An automated interface design for student-parent interaction in secondary boarding schools: a study of schools in rachuonyo south sub-county, Kenya.
Juma, Mary Akeyo
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Ministry of Education banned the use of mobile phones by students in boarding schools without replacing it with a suitable interaction interface. This situation infringes on children’s right to information, as delineated in the Convention on the Right of the Child which include the right to be heard and to be taken seriously, to free speech and information, and to maintain privacy. The situation has thus led to sneaking and illegal use of phones making students to incline towards accessing destructive pieces of information. There is need to find a suitable replacement to letter writing, and mobile phones in secondary boarding schools. The study aims at assessing student-parent interaction needs to come up with requirements interaction that would enable the development of a suitable interaction platform. The study objectives were: to examine existing students-parents interaction platform used in secondary boarding schools, to establish requirement for an automated interface design for student-parent interaction while in secondary boarding school, to design an automated interface for student-parent interaction while in secondary boarding school. The study was confined to public boarding secondary schools in Rachuonyo South Sub-County, in Kenya. A survey methodology and stratified sampling technique with sample size of 330 students, 178 parents and 8 teaching staff were used to come up with appropriate data for research. Cochran equation formula was used to determine the sample size. The data collected were descriptively and inferentially analyzed using SPSS and ms-excel applications. The findings from the data analysis and interpretation showed that bigger percentage of students use mobile phones to interact with their parents despite the ministry’s ban. The administrators preferred an interaction interface that would filter destructive information while the students preferred a speedy and reliable interaction interface. Guided by research findings and studies on other successful student–parent interaction interfaces in other parts of the world, the researcher designed an interface in which each student had an account and logged in using log in credentials. Students’ problems were categorized into three as per the research findings. The categories were social, academic and financial problems. Each category had a list of problems designed as a dropdown menu. The students select their problems from the menu which is sent to their parents’ phone numbers as short messages. The interface administrator has to login to be able to register new students and deregister absent students by updating the students’ and parents’ Database. The administrators also update the problem menus to suite the student’s need especially in addressing emerging issues. Based on these findings, the ministry of education and the school head teachers should allocate funds for provision of a special room in schools equipped with adequate computers. Each computer to be installed with interaction interface and the number should be enough to enable each student get an opportunity to interact with their parents. A teacher on duty should be charged with additional responsibility of guarding the room and supervising studentparent interaction process.
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