PLOT

An educational storytelling tool designed to enhance literacy by bring physical and digital learning together.

Project Description:

Completed in 2 months as part of the Final Project at CIID (December 2015). This was a solo project done in collaboration with third grade students at Rygaards International School in Copenhagen.

Expertise:

Research | Concept | Arduino

Product | Build | User Interface

Experience | Visual | Video

Opportunity:

Teaching narrative and sequencing as part of literacy is a huge part of primary school education. Increasingly, teachers are relying on digital resources to teach these important skills. E-learning resources have proven incredibly powerful in delivering deep content as well as the benefits of personalised and adaptive learning - i.e., allowing children to learn at their own pace and feel rewarded by marking specific milestones. Yet these resources isolate children's learning as they are confined to screens and lack physical and collaborative components deemed so important when learning new skills. It is no surprise that learning is most successful in collaborative environments which are also physically stimulating. How might we bring the depth and richness of digital learning together with physical and collaborative learning when teaching literacy?

Solution:

PLOT is an educational toolkit created for primary schoolers (7-8 yo) to develop synthesis, sequencing and narrative skills through storytelling. It ties digital and physical learning together. The board is used to record and playback story and sound bits by combining them with children’s own drawings or readily available pictograms. Story tiles placed on the recording dock can be personalised to represent a part of the story. Children keep recording by taking turns and sequence these tiles on the board. At the same time they constantly play the story back to hear how it sounds and decide whether it logically makes sense. The PLOT app complements this process by guiding and prompting collaborative storytelling.

Impact:

Plot is highly impactful in children's learning because of the constant auditory feedback mechanism it provides. Children listen to the story bits they recorded over and over again and iteratively improve on their narrative, grammar and construction without a teacher being present in the session. By dividing the story into manageable information bits, Plot also enables students to understand the basic structure of a story (beginning, middle and end) and modify it on-the-go in a collaborative manner. Finally, Plot offers a whole new way of manipulating bits of information. Since story bits are represented by pictograms, it allows visual manipulation as opposed to the editing approach students usually take when writing. As such, it is a new way of organising one's thoughts and sequencing information.

The validation sessions have shown that the tool can foster other skills beyond literacy - such as turn-taking, communication and collaboration which are deemed vital for the 21st century. As the world becomes more and more complex, education technology will also have to offer children novel ways of learning and manipulating information.

How it works:

Plot has three modes:

In create, students can make any story they want using the physical interface. The app offers them editing tools to layer the story with audio and pictures. 

Play mode offers various games like words or icons that need to be used in a story. These can be added by the teacher. 

PlotTube is the Plot community which allows students to publish and archive their stories. They can hear and/or watch each other’s stories, bring it to their editing environment and modify them in any way they want - e.g., giving each others' stories a different ending for instance.

Plot is the result of an iterative design process, in collaboration with 7 - 8 year old students. Earlier prototypes focused on integrating the findings from co-creation sessions run with children, doing various storytelling exercises. The final iteration is the culmination of all these findings, made into a fully working prototype.