New ways of telling
stories to children
The KIDSTORY project has produced two new collaborative storytelling
technologies for children in the age group three to eight years. KidPAD is a shared
drawing surface featuring a zooming interface, that allows children to create simple
graphical stories and bring them to life by animated zooming. KidDIVE, is a formless
three-dimensional object that acts like modelling clay. A group of children can pull it
around, colour it and texture it in order to create characters and other story objects.
Both of these technologies demonstrate an approach to interface design that encourages
children to collaborate without forcing them to do so.
Another aspect of the KidStory project is the pioneering approach of 'children as
inventors'. Instead of treating children as experimental subjects or as informants, they
are involved as design partners and their design ideas incorporated. The project has
worked closely with children in two schools in Stockholm and Nottingham. Activities have
ranged from low technology prototyping sessions using cardboard, string, glue, crayons and
other familiar materials, through to intensive technology immersion sessions using KidPAD
In the next two years, the project will extend storytelling technologies beyond the
desktop to build physical objects that can be used to communicate with computers and room
sized interfaces that encourage physical movement, interaction and whole class
KidPAD and KidDIVE are on the KIDSTORY stand with materials from the school sessions
such as children's journals and models. Also on show are some of the design ideas for the
proposed future extensions to storytelling technologies.