9 weeks

My Role

Research, Concept Development, Visual Design, and Hi-Fidelity Prototype


Ulu Mills, Roger Strang, Laura Rodriguez


Teaching Classroom Management



01 Understanding the Problem Space

We were tasked with designing an educational game on the topic of our choosing. Based on my teammates past experiences as K-12 teachers, they understood the difficulty that new teachers can have with developing classroom management skills. We decided to look at the following question:

How can we design a physical game for K-12 pre-service teachers that would teach classroom management skills in a workshop or classroom setting?

We began by conducting research to gain an understanding of the problems teacher's face when addressing classroom management situations.



We conducted a survey with novice and experienced teachers to gain an understanding of the types of classroom management situations they have experienced and how they reacted. We also gained insights into how their strategies changed throughout their teaching careers.

We used the survey responses as a way to understand the range of different situations teacher's face and types of responses they utilize, which directed the content we incoporated in our game.

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I would spend too much time harping on one student for limited participation and remove myself from others that sought my attention for constructive purposes.
— Novice Teacher
I just remember dealing with things in a more frantic way.
— Novice Teacher
Through trial and error I discovered that given time and space to process a request, this student was able to integrate the direction and respond appropriately.
— Expert Teacher
I think students seek routine so as to feel comfortable in knowing what is coming next and how to approach it. This holds true with teaching lessons as well as managing behavior.
— Expert Teacher

Key Insights

Based on our primary research, we came up with these 4 key insights:

  1. Novice teachers have very short-sighted responses to classroom incidents. (Ex. Yelling, becoming angry, or sending students to the office for minor incidents)
  2. Novice teachers focus more on dealing with an issue in the moment, rather than dealing with the root of the issue.
  3. Experienced teachers treat students holistically .
  4. Experienced teachers react to students in a personalized manner. 

Learning Objectives

Based on our research and key insights, we established two learning objectives that our game would focus on:

  1. Teachers will be able to scale their reactions to student behaviors appropriately in a given context, taking into account the visibility, directness, and degrees of sterness in their response (e.g. volune, language, body language).
  2. Given a student incident, teachers will be able to identify and apply effective strategies for re-establishing broken routines/expectations, including considering the frequency with which a pre-standing issues is addressed.



  1. Feedback
  2. Goldilocks
  3. Anchored Learning
  4. Deep Questions

Sources: ICP Principles - Koedinger, Booth and Klahr; Organizing Instruction and Study to Improve Student Learning IES Practice Guide - Pashler et al 2007



02 Concept Development and User Testing

We conducted mutiple rounds of concept development and prototyping. Each round of concept development was informed by the playtesting sessions we conducted throughout the project. 



We conducted 5 rounds of playtesting, three rounds with follow classmates, who were working as teacher assistants, and two rounds with pre-service teachers from the University of Pittsburgh's Education Department.


03 Visual Design Decisions

Visual design played an important role in the design of Lurn. Because the topic and content of classroom management deals with serious issues, such as cheating and fighting, we utilized the visual design to add a playful and fun element to our game. 


Removing Stereotypes

Stereotypes was a major concern when looking at the design of our game. We tackled this by testing out different versions of how the students could be represented during each playtesting session.

Based on our research, we ended with "human/monster-esque" characters. By using these characters, we were able to remove gender and race, which allowed the players to focus on the situations and strategies in a more neutral light.  


04 Next Steps