- School/institution: Coopselios Cooperative Society & Computer Learning
- Country: Italy
- Source: INCLUDED shared documentation, article Bonaccini S., Prandi R., Albiero F., “Narrazioni tecnologiche”, Giunti Scuola dell’Infanzia. Results from the 6-month experience at the infancy school of Breganze (VI).
- Age of children: 4-5 years
Main characteristics of the practice
Six-Month experimentation has been taking place from September 2013 until February 2014, at kindergarten school “Brave Garden” of Breganze (VI). The practice experimented contexts of DST in combination with the i-Theatre instrumental setting.
General goal of the practice and specific objectives
The focuses of observation of the research were decided in these aspects:
- how the traditional languages of the atelier (graphic, painting, photography, etc.) can be combined with the potentials of the instrument,
- how the DST approach with the instrument can support the development of narrative thinking on children,
- how the DST approach with the instrument can support the construction and elaboration of a “group mythopoesis” so that the identity of the children group section can be reinforced,
- what kind of learning and relation to the imagination does especially support in children,
- what is the added value/contribution of diversity in relation to the goal of developing narration respect to other traditional forms /instruments/techniques?
Six-month experimentation in a Coopselios kindergarten.
The organization has foreseen the creation of laboratory space for DST with the i-Theatre instrument, typically in continuity with other laboratory spaces (e.g., for drawing, painting, recreational space).
Description of procedures and methodology
The methodology was of DST applied in different ways/groups/projects.
The teacher has been always a director/supervisor of the experience (guiding children but leaving expression to their own creativity).
The contamination with a project developed the year before, the creation of the book “The hunt and the heron’s luck”, has been immediate for children, the possibility of scanning their images of characters and backgrounds has enriched their narrative experience.
In a first moment of the activity, we proposed to children to acquire settings and characters of the story on the i-Theater touch surface: in this way, characters became protagonists of new stories, thanks also to the opportunity of zooming them in and out with a simple finger movement, fostering new evocative games.
The language and gestures are deeply influenced, and the finger movement is merged with oral storytelling.
The transformation of characters in big-small size has been a recurrent theme and stimulated emotions and fun.
Children transfigure characters of the story and play with words, they imagine new situations, they make their own roles and characters, also tell their emotions of happiness, fun, or fear that is caused by the “BIG BIG” images.
The dimensions of the instrument allow children to share skills and competences: this is clearly supported allowing them to put in relation to more children.
Another relevant element it’s that children, by different individual ways and means of using i-Theatre seem to acquire the “measure” of their own skills, learning is achieved by passing through a process of hypothesis, trials, experimentations, checks, evaluations.
In a short time children can use the instrument with competence to insert backgrounds and characters (their drawings), store images, modify, cut, paste, etc. parts of images.
Fascinating is the possibility of recording the narrated stories including the movement of images and voices, and finally being allowed to watch and show them again to friends or parents.
The i-Theatre, connected to a video-projector, reproduce the image shown on the multi-touch screen, creating a “cinema” effect which gave children the impression of being in a movie-projection theatre.
At the same time, one group of children could “work” on the i-Theatre, while another was “diving” into the story through the movie projection on the wall: where characters took on huge or tiny dimensions, moved by the wise hands of their friends while the story-creation was going on.
Children could do, thanks also to the settings prepared by the educators, an active and creative use, by using and re-elaborating different languages, showing a proactive use of technology.
Creative skills of children emerged, as well as communication, cooperation, and artistic skills.
The i-Theatre, for instance, has become a different place to “play” with the words of the alphabet: “we let children autonomously familiarize with the instrument, by scanning themselves the letters of the alphabet and using function cards and memories: the card cut, set background, the use of personal or group archives. With their cropped letters, by using the multi-touch screen, they could inspect, examine in-depth and experiment in different ways: single letters, letters that are merged to shape their name which could be huge or tiny, that could move…”
Enlarge or shrink letters, put them together, one close to the other, allowed us to notice that every child uses the touch surface in a different way: with the fingers of the same hand (just some, or all), with all the fingers of the two hands.
