiteboards, but they will also be engaged in modeling to benefit the students (Shulman, 1999). The students will see teachers constantly learning, working together and asking questions and the benefits of that are invaluable. According to one administrator, "I strongly urge teachers to tell their students what they do and what they learn in study groups. The day after a study group meets is a great learning opportunity for students. Teachers often say, 'Today, we are going to do something that I learned in my study group yesterday.' Students go home and tell their parents. Parents see the connection, and the idea of how students benefit when more time is allocated for teacher learning is no longer an abstract concept" (Murphy, 1997).

Integration with Existing Technologies
Although this system was not designed for a particular hardware system and is intended to interface with any whiteboard system capable of networking, the design does take many cues from the Tegrity System.

The basics of the Tegrity setup allows any whiteboard to become electronic by employing a personal computer, projector, and camera. This system would tap into the available local area network resources already existing at many schools as a result of federal and state funding initiatives regarding connectivity of public schools. As they use these resources, the whiteboards will increase in functionality with added capabilities such as shared file systems, Internet access, or dial in access from off site. This design is not meant to replace any current technologies being used in a school, such as email, but rather will offer different functionality. For example, a teacher can take advantage of the whiteboard system to request a meeting with a school counselor, but would want to communicate details of her concerns regarding a specific student through a confidential email.

User Centered Design
One of the key elements of this design is that it is extremely user-centered. I drew on my own experiences as a teacher and an observer of teachers and added a healthy dose of user studies to insure that a teacher's mental model would match the conceptual model behind the system (Norman, 1988). Since teachers' use of chalkboards is second nature when communicating with students, it seemed only natural to employ a similar model when asking them to communicate with peers. In this way the whiteboard design takes advantage of the natural modes of communication already taking place in the school. Keeping the teacher-users in mind, I designed this system in an open manner to allow customization for any level of technological proficiency. For example, a novice can use the default settings for complete and easy use whereas an expert can choose to modify their board, install additional input devices, or add more complex applications. Also, to help any technophobes in their adoption of this tool, I have avoided both layout and jargon which are strongly tied to computing in favor of more descriptive and less loaded terminology. Finally, in keeping with the needs of the users, I chose to avoid too much control for any system administrators. If the teachers view this system as a tool for tracking their communications they will not feel comfortable in using it, therefore, an administrator is only needed to enter user names into the internal clock and calendar.

Changes in Behavior
As a designer I become a technological determinist as I intend to employ technology to make teachers modify, however slightly, their "way of doing business" in the classroom (Winner 1980). While I am designing with the idea of what is best for students in my head, I have chosen to focus on the behaviors of teachers and have deliberately designated them as my users rather than administrators. This current design tries to change the culture of traditional schools to make teacher collaboration, integrated professional development, and use of technology commonplace throughout the school. On the classroom level the networked whiteboard system hopes to shatter norms of self-reliance and shame in asking questions by taking advantage of a public venue. The electronic network of whiteboards allows teachers a voice outside of their classroom in ways like never before. This system not only provides space for virtual meetings, but also provides valuable technical support for face to face meetings. As teachers use their whiteboards to work with each other they will be creating a large body of collective knowledge in a school that was once filled with isolated individuals (Roschelle, 1995). In research on the social organization of teaching, Susan Rosenholtz (1991) found that "when collaborative norms undergird achievement-oriented groups, they bring new ideas, fresh ways of looking as things, and a stock of collective knowledge that is more fruitful than any one person's working alone." Furthermore, Rosenholtz (1991) found that "it is assumed that improvement in teaching is a collective rather than individual enterprise, and that analysis, evaluation, and experimentation in concert with colleagues are conditions under which teachers improve instructionally." In line with these ideas, the whiteboard system creates a community among the teachers. As a result, teachers will take on various roles with differing levels of participation in the community of practice within their school (Lave & Wenger, 1989). They can choose to receive scaffolding to assist them in their continued professional development and can elect to provide scaffolding for one another through the use of teacher professional development templates (Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989). The templates may include, but are not limited to, book groups, goal setting, group development activities, portfolio creation, inquiry or active research, pre and post workshop activities, project management, peer review, team planning, and the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards certification process.

Computing Where Teachers Work
This product strives to follow the principal of ubiquitous computing (Weiser, 1996). The design of a system based on whiteboards is based on the most natural and fitting classroom tool, the blackboard. As far as the users know, they are simply interacting with a blackboard with some terrific added functionality. Additionally, the whiteboards can easily be situated in all classrooms as well as in areas of teacher work such as offices and lounges throughout the schools.

Operating in the Periphery
The use of whiteboards draws very much on the idea of calm technology. Teachers constantly negotiate between the center and periphery of their attention. For example, a teacher may be helping one student at his desk but still notice another student's frustration. This teacher can switch her focus between the two students to best communicate with both in practically a simultaneous way. Calm technology works within this typical teacher paradigm. My current design takes advantage of the encalming effects of allowing users to attune to more things than if everything had to be at the center and of allowing users to recenter something from periphery to center in order to take control of it. By designing a calm technology, I have placed the user in control of the environment rather than vice versa. Furthermore, I agree with Weiser and Brown (1995) regarding human empowerment and feel very strongly that teaching is about social interactions. The design of calm technology is a fantastic step toward integrating technology into education without losing that vital human touch (Weiser & Brown, 1995).

School Funding
Because this particular technological design has multiple functions, schools should have greater success as they look for funding to purchase the system. A school can easily use student or teacher technology monies, teacher professional development monies, or even specific program monies. For example, special education monies could be used since the networked whiteboard system is an easy way to let special education teachers know what is happening daily in mainstreamed classrooms.


Brown, J.S., Collins, A. & Duguid, P. (1989). Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher 18(1):32-42.

Lave, J. & Wenger, E. (1989) "Situated Learning: Legitimate peripheral participation" (Report No. IRL-89-0013). Palo Alto, CA: Institute for Research on Learning.

Murphy, C. (1997) "Finding Time for Faculties to Study Together." Journal of Staff Development. NSDC. [Online] Available:

Norman, D. (1988). The Design of Everyday Things. New York: Doubleday.

Roschelle, J. (1995). What Should Collaborative Technology Be? A Perspective From Dewey and Situated Learning. CSCL. [Online]. Available:

Rosenholtz, S. (1991) Teachers' Workplace: The Social Organization of Schools. Teachers College Press.

Shulman, L. (1999). The Scholarship of Teaching for Meaningful Learning. Keynote Address. Center for Innovative Learning Technologies (CILT) Conference. San Jose, CA.
Weiser, M. & Brown, J.S. (1995). Designing Calm Technology. Xerox PARC. [Online]. Available:

Weiser, M. (1996). Ubiquitous Computing. [Online].

Winner, Langdon. (1980). Do Artifacts Have Politics? Daedalus. Winter 1980. American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Enthusiasm for classroom experimentation gathers momentum and direction cumulatively, like a train rushing downhill without obstacle (Rosenholtz 1991).

Design of a Real Time Network for Teacher Collaboration, Courtney S. Glazer, May 1999