Find the nerdy details you are pondering about the app here. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any to add.
Why should I sign up? What’s in it for users?
There are 4 benefits for Teacher Tappers:
- Get your voice heard: teacher opinions are too often unknown and therefore easily ignored
- Stay up-to-date: questions reflect current news and trends so it’s a quick way to stay on top of the latest education ideas
- Discuss questions with colleagues: they are great CPD starters
- Minimal time & effort: it takes 10 seconds a day and makes you (and schools) smarter
Why did you build Teacher Tapp?
We want to change the face of education research by learning key things about teachers that so far no one knows, and use that information to make policymakers, school leaders and teacher trainers smarter and wiser in their work.
I love the idea – how can I participate in even more Teacher Tapp stuff?
This is great news! If you love Teacher Tapp please do:
- Read and share our weekly blogs detailing the lessons learned
- Tweet your love of Teacher Tapp. Or put it on Facebook!
- Get all of your colleagues to sign up
- Share the questions in staffrooms and over lunch
- Running an NQT session? Make trainees download Teacher Tapp and use the questions as a starter each week
Over the first few months of beta-testing we also plan to seek out the most engaged users to become Teacher Tapp Teamsters, a special status that gives access to behind-the-scenes look at our business and greater opportunity to influence the app’s development.
How do I use Teacher Tapp?
After downloading the app, put it on your homepage and click to allow notifications. Each day, at around 3.30pm, you will be notified there are new questions to answer. Open the app and start tapping.
I am not getting my daily notification of questions. What should I do?
Check your settings for notifications and ensure they are switched on for the Teacher Tapp app. You should receive a notification each day at around 3.30pm telling you the questions are updated.
There seems to be a technical fault on the app
During the beta-testing the app may occasionally freeze. If this happens please hard close the app and restart it. This normally sorts any problems.
Who counts as a ‘teacher’?
Anyone can sign up to Teacher Tapp but the questions are focused on school issues, so you won’t be able to answer lots of them honestly if you do not teach in a school for 5-18 year olds. Also, while teachers in FE colleges, early years, overseas, etc, can join the app, their data will be stripped out of the results. As Teacher Tapp gets smarter, we may add in ways for these groups to take part.
Who owns the information gathered in the app?
All information is held by Teacher Tapp, which is owned by Education Intelligence Limited – a company created by Becky and Laura. As the owners we have to be responsible for making sure it is looked after. We promise never to sell your personal data.
Is my information private?
Our systems are designed to encrypt and separate identifying information from answers to questions. We will never release school-level data, nor your personal data. For the past decade Becky has worked on some of the most sensitive databases in the country (including the National Pupil Database), so is well-versed in the issues surrounding safe use of large datasets.
How do you make money?
At present we are in a beta-stage and this is all being done as an experiment without money changing hands. The app was designed using a research grant from The Gatsby Foundation and Nesta. If the experiment is a success then we will, of course, have to think about how to make the model sustainable so that we can pay people to manage the app, the questions and the data. Whatever happens, we will never sell to any third party your personal data, contact details, school-level data, or data that gives away your identity.
How will you limit ‘poll trolling’? (i.e. a campaign group signing up lots of fake accounts to skew the figures)
Each phone can only have one log-in so this puts a barrier up straight away. An organisation would need to have a lot of spare phones on the go to make it work! We are also able to look at the sign-up information and the answers to questions, and decide whether or not to keep data within an analysis.
We are aware this may not be enough of a safeguard. In future we may need to add a confirmation link at sign-up. This is one of the things we want to beta-test in the coming months.
How many users do you need before you can make conclusions about people’s opinions?
There is no straightforward answer to this question. It depends on what we are asking and what we are seeking to find out. If I ask 1000 random teachers their opinion on a policy, then as long as that is all we are trying to find out, we will have a answer that is highly likely to reflect the views of the profession. It won’t be a very accurate answer if we only ask 1000 primary teachers, or 1000 male teachers, so we will be checking behind the scenes to see how representative our tappsters are of the overall workforce.
In the future we plan to apply post-stratification weights to analysis to make sure the panel is representative of the teaching population, at least in terms of the characteristics we can easily measure (i.e. school region, type and pupil demographics; teacher age, gender and seniority).
Why do you want to know what school I work in?
Knowing you school helps us in two ways. First, it means we don’t need to ask you lots of questions about the type of school you work in. We can look up your school’s location, institutional type, governance, performance and inspection rating in administrative data. Second, it helps us to see whether the teachers who are joining Teacher Tapp are representative of teachers across the country. We realise that this information is highly sensitive – your school name is never held in our database alongside any of your responses and we won’t name schools or pass your personal information back to your employer. You can read more about this here.
Where do you get all your questions from?
Before we launched Teacher Tapp we compiled over 500 questions from a number of sources:
- We had some questions that we had asked teachers in past research studies
- We took lots of standard questions on personal background, attitudes and well-being from the major UK social surveys
- We asked researchers of teacher careers around the world whether we could have the surveys they had used.
But we also want our panel to be asked questions that are topical or even just-for-fun. So each week we just make up a few extra questions based on what politicians have been saying and what things teachers are talking about on twitter. If you have a question you think teachers would enjoy answering then leave it here.
Why can’t you make the data freely available for us all to play with?
Making social survey datasets publicly available isn’t always straightforward. It isn’t enough to simply remove the personal contact details and school names and publish the whole lot because people would still be uniquely identifiable. For example, it might be possible to see that there is only one black male teacher in the South West region in the study. Now suppose a headteacher in the South West region sees that one of their (black male) teachers is using Teacher Tapp. The headteacher can then look up how that teachers feels about their school and their daily life.
The standard ‘fix’ for this problem (which DfE uses for pupil data, incidentally) is to ensure that no combination of responses is identifying to less than 5 individuals. However, this doesn’t work for on-going longitudinal studies because we never know what questions we might ask in the future that could lead to people being retrospectively identified in past data. For example, now suppose there are 10 black male teachers in the South West region, so we release data that reveals what these teachers think. Later, we decide to find out their ages and learn that only one is under 25 years old. Suddenly, having this new piece of information has revealed a teacher in the public data.
Those of us at Teacher Tapp have a wealth of experience in dealing with these data privacy issues and solutions, but as a tiny organisation it is going to be hard for us to work towards facilitating its wider use. Instead we will look at two options. First, organising hackathon days where people get a chance to play in the data in a secure environment where they can’t walk away with anything. Second, working with individual teachers who would like to use the data for a masters dissertation or other research to create bespoke datasets they can use. If this sounds like you then do get in touch.