Review: Teacher Tapp

Teacher Tapp (TT) is a survey app for teachers. Every day at 3.30pm (UK time) teachers are asked three multiple-choice questions related to their professional life, practice, wellbeing, etc. Once answered, users can then see the results from the previous day’s questions. Users are also given a link to a useful site/blog for CPD. Occasionally the app also provides links to edu-related special offers as a reward for answering questions.

App users are usually educators, and TT questions are often commissioned by businesses, organizations, researchers, etc, in order to gain insights from those at the chalkface. The TT site says…

‘Whether you’re a business seeking insight into the products and services that teachers want and need, a researcher looking to recruit teachers or a policy specialist who needs to boost your advocacy position with teacher opinions, the Teacher Tapp app is for you.’

Benefits of using the app

The questions on the app are sometimes related to ‘hot topics’ in education. These have been interesting to follow during the pandemic, as there have been Qs about a recovery curriculum, preparing schools for a return to f2f teaching, etc.

If you are an early-career teacher, questions might occasionally include unfamiliar terms. This is a bit of incidental CPD – you can research the terms at your leisure. This has been useful for me as a new teacher at an international school.

Quite a few questions relate to wellbeing (it feels like that, I can’t say that with statistical evidence). An article in The Guardian promoting TT hints that the app has the potential to reveal much about the workload and working patterns of teachers, possibly with a view to improving retention. There are close to 9000 respondents for most questions which seems a fair amount, although I don’t know about the breakdown of respondents (location, role, etc).

The links to CPD are a nice touch – I’ve come across a few articles that I wouldn’t have read (topic-wise) had they not been suggested. I’ve bookmarked some great stuff, this article on Socratic Seminars being one.

They’ve recently tried to personalize tips depending on the users subjects/ages/levels taught etc. I haven’t seen that work in practice yet.

TT have built a community around the app on Twitter. The daily questions are sometimes a springboard for discussion.

The app is quick and easy, informative, and addictive in the early days. It’s been a tad glitchy of late but overall it’s been designed well and results are easy to share on social media or with colleagues. There are a lot of pros.

Drawbacks

I guess it’s really just an app version of those ‘answer these questions and you will go in our free prize draw’ clipboard people on high streets (clipboard?! Sure they use iPads these days!). Very similar actually, as I never won those prize draws, and I never get rewards from Teacher Tapp. There’s the odd person on Twitter who mentions a free John Catt voucher but I honestly don’t know if that’s common. I wouldn’t get the app thinking you’re in for a load of freebies.

*Update 23 July 2020* There has been a John Catt Publishing reward scheme in place for TT users. Any user answering 100 questions should get a reward voucher from the publisher. Having answered over 200 questions yet receiving no reward, I’d say take these promotions with a pinch of salt.

TT has a strong Twitter presence, but very limited presence on sites for industry professionals such as LinkedIn. I can’t say how this might shape their results but it might be worth considering.

I’ve seen a couple of companies/organisations on Twitter announce ‘We commissioned TT to find out XYZ…’ – so it is clearly seen as a reliable data source. However, the ease of signing up to the app and limited info required to do so must make it hard to ensure respondents are actually educators.

There are other factors limiting validity of responses. Sometimes you get a sense that certain questions have been commissioned, which can shape your response. Plus, although you only answer three questions a day you might still suffer questionnaire fatigue. The app has been sorta gamified with badges for long answer streaks. In theory that might keep you motivated. However, this has the same effect as on Duolingo for me! Sometimes I go through the motions just to keep my streak going and I’m not too focused on what I answer.

This is certainly true when I encounter recurring questions related to wellbeing. The app regularly asks you to rate your anxiety level from 1-10, to which I respond ‘not this #%!?@ question again’. It just makes me want to rush through to yesterday’s results. Well annoying.

The creators have said that there will be international/regional versions of the app created. As things stand, the app is geared more towards UK users.

Overall

This is quite a good app. Think of it as a load of mildly interesting Twitter polls and results you can see every day.

I’m glad someone recommended Teacher Tapp as I’ve accessed some useful CPD through the app. After answering about 250 questions though I think the novelty has worn off a bit.

Rating: 3.8/5.

Feature image from Teacher Tapp site.

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