Teacher Tapp asks thousands of teachers three single or multiple-response questions each day. We never ask any other sorts of questions – they are invariably terrible to answer on a mobile phone! In addition to these three questions, it is possible to invite a sample of respondents to answer an additional batch of questions. We’ve never asked more than 12 questions in this additional batch (we wouldn’t want to bore our users).
- Teacher Tapp
- Who's the Teacher Tapp app for?
- Teacher Tapp welcomes school teachers from all across the world. It was originally designed, and still works best, for teachers who work in a school in England, whether state or private. However, any teacher can download the app, but it may be less relevant to non-teaching staff, those in early years settings, further education or schools outside of England.
- Why is Teacher Tapp such a great source of CPD for Teachers?
- Our founders started their careers as teachers, and understand how busy the school day is and how difficult it is to find the time for professional development. Teacher Tapp lets you complete a daily bullet of CPD, in less than a minute, and learn something along the way. For those with a few more minutes to spare, a blog or article is shared each day with helpful insights that can enhance teaching practice. Read, reflect and make changes! Teacher Tapp surveys are delivered at the same time each day, making CPD part of your daily routine. The daily polls are also a great trigger for professional discussions in the staffroom — an invaluable opportunity to learn from and with colleagues.
- What happens to my responses?
- Who can ask questions in the Teacher Tapp survey?
- We have some ground rules, but most businesses, organisations, researchers or policymakers will be eligible to submit a question. With our help, you can gain fast insight into the products and services that teachers want and need, boost your advocacy position or scope a new research project. Teacher Tapp gives valuable answers to your questions within a few hours. Find out more about how to submit a question here.
- What is Teacher Tapp?
- It’s a daily survey app where thousands of teachers answer daily questions so their collective opinions can be heard and used to inform school leaders, media, policy makers and organisations creating products for schools. Over 7,000 teachers in the UK take part each day because they love answering questions and seeing the results!
- 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. It’s that simple!
- I am not getting my daily notification of questions. What should I do?
- If you are having problems with notifications, please click here to check your notification settings are as they need to be.
- There seems to be a technical fault on the app...
- The app may occasionally freeze. If this happens please close the app entirely and restart the app after that. This normally sorts any problems (including the screen showing ‘no results’). If you continue to struggle to open the app, or if you experience any other difficulties, please email us at email@example.com.
- What is a lifeline? And why didn't mine work?
- Life gets busy sometimes and it happens where you have missed a day! On these occasions ‘Lifelines’ can be used to save your streak. You will be prompted to use your lifeline when accessing your app the following day. Please note that should you miss two consecutive days in a row then the lifeline is not available. Once a lifeline is used it will take 10 days to renew itself .If you have used a lifeline to save your streak but cannot see your streak immediately please do not worry! It can take a little time for the information to filter through. If you used your lifeline after 3.30pm on a particular day then your streak will reappear the following day by 3.30pm.
- I forgot to read yesterday's tip! Can I access it in the app?
- Sadly, no. The app only holds 24 hours worth of data. BUT each Tuesday we do a Teacher Tapp blog that goes out in the daily tip, and that has links to last week’s tips in it. These blogs are available on our website. You can dig around to find the tip you wanted.
- 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:
- 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 analysis. As Teacher Tapp gets smarter, we want to add in ways for these groups to take part – we’ll keep you updated!
- 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 Alex, Becky and Laura. As Directors of the company we have to be responsible for making sure it is looked after. Crucially, we promise not to sell your personal data. Read more about this in our Terms and Conditions.
- Will I know if an organisation has commissioned Teacher Tapp to ask a specific question?
- No. Firstly, if we said in advance who commissioned the topic of a question it could introduce bias to the results. But, secondly, and more importantly, we are in control of the questions that come onto the main app and we only ask questions that we feel are fair, which are genuinely seeking to find an answer (not a pre-defined answer), and that meet our editorial beliefs around the usefulness of questions. We do not engage in push polling.
- Do you verify that all users are teachers?
