Discovering the meaning behind the story : creating a system for documenting and supporting children's narrative development
Author(s)Woolf, Anneli Rane.
Creating a system for documenting and supporting children's narrative development
Program in Media Arts and Sciences (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
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Narrative is a powerful core component of human development. Our ability to tell stories has been credited as one of the major influences for the success of the human species. We communicate, think, encode memories, dream, and learn about the world around us through stories. As story-beings, we need to recognize and harness the power of narrative as an educational tool. Despite the importance of narratives, there are significant gaps in the literature for understanding children's narrative development and designing interventions to support growth. Unlike literacy, there are no state-reported statistics of the rates of narrative development for children, nor are there established consistent methods with comprehensive metrics to systematically document narrative progress or evaluate interventions. These gaps are perpetuated by the complex space of narrative, specifically in the form of the content and the social, cultural, and individual context.In response to these gaps, we developed Learning Loops, a novel digitally-mediated family learning system for documenting and supporting children's narratives. Embedded in the Learning Loops system is StoryBlocks, an open-ended storytelling app for children ages six to ten. While children play in StoryBlocks, their fine-grained interaction data is captured and streamed to a human coach, who uses a custom-built tool to analyze play and identify narrative trends. Coaches use this analysis to scaffold children's narrative process through direct feedback and promote caregiver co-engagement through text message updates and activities. This system is unique in that it: 1) documents children's stories as a basis for a comprehensive narrative analysis system, and 2) incorporates the important social role in children's learning by using digital tools to augment and support human social engagement in the narrative process.Through presenting Learning Loops, this work explores the roles that both technology and humans play within these digitally-mediated systems to support narrative development within the child's social context. This dissertation proposes the Two-Lens Approach, a holistic theoretical framework for studying the form, content, and context of children's narratives. This approach is applied to critique the current design and guide future iterations to improve the program's ability to document, analyze, and support children's narrative capacity.
Thesis: Ph. D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and Planning, Program in Media Arts and Sciences, May, 2020Cataloged from the official PDF of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 176-183).
DepartmentProgram in Media Arts and Sciences (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Program in Media Arts and Sciences