The digital storytelling table gave them the opportunity to experiment with different combinations/contaminations of languages by using the multimedia “channel”; as a matter of fact, we perceived their handy capability and intuitiveness on using the multi-touch, that often has fairly gone beyond our expectations.
i-Theatre is a creative polysensorial digitally-mediated narrative-based laboratory for education to multimedia language. Throughout the co-construction of stories, narratives, symbolic representations in audiovisual (multimedia) format – by a structured process underpinning several phases of work with and without the mediation of the digital instrument – children share thoughts and emotions, imagine worlds, develop projects. It is an innovative technologic instrument, i.e. modular furniture, a playful laboratory context, and an ICT instrument at the same time, providing unique features not comparable with other devices in terms of concept and supported user experience. It provides teachers with a very useful resource, very effective and intuitive, to involve children in small group activities aiming at educational targets in socio-relational, cognitive and language-expressive areas.
The use of i-Theatre in educational practices and projects allows to:
- Promote the development of narrative thinking in a story co-construction perspective
- Foster the development of emotional, symbolic, cognitive, meta-cognitive skills by means of creative and inventive processes allowing children to approach multimedia languages in a personal and original way;
- Integrate traditional expressive activities, like painting, drawing, collage, etc. with the use of digital media in an intuitive and interactive way;
- Promote the intertwine of different languages within narrations that get gradually more complete and complex by the active participation of children who animate characters, add backgrounds, introduce sound and music effects by following a shared learning process of experience and reflection;
- Activate collaborative and cooperative learning processes (e.g., peer learning) that are involved in small groups elaborations, nurturing the development of essential socio-relational competences;
- Support a rich and personalized design of learning paths aimed at develop inclusion processes and to address competences of children with special education needs.
The system has been used in combination with a video-projector to create the essential setting for a “movie-theatre” sharing of the narrative artifacts.
- Illustrated books
- Drawing materials
- USB flash drives
Description of the final product
The results of the experience have been the most various, from the spontaneous narration emergent from children’s symbolic play, to the re-elaboration of a story plot from a well-know narration in the form of the illustrated book.
The experimental results of this experience, with respect to educational work around the new languages and DST approach with the i-Theatre tool, pointed out:
- APPEAL / NOVELTY
- COMBINATION OF INTERPERSONAL RELATIONS AND FOSTERING COLLABORATION
- SUPPORT MANUAL COORDINATION / FINE EYE-HAND MOTRICITY
- MULTIPLE PROJECTIONS OF NEW SCENARIOS
- MIXING OF DIFFERENT PROJECTS / EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES
- AUTONOMY / INDEPENDENCE OF CHILDREN
- ENCOURAGE DIFFERENT ROLES FOR CHILDREN WITHIN THE SAME DEVELOPMENT OF “ATELIER”
The DST approach in combination with i-Theatre instrument is a novelty that carried on curiosity and considerable interest for adults but, especially, for children. The large multi-touch screen is a key strength of the system, as it allows children to work with “more hands”, enforcing collaboration and the sharing of ideas, clues, opinions. The work with i-Theatre promoted the hand-eye coordination and fine eye-hand motricity of children by using the card cut, set background, delete; and also by the action of moving elements, zoom in and out, order them in the “scene” space. The instrument, connected to a video projector, allowed to project children’s drawings and creations. Their graphic artifacts can be enriched with several elements (characters, animals, letters, …) that are placed on the top of the screen and can be moved, giving life to new scenarios and new stories. It was found to be flexible. It can be used for many different goals and educational activities arising from narration: writing, numbers.
Children made the i-theatre an “everyday-life” tool, they are autonomous and independent in switching it on and off, and to choose backgrounds and characters that they want to use for expressing themselves, their emotions, feelings, narrations.
The work with DST + i-Theatre is at the intersection of different languages: drawings of children can be acquired, but also pictures, images, letters, numbers, materials… and connected to other educational projects/activities under development. Finally, by using the video-projection and the light-beamer it was even possible to create shadows with the bodies of children or other materials (constructivism) that enrich the story projection, significantly fostering the verbalization.
INCLUDED – Digital Storytelling for Inclusion