I’m not really sure how the teachers having all their students set up an account and then having to meet an observation quota is actually teaching them anything at all. I’m sure they’re almost all very familiar with installing an app, taking photos, and posting them online… which is all many of them seem to be doing with iNat.
I recall exercises in school science classes at different ages, where we went outside to observe nature and try to identify organisms. Back in the stone age before smart phones were everywhere… the 80s and 90s! There were lessons on differentiating taxa, collecting specimens, doing sketches, bringing stuff back to the classroom to examine under a microscope, etc.
If thirty kids all go out and take a photo of the same dandelion in the sidewalk at the same time and then all upload it to iNat, what is the educational benefit to them? How does that benefit iNat in any way?
If the issue is that the kids don’t feel engaged unless they’re all out taking photos, that’s fine. They don’t even need to install the iNat app for that. Why not have the kids send their photos to the teacher, who can then go through them and see which kids followed the assignment and pick out some quality unique ones to submit to iNat. The teacher can walk the kids through how to use the app and the website on the smartboard, tv… whatever they can all see. Any kids who actually have a genuine interest in creating an account and using it themselves can do it on their own accord.
It does seem like the current problem stems from students pushing their assignment work off on the iNat community to handle their identification work, and the teachers pushing their supervision and grading work off onto other iNat users as well.