- School/institution: Coopselios Cooperative Society.
- Country: Italy.
- Source: experience in a kindergarten. In IO_Manual of best practices of digital storytelling in early childhood (2017). European Project STORIES. (pp. 119-124).
- Age of children: 5.
Main characteristics of the practice
- Listening comprehension of a tale and analysis of its key-points.
- Cooperation in a small group to create a shared product.
- Use of imagination to make choices on the depiction of characters and backgrounds (colors, shapes, movements, etc.).
- Use of logical skills to set a coherent link between char-acters and backgrounds.
- Use of a digital and touch screen device (i-Theatre) to create the animated version of a tale and increase narrative skills.
General goal of the practice and specific objectives
General goal: create the animated version of a story using i-theatre (starting from the audio track of the tale).
- use creativity to draw characters that will be later animated on I-theatre, choosing tools and techniques;
- choose images for backgrounds through visual research among pictures, paintings, books, etc.;
- enhance and develop digital skills;
- support the development of narrative skills.
Four one-hour lessons on different days.
All the activities were carried out in the “mini-atelier” (part of the classroom dedicated to arts and creativity), where an I-theatre had been placed to create a digital-narrative setting.
In the mini-atelier pens and felt-tip pens were placed on a table and children could use them to draw characters and back-ground.
Children were free to access the book corner and use the classroom personal computer for image search.
Description of procedures and methodology
All lessons, held by the atelierista (a teacher with art back-ground), involved a group of four five-year-old children.
The atelierista provided children with initial instruction and let them free to move in the classroom and act as they preferred. During the activity, she made questions and helped children to develop their ideas.
The proposed activities were:
- children listened to a Christmas tale and debated in order to identify its main elements (characters and crucial points);
- children decided how to depict the characters they had chosen and drew them (they were asked to depict characters so as to make them recognizable to everybody);
- children chose the most appropriate backgrounds for representing the different moments of the story (searching images on books, surfing on the web or drawing them); characters and backgrounds were scanned to I-theatre, cut and saved. While children listened to the audio track of the story they moved the characters on the screen and created the animated story with the help of the atelierista, who suggested the timing and changed the backgrounds, etc.
During the activities, the atelierista recorded videos, took pictures and made notes or fill in the observation form.
i-Theatre, digital camera, projector, personal computer with Internet access.
I-theatre is a multi-touch digital device that allows image animation; it’s equipped with a scanner, an ambient microphone and it is connectable to a projector. I-theatre was used to acquire images, edit them and create a short movie of the original story moving characters on backgrounds.
The digital camera was used by the atelierista to take pictures and record videos during the activities.
The projector was used to let the group see on the wall the animation they were creating. The projection encouraged observation, interaction with images and cooperative construction of the story.
The PC was used to browse photos and images not available on books.
- Books for children aged 3-5.
- Felt-tip pens.
- Black fine point markers.
- A4 white sheets.
Description of the final product
The final product was the movie of the whole story animated on the I-theatre. This was composed of different scenes, set on a different background, on which children moved the characters and, at the same time, recorded events and dialogues through the ambient microphone. The animated story was screened for children and families during the Christmas school party, using the school’s cable radio and switching off the I-theatre’s sound system.
Children were able to identify the main characters and the key-points of the story and give them a graphical depiction. They easily learned how to use I-theatre.
How children took part in the practice
Children were really involved, both in the practical use of I-theatre and in the cooperative work of creating the animated version of a story. An additional motivation was their wish to show the story to their families.
Parents were surprised and really involved in the final presentation of the animated version of the story. They made many questions about I-theatre both to children and teachers.
Strengths of the practice
- the small size of the group of children, that allowed the atelierista to support them and use scaffolding strategies;
- use of digital and multimedia tools, which facilitated the connection among different expressive languages (cf. 100 languages, Loris Malaguzzi, Reggio Emilia approach);
- use of an already know and properly prepared room/space, where children felt at ease and could work with a high degree of autonomy.
Critical points of the practice
Lack of time. More children could have been involved in the depiction of characters and more backgrounds could have been created.
How the practice fostered children’s narrative competence
Children acquired the skill to identify the key-points of a story and put them in chronological order. They also learned how to connect characters and backgrounds, taking into consideration their graphical depiction. Also, creating the animated version of a tale without having seen an image of it gave children the chance to use their imagination, free from any stereotypes.
INCLUDED – Digital Storytelling for Inclusion