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.

October 2019
Designer, Maker
How might we design AI tools that help human productivity and accurately reflect personalities?
Evergreen is 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.  To start, we came up with a list of jobs and tasks that required creativity and manual human input and ordered them based in the amount of effort required. After voting on the target users, we decided to develop a tool for teachers.

List of tasks for teachers

We listed 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

Typing education

VR field trips

Online assessment & feedback

Virtual Science and Engineering Labs

Adobe Photoshop Express
Image creation tool

checkology® Virtual Classroom
Go-to news-literacy site

Student forums

Free courses on advanced topics

Making grading & feedback easier

Student/Instructor Resource communication

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

We brainstormed and ordered the tasks from least important to most important. After a vote, we decided to tackle the task of bringing Diversity+Inclusion (D&I) education to K-5 classrooms.

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?"


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. Each member presented their ideas, discussed the feasibility and application of AI to the solution, and grouped 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 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.

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

Final Thoughts

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.