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A drum, handshake and chalk

1 April 2017
Hadas Gil
man playing drums

What more is there to say about User Experience in technologically advanced world and defining the optimal interaction between man and machine? We have grown accustomed to considering the technological aspect of UX, an experience which includes all aspects of the interaction between end users and the organization, its services and its products.

UX involves an attempt to get users to respond positively to questions such as "do you find this website/application satisfactory?"; "is this website/application easy and comfortable to use?" UX and all these questions have a shared obvious goal: to activate people, make them do something.

UX takes into consideration many terms borrowed from the fields of business/marketing/technology, including: Information architecture, Usability, Accessibility, etc. Therefore, given that the basic requisite of an exquisite UX is to initiate activity and generate a positive human experience void of unnecessary complications, loaded with fun and as simple as possible, it seems that this can be attained without utilizing any advanced technology. The following examples remind us that knowledge can be conveyed and retained as can people become motivated to consume knowledge without being confined to the modern definition of User Experience.


"Geshem Geshem Mitaftef" might be the song discussed most recently. Teacher Jihan Jabbar from Taibe drew us back to our childhood years by using a drum to teach Hebrew to Arab pupils  in the most rewarding and experiential method possible. This song has gone viral via the social networks and includes many layers necessary for designing a positive User Experience. It features an element of healthy interaction, a human factor which motivates activity, marketing-oriented writing and a contagious beat, usability, memory and equally important- a psychology-based learning and effective teaching method which considers the target audience.

This learning method is a reminder to anyone who occasionally needs to generate interest in new knowledge and provide a positive user experience and is searching for fun, creative and simple ways to make this knowledge accessible while having the target audience in mind which is ultimately what captivated the heart of anyone exposed to this video. This teacher lead her class to meaningful learning- a term that might seem at times amorphous yet is quite tangible to viewers. Through beat, fun and simplicity these students learn Hebrew using means rooted in their Arabic culture.

In case you missed it, here's the song once more:


Another example is a North Caroline teacher named Barry White, Jr. (to whom you might have been exposed in another video gone viral). White Jr. has come up with a new way to greet his students, when they enter the classroom each morning. Instead of simply saying "good morning", each pupil shares his/her unique handshake with their teacher. White, Jr. says he wished to find an efficient way to make his pupils love and enjoy learning; "before I can begin to teach them loads of material, I must invest in the pupils themselves". This method is also a reminder that interest can be generated and modern UX elements incorporated through simple and effective gestures.

One last example is Japan. Japan, regularly a state quick to adapt to new digital technological tools, is still using board chalks in classes in 75% of the classes (as of Jan. 2015). This might sound outdated, yet the widespread use of chalk "technology" is actually planned and even advanced. Bradley Emerling, head scientist of Pierson studies, has discussed the matter with Japanese teachers and has learned that there are board-writing strategies referred to as "board-writing planning". Each class appoints a student responsible for the cleanliness of the chalkboard prior to class, teachers write neatly and cleanly using every inch of it punctually, make use of differently-colored chalk in order to classify subjects if necessary, etc. using the old fashioned board, teachers can uniquely create new learning experiences without any new technology.


In conclusion, the most precise principle this article attempts to highlight is that, as knowledge managers and conveyers, it is important to consider the appropriate technology and effective UX design. We must consider whether a certain technological choice, advanced as it might be, matches the specific need we wish to address. Perhaps a drum, handshake and chalk suffice?

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