Launching a gaming platform for literacy education

Modern Mantra
for an
for a
R&D Initiative

Our client is a multi-year R&D initiative on a mission to revolutionize literacy education for underprivileged students.

As a newly formed organization led by some of the most senior educators in the US, the client wanted to design technology that would address the fundamental shortcomings of existing literacy education. They brought the vision and pedagogical expertise, and engaged Modern Mantra to help translate that into an end user experience.

Our work together

Modern Mantra worked with the client from inception, going from problem statement to the eventual build out of a literacy-focused games platform for underprivileged youths.


Our venture design sprints always begin with stakeholder discovery. In this case, we met with film directors, financiers, and producers to identify their pain points, and then the founders to understand their product journey so far.


Using affinity mapping, we processed the discovery work and identified common themes. We explored the future of Web3 for short films, unpacking ideation and developing foundational concepts for the project. We also considered design elements, design parameters, and How Might We statements in their design considerations.

Venture & Technical Architecture

Using the How Might We statements as a foundation, our team developed venture requirements, evaluated potential technical partners for the build and decided on technical infrastructure: which blockchain to use. We ultimately selected Solana as the blockchain platform due to its robust architecture and relatively favorable environmental impact.

NFT Strategy & Tokenomics

Finally, we also created a go-to-market strategy for NFTs and developed a tokenomics model that included supply, breakdown, and utility.

Product Strategy & Next Steps

We finished off the project with product roadmapping and high-level strategy so the founders had a clear path to move forward with.


To begin the project, we started by defining and refining the objectives and then identifying target age groups and user personas. We honed in on a core design challenge and conducted foundational research to inform our scoping and ideation efforts.


Rather than developing a single product, we centered around the concept of a gaming platform upon which the client could launch different games to address the unique needs of different learners. This would be the fulcrum of their R&D efforts, giving them a platform to not only deploy and test new learning experiences, but directly retrieve data on the efficacy of those experiences to then add to the broader pedagogical literature.

Product Design

We worked on designing the learning experiences on the platform, and led user testing and usability testing for both the platform and the games.

Venture & Technical Architecture

We then provided strategic guidance, including identifying potential partners such as schools and tutoring organizations, and developed a scalable software architecture for the platform.


In marketing and comms, we worked on branding and identity, including brand strategy, mission, vision, and values. In addition, we composed a go-to-market strategy.

Team Building & Development

To support the completion of the product, Modern Mantra provided human resources and technical team building support. We worked with the client to vet and hire a Head of Product, a Head of Engineering, and two development studios with expertise in gaming and education to bring the product to life.

From concept to prototype and launch

A pilot of the first prototype learning experience was conducted in October 2022 with 9 different partners, including 6 schools and 3 community tutoring organizations. After being deployed and tested for 2-3 weeks, the results of the research were analyzed and used to scope the necessary iterations for the final product.

Our collaboration ultimately led to the launch of an instructional platform with literacy development games that are fun and engaging for children while also centering the experiences of black and brown children living in low-income neighborhoods.

Last updated: 
January 7, 2023

More from this project

More from this project
Project Date

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Project Activities

Project activities

Venture Design

User Research

UX/UI Design


Go-to-market Strategy

Software Architecture

Technical Team Building

Why we care about this project

Why we care about this project

Being able to read and write is a fundamental skill that underpins not just one’s ability to function in the modern world, but to find a sense of self. That’s why it’s crazy that literacy standards among US children today are the lowest on record, with Black, Latino, and Native American students disproportionately affected. Our client exists to solve that.

As ethnic minorities growing up in inner cities, the team at Modern Mantra were particularly passionate about this project because of our own experiences with education systems that did not adequately address our cultural and cognitive needs. We saw this as a unique opportunity to redesign education at scale, in partnership with a like-minded organization dedicated to using tech to solve real world problems rather than simply for the furthering of its own wealth.

Listen to Nick & Elijah talk about it in their own words:

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Last updated: 
January 7, 2023

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