My amazing team 5: Sonia, Lillian, Natasha, and me!

IDEO Makeathon SF 2019

Using AI to bring Diversity and Inclusion Education to K-6 classrooms

60 amazing designers, entrepreneurs, technical experts, business people, and makers selected from a pool of hundreds of applicants came together at IDEO's Makeathon in SF to explore the potential of emerging technology. My team explored the application of AI to help human productivity while accurately reflecting personalities.

PROBLEM
How might we design AI tools that help human productivity and accurately reflect personalities?

How can we help K-6 classroom teachers teach their students about diversity and inclusion while also learning about the topics themselves?
SOLUTION
We prototyped Evergreen, a productive pet plant that listens to classroom conversations and grow based on biased conversation that it overhears. The plant aggregates the discriminatory phrases it hears each day and presents them on the instructor dashboard, aiding teachers by informing which subjects to cover, resources for learning, and potential lesson plans for teaching Diversity and Inclusion topics to K-5 students.

Who should we design for?

The four occupations that we narrowed down on

Our team was assigned with the topic of AI augmentation. This required us to think about using AI to automate parts of the processes that still required human input and creativity. To start, we came up with a list of jobs and tasks that required creativity. We ordered the jobs based on the amount of creativity required for the role and voted on which profession to choose as our target user. Ultimately, we decided to develop a tool for teachers.

List of tasks for teachers

Next, we started listing out the tasks that teachers are responsible for. In the process, we realized that teachers in different stages of education carried significantly different responsibilities. To maximize the impact of our prototype, we started listing out technological tools built for educators of different levels.

K-5 Teachers

6-12 Teachers

Post-Secondary Educators

EduTyping
Typing education

Expedition
VR field trips

Spiral
Online assessment & feedback

Inq-ITS
Virtual Science and Engineering Labs

Adobe Photoshop Express
Image creation tool

checkology® Virtual Classroom
Go-to news-literacy site

Piazza
Student forums

Coursera/Udacity
Free courses on advanced topics

Gradescope
Making grading & feedback easier

Sakai
Student/Instructor Resource communication

After listing out the tools, we realized that there is a lack of technological tools for K-5 teachers compared to educators at different levels. Therefore, we decided to narrow down our target audience to K-5 teachers.

How can we use AI to help K-5 teachers?

Narrowed down to two topics after brainstorming

After deciding to focus on K-5 teachers, we started ordering the tasks from least important to most important. At the end, it came down to voting between two topics: Planning Curriculums and Diversity+Inclusion. After a vote, we decided to tackle the task of bringing Diversity+Inclusion (D&I) education to K-5 classrooms using AI.

How Might We...

At IDEO, they structure a How Might We question (HMW) to guide the brainstorming session. HMWs are formatted in a way that it addresses the user group, problem to be solved, and the context. At the end of the session, our team decided to answer:

"How Might We help K-5 teachers identify and educate their student on current social/D&I issues that exist in their classroom while also educating them about the topics?"

Brainstorming!

After we decided on the HMW that we will focus on, we each took 10 minutes to brainstorm ideas on how to address the problem at hand. We came together as a group to present each of our ideas, discuss the feasibility and application of AI to the solution, and group similar ideas together.

Two of our ideas came together to create Evergreen!

After voting, a new idea that came from grouping similar ideas together was chosen! We decided to create a pet plant that grows and shrinks based on the knowledge input. Specifically, we decided to use voice-recognition and speech-detection to record statements that are considered discriminatory based on race, gender, or religion.

So... What did we build?

Evergreen is your K-6 classroom's pet plant, designed to bring D+I awareness!

Evergreen is your new classroom solution for promoting diversity and inclusion in K-5 classrooms. The plant listens to the conversation that is happening around the room, detects discriminatory phrases, aggregates the D+I topics to be addressed, and presents the summary, resources, and potential lesson plans through a dashboard.

The AI portion of this prototype comes from voice detection and sentiment analysis. To replicate the process, we decided to use DialogFlow to detect certain intents that we pre-set. If the statement recorded by Google Assistant was detected as one of the pre-set intents, the metadata that exists for that intent, such as resources, actions, entry statement, and category, will be pushed to the database. The dashboard then pulls the data from the database to present a breakdown of the topics to be discussed, resources to learn more about each D+I subject, and lesson plans for instructors. We also built a physical tree to showcase the growing and the shrinking of the tree.

Workflow of Evergreen

Challenges and Takeaways

During the maker fair (science fair IDEO style), concerns about implementation in school systems and data privacy were often brought up. Realistically, even with industry-level data encryption and anonymizing data, the feasibility of implementing devices that will be listening to children throughout the day is very low today. However, as our society starts to open up to the idea of AI being incorporated into our everyday lives, solutions like Evergreen can augment the human society,

I am humbled to have worked with and alongside so many talented individuals. Throughout this experience, I was constantly challenged to move fast, challenge ideas, and work with others. The makeathon was an experience full of user empathy, collaboration, and out-of-the-world futuristic ideas.

Shoutout and thanks to my guides from IDEO for helping our team out when our brainstorming started to go in circles, the IDEO team for putting on this amazing event, and my awesome teammates, Natasha, Lillian, and Sonia, for creating an amazing prototype that I couldn't have imagined to make when the makeathon started.