ICollab was a quarter long team project at the Human Centered Design and Engineering (HCDE) program at the University of Washington. ICollab is in-class, collaborative, learning ecosystem for students K-4, using a desktop table screen platform. An added dimension is parents have their own "channel" of record delivery to see what their child is doing.
To "make the tool a toy," increase the fun in learning for K-4 students, providing collaborative, game-based app for in-class assignments. Also, to make classroom transparent for parents, so they never have to wonder what their child did at school.
1. Ideation: Our team brainstormed ideas. We latched on to the idea of a product developed for kids.
Two ideas were favored by the group:
Monster Smarts Augmented reality app for iPhone, an educational, reward based app, where kids could receive interactive trading cards when they answered a school question or completed a homework assignment. Monster Smart story board (PDF)
Interactive board games using a phone to interact with a table top device.
Our next step in getting our stakes into the ground, was user research to see what parents and students needed.
We asked 8 parents what their children did at school today. We asked 2 teachers what are the most common questions they are being asked. We asked 7 children what do they like about school.
2.1 User Research, polling survey of 82 parents, quantitative data: We asked 82 parents which area they felt the greatest disconnect. We also asked them what they thought their children want to do at school.
3. Product Vision solidifies: The results of our research firmed up the direction the product would take, and served as a recipie for the ICollab table.
4. Personas: We wanted to keep our user in mind, the core of our audience. Jimmy, the 4th grader and Jan, Jimmy's working, tech friendly mom.
5. ICollab Product framework sketches: The interface started taking shape with a "bento box" or "custom compartments" concept in mind. The student could see different elements of their school day presented in one interface, accessed by a hide and show menu. We considered old school paper tossing, merged with swiping, a student could "toss" their project to a different table by swiping.
6. Paper prototype testing: We tested if children understood that swiping with their hand "tosses" their project onto the other iCollab table.
8. Final prototype showing Jimmy's experience in the classroom and mom, checking her tablet finding out about Jimmy's day.