education

Dubai teen creates app to monitor teacher punctuality

Classroom Operation and Punctuality (COP) app checking on teachers at Delhi Private School Dubai

Karishma H. Nandkeolyar, Staff Writer
14:49 December 4, 2017

Dubai: A student has created an app that monitors if the teacher is in class on time and following best practices at his school.

Amey Deotale, a grade 12 student of Delhi Private School Dubai (DPS Dubai), made the Classroom Operation and Punctuality (COP) app for “corridor monitors” who can, using the app, immediately send an alert to supervisors about any shortcomings.

The school adopted the paperless mode to expedite the daily checks and balances — no easy task at DPS Dubai where 295 teachers are entrusted with 3,755 students.

At 7.10am, when the first bus rolls in, teachers scuttle in from across the emirates. The first class begins at 8.10am. The school day requires stringent management of time, people and study areas.

Akin to an electronic register, COP equips corridor monitors to tick off basics such as: are the teachers in the classrooms on time, and are they explaining the correct objectives to the pupils.

Deotale, 18, said: “The way it works is like an auditing system, which basically keeps track if the teacher is [sticking with the] best teaching practices inside the classroom. And it helps to hold basically everyone accountable. It does this by providing an instantaneous report. If anyone sees anything wrong in the area, it immediately sends a report to all of the supervisors.”

In an interview, Chanda Keswani, headmistress of primary school at DPS Dubai, told Gulf News COP has been operation on school grounds for the past academic year, and the supervisors call it a boon.

“Suppose earlier it was taking seven minutes [to send a replacement teacher to an unattended classroom]; with the app that’s cut down to two to three minutes. And if a teacher is in the habit of being late, that too we’ll come to know,” Keswani said.

The school works alongside Deotale to update the app as required. He said: “It’s been a continuous development, because they’ve always asked for new features and I’ve always put those features in. I was in the 11th grade and during the summer I had done an online course regarding web technology when the chance to put theory into practice came up.”

Sunita Razdan, headmistress of senior secondary school, said the programme, while not foolproof — administrators do conduct random rounds too — has helped streamline processes. For one thing, she added, the teachers are on their toes because they know they are being monitored. She is hopeful Deotale will add a feature, or build a new app, that will take things a step further and gather information on those monitoring corridors.

Keswani’s plan is slightly different. She wants the “happiness ambassadors” across the school under surveillance. What is a happiness ambassador? They are representatives chosen and trained to do mindful exercises with children in the third and sixth period. “Those are the periods that we see that the kids become a little restless ... so we have happiness ambassadors, who are trained by expert teachers, who get up and start doing mindful exercises with the class,” she said, adding that to prod the “lazy ones into working well”, a new feature may make all the difference.

School principal Rashmi Nandkeolyar said: “We really enjoy the innovative spirit of our students who never fail to amaze us with practical solutions to problems, many of which are tech-driven. Amey is a star, and there are many other students who are also geniuses. A good example is Apoorv Sadana, who is working on a tech-driven teacher’s aid to make corrections easy. Soon teachers in our school will have no need to add up marks or upload them or analyse data. We are very much on board with the UAE initiatives in driving the fourth industrial revolution.”

How COP works

Corridor-patrolling teachers, one per period per corridor, are given login names and passwords.

They check classrooms and tick off, on the app, whether the teacher is present and if best teaching practices are being followed.

Supervisors get immediate feedback and take quick steps to rectify any anomalies.

If a teacher is a recurring offender, he/she is first given a verbal warning, followed by a written warning, and finally the matter is referred to the principal and HR department.