PhD Discussion presentation

Introductory presentation of final PhD discussion, 26.05.2023, Free University of Bolzano

Prototype, Source code

Click Fantastinomio demo to test the tool.

Open github repository to see code and adapt. It's free and open source.

Media Education with Kids through Interactive Digital Storytelling

New digital technologies give rise to many concerns and debates in primary education, calling for media education to endow children with critical skills for the participation in digital environments (Jenkins et al., 2009). There are yet many pedagogical possibilities to be explored to harness creativity and collaboration (Alemán et. al., 2019). In this context, design is becoming an increasingly important aspect of teaching. The research project “MEKIDS” (Media Education with Kids through Interactive Digital Storytelling) explores the use of interactive narrative and digital storytelling as a way for teachers to introduce thematically complex subjects in learning settings with young children (8-11 years). In specific, a hypertextual interactive tool (’Fantastinomio’) has been developed to facilitate creative storytelling with young children about subjects that can be curated by educators. Similar research on narrative technology has highlighted that it can facilitate multicultural storytelling (Sylla et. al, 2019) and scaffold creativity (Hall, 2012, 2018). Beyond education, a growing field of research is concerned with interactive digital narratives (IDNs), which are contained in a wide variety of digital formats, ranging from text-based “choose your own adventure” games, interactiv storybooks to augmented reality experiences. They can be defined as "containing potential narratives and experienced through a participatory process that results in products representing instantiated narratives" (Koenitz, 2015).

Thus, MEKIDS pursues the following main research question (RQ): “What are the characteristics of an interactive digital narrative learning arrangement (IDNLA) for the purpose of promoting literacies and critical thinking among primary school children in playful and creative ways?

Following the research paradigm of educational design research (McKenney & Reeves, 2013), the research has been carried out applying a mixed-methods approach across three stages: 1) exploration and analysis, 2) design and construction and 3) evaluation and reflection in an educational setting. After an initial exploration, the design and construction of the Fantastinomio has been carried out and is now being tested and adapted in a series of classroom interventions.