My Global Classroom

An interactive display for communication between classrooms


Timeline: 5 weeks
Roles:  UX Designer, Interaction Designer, UX Researcher, Motion Designer
Team: 5 Designers
Methods: Interviews, Personas, Wireframing, Storyboarding, Prototyping, User Testing
Tools: Adobe Photoshop, After Effects, InDesign, Sketch, InVision

Problem: Given a brief to create an interactive display, we decided to focus on reducing stereotypes. Negative stereotypes are prevalent in many places, and are typically formed during childhood. Many stereotypes form from a lack of experience interacting with other groups of people.

Solution: A public interactive display for young children's classrooms in elementary schools that allows them to interact and learn from other children around the world. This experience gives the children exposure to cultures, beliefs, and languages that they would not have otherwise, reducing the likelihood of negative stereotypes forming.  


User Research:

Critical age:

We first conducted a literature review into understanding how stereotypes form, and what methods have been shown to be effective in reducing them. We found many stereotypes tend to form around the ages of seven to eight years old and tend to be learned from people who are older, like their parents and teachers. We also learned that as people interact and are exposed to other cultures, stereotypes are less likely to be formed.

Understanding our audience:

We conducted 6 interviews with children from around the world including Korea, Portugal, India, and the United States. We found that children enjoy various artistic activities such as singing, dancing, and arts and crafts. They also all enjoyed playing with and using technology. During one interview break, our interviewee got up and started playing tag and showing us her gymnastic techniques. After the break, she was much more open and answered questions with more enthusiasm. This gave us valuable insight into how children behave and interact with each other. 

Technology review:

We reviewed existing technologies that connected groups of people together. We looked at various types of video calling softwares as well as other interactive lounges like chatrooms. One service, called Mystery Skype, fostered the idea of trying to connect classrooms around the world. Examining feedback and reviews on these services and technologies helped us better understand what our users needs were.

Design:

Keeping context in mind:

While designing for the display, we kept in mind that it was meant to be used in a classroom setting. This restricted many activities that could be done physically due to limited space. We also had to make several decisions about how teachers and students interact with the display. We also had to keep the social context of this being the student's first interactions with a new culture in mind, so we took steps to reduce the shyness and anxiety that comes with first meeting people.

  An early exploration of the context of a classroom and   early interface items that would appear   on the screen.

An early exploration of the context of a classroom and early interface items that would appear on the screen.

Activity concepts:

When deciding which activities would best fit our goal of reducing stereotypes we focused on activities that fostered learning about other cultures. We also wanted every activity to feel like a game and have elements of fun to avoid the student’s feeling annoyed by a “forced” activity. The interactions would focus on different parts of culture: learning the language, music, arts, and culture. We created several activities: Pictionary, Music, and Guess the Phrase (charades).

Storyboards: 

We created storyboards to visualize how interacting with the display would work.  The storyboards also helped us validate if the ideas we created were appropriate to the goals we were trying to accomplish.

 The storyboards were used to explore various situations  with multiple types of interfaces and controls.

The storyboards were used to explore various situations  with multiple types of interfaces and controls.

Low to MID FIDELITY:

We created basic concepts of the various activities of how they would look visually through whiteboarding sessions. Use of the whiteboard helped us keep in mind that smaller icons should be left out of the design as they would not be easily seen from a distance. 

User Testing & Feedback:

We conducted thinkalouds with several children and received feedback on the visual aspects of the display as well as the activities they participated in. Using the feedback, we redesigned the color scheme to be more gender neutral, simplified the navigation, and clarified some calls to action.

 

Final screens:

Home Screen

     GUESS THE PHRASE

   PICTIONARY

   MUSIC CLASS