Socially Aware Robot Assistant



Solution Overview

Students playing the game in the class


Currently, the Digital Elkonin Boxes Exercise and Phonic Memory Game is used as a class warm-up session and break activities in the  Wheeling Country Day school.

* All the photos and videos in this project are approved to show properly, thanks to all the lovely volunteer students in the school!







Design - Digital Elkonin Box


Interaction flow design of digital Elkonin Box

Considering our specific user group, we never only rely on our assumptions to design.

We validated the user's need and also every design decision through different phases of user testing. During our iterations, we respect the user's suggestions and feedbacks as our input to have solid design solutions.



Design - Phonics Memory Game

After several rounds of brainstorming and paper prototyping, with initial playtesting with some guests, we come up with the design guideline for our game to make sure everyone on the team share the same direction and understanding.

  • All the font we used in the game is Open Dyslexic, which is specially designed for people with dyslexia

  • The background color is light blue which is adjusted based on the classroom light mentioned in the research part

  • From our interview and playtesting, we got to know the class content including the world and phonome labels are different between teachers

  • All the class material is flexible for teachers to customize their content

  • We prepared a detailed tutorial guide for the first-time user (teacher) and some default settings of class content which are frequently used from our test

  • the class content is easy to save for later use and share with other teachers

  • To succeed in this game, student need to do the same work as Elkonin Boxes: segmenting the words into sounds in the right position and sequence

  • We interviewed the teacher who is an expert in teaching students with dyslexia. She highly recognizes the educational value of this game which takes advantage of the mechanism of Elkonin Boxes

  • The memory game is helpful to enhance the student's short memory

Teacher interview @ Wheeling Country Day School , video approved to show

Playtesting with students @ Wheeling Country Day School, photos got approval to show

  • We playtested multiple times with different students in our client school, and we found the game brought a lot of fun into the class. Students are really engaging in the gameplay process

  • Students tend to support each other during this game and take turns very organized




We got valuable feedback and questions from faculty and users during halves and softs, they are mainly referring to three aspects: 


  • First is about the game mechanism: for the Elkonin boxes, we provide randomly generating tiles with landscapes and in the playtest, students could easily get the concept and got excited when the map generated. for the Promethean board game: we add the memory part with phoneme recognition is because students with dyslexia have difficulties with working memory, which is also validated and liked by the teachers.


  • Second is about how we teach the teachers how to use the preparation system: We demonstrated the whole flow for the teachers and they find it's really intuitive to use and all the playtesting content with students is prepared by the teachers.


  • The third is about class dynamics: Students actually behave very well and taking turns very organized when playing the game, and they tend to show high engagement with giving each other support.

  • We conducted mixed-method user research in both generative and evaluative ways to better understand our user. And we follow the user-centered design principle throughout the development based on what we synthesized from the user research.

  • We value playtests a lot, considering our specific user group, we never only rely on our assumptions to design.

       We validated the user need and also every design decisions through different phases of user testing, 

       During our iterations, we respect the users suggestions and feedbacks as our input to have solid design solutions.

  • For the digital version of Elkonin boxes, we emphasize the essential education value from the physical version and take advantage of the technology to extend this learning experience from in-class small group study to multi-scenario and provide the teacher with preparing and reporting system.


  • For the Phonemics memory game on the Promethean board, we provide the teachers with a flexible and sustainable tool to creating a collaborative, engaging, and fun learning atmosphere in the class.