- No. Not every teacher is employed at a school – some work as supply teachers and so are employed by agencies. And not every teacher has qualified teacher status – some of our teachers are unqualified trainees on school direct, others are unqualified and not on teacher training routes – making verification through that route tricky too.Instead, on sign-up, teachers manually write in the name and postcode of their school, and then we run a check that these are consistent. We also periodically ask questions to see if answers are clashing with answers and therefore signifying an unlikely teacher. We are able to treat someone as ‘not a teacher’ and remove them from the results. Some people also sign up with a non-teacher status (and don’t count in results).We are always open to improving this system. If you have any ideas for how to do without making the sign-up onerous or giving away masses of personal data. If you have suggestions, do let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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 studiesWe took lots of standard questions on personal background, attitudes and well-being from the major UK social surveysWe 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 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 type it into the feedback box on the app. We also allow organisations to commission questions for research or business intelligence, and we freely provide questions and analysis to teachers conducting their own research (e.g. for a dissertation) where their needs to fit with our users’ interests.
- 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.We 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 are doing the following: firstly, we are 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 and we can control which data is released; secondly, we are 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 please get in touch.
- Why do you want to know what school I work in?
- Knowing your 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.
- Is my information private?
- 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 seeking to find. If we ask 1000 random teachers their opinion on a policy, then as long as all we want is the random opinion of 1000 teachers, we will have an answer that reflects the views of the profession. It won’t be a very accurate answer if we only ask 1000 primary teachers, or 1000 male teachers, as that isn’t representative of the workforce. So we periodically check behind-the-scenes to see how representative we are compared to the known population of school teachers.We can apply post-stratification weights to analyses 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). This is the sort of thing we do for researchers or organisations looking to get more detailed analysis, similar to what we provide each week in our open-access blogs.
- How do you make money?
- The app was created using a grant from The Gatsby Foundation and Nesta. It was originally an experiment, which we did in our spare time, and it took a lot of it! The experiment has proved a success and since we hit the 2,000 daily users mark, education organisations have increasingly approached us about how they can ask questions or get analysis of past responses. To make Teacher Tapp sustainable (so we can pay people to manage the app, the questions and the data) we charge organisations to ask questions and place adverts. However, we do not sell or give away your personal data, contact details, school-level data, or data that gives away your identity.
Like other surveys we do rely on trust, but with the advantage that it is impossible to answer our survey twice on the same mobile app. We ask all sign-ups to give us their school name and postcode, alongside details of their job role to conﬁrm they are a teacher. By cross-checking this school information against government databases, we can gain some assurance that they do teach in a school.
Teacher Tapp has a representative sample of over 6,000 teachers in England. It is representative, not random. It is important to note that nobody has a random sample of teachers in England (though TALIS came close with 25% non-response by schools and 15% non-response by teachers). Typical DfE, Ofsted or researcher surveys have response rates of under 50% (and often under 10%).
Each day, we attach sample weights to responses to ensure our sample mirrors the phase, funding-status, age, gender, job role and regional characteristics of the teacher workforce in England. We collect population teacher workforce information from the School Workforce Census for state-schools and supplement it with information from the Independent School Census for private schools. We are able to show that our weighted sample mirrors the population of teachers by other characteristics such as Ofsted rating, school FSM %, school governance.
This is more difﬁcult. Our key concern is whether people who enjoy ﬁlling in surveys or using Teacher Tapp are different to those who aren’t.
First, we check we can replicate key ﬁndings from the TALIS questionnaire, which the closest we’ve got to a true random sample in England. This isn’t ideal because many of the TALIS question are quite opaque in their interpretation (the difﬁculty with international questionnaires…).
Second, we check that we do not have unusual groups of teachers distorting our ﬁndings by re-running our results excluding three particular groups: (i) those who signed up to Teacher Tapp in the ﬁrst two months back in 2017, who principally learnt about it via researchED conferences; (ii) teachers who score very highly on our index of research engagement which we construct from survey questions about how much they engage with academic research; (iii) teachers who say they are extremely active on social media, e.g. writing blog posts.