My story

People have the tendency to do counter-factual thinking. Very often, we wonder “what if I didn’t…” or “what if that never happened” in life, imaging for a different ending of story, but it is never going to happen. Similar things happen to literature exploration. Sometimes when we finished reading, listening or watching stories, we keep wondering “what if she made another choice”? For almost the whole history of storytelling, each story is with one ending, but it does not have to be. At any moment along the story, different choices could leads to different direction of development of story. With interactive tools, it is possible for the readers to explore the development of story by putting themselves in the main character’s shoes to decide what’s next and see the responding development and ending.

The Need:

1)You must be very familiar with this scene in many movies or even real life: a mother or grandma reading a pre-bed story for a kid, when the story is over, the kid, lying in bed and curiously blinking his/her shiny big eyes, kept asking all sorts of “why”. Some parents are good at explain children’s questions, some are not. They give children any explanation they thought could pass for an answer. Seemingly, it does not have to be so serious about circumstances like that because children are just children. However, children are the creature that is most curious about the world they’re living in. Even in early age, they try to make sense of things they heard as a way of figuring out what the world is like. What on earth leads to the ending? Sometimes it’s the main character’s personality, sometimes it’s the choice he/she made, sometimes it’s luck, sometimes it’s timing. If the children are given proper material (multi-ending, non-single-linear story, for example), they can try get the answers by themselves,  instead of listening to some stupid explanation from adults, in the process of thinking what cause the difference.

mystory

2) Almost all children grew up listening to all types of stories. Some children are born with an active and reflective mind, some just enjoy the happy ending while do not give it too much thought. But parents might want children to gain something more than joyfulness of enjoying stories. For some children, a more active way of exploring stories, or a more reflection-stimulating way of story listening is needed.

Target Audience: 2-3 grade elementary school students

Learning Goals:

1) Children can explore stories with an active and reflective mind

2) Children can gain a thinking process to assimilate and digest whatever each story contains and is supposed to teach people as well as a communication process after reading

3) Hopefully learn to keep a habit of keeping an active and reflective mind in both story-listening and life experience

Concept:

1) Making multi-linear story material with audio and image/video and using Arduino to make it interactive. Story structure is exampled as presented:

Story is created with the same beginning while in its development the readers can make choices for the main character and each different choice links to different direction of development. Each line of story leads to a distinct ending.

2) To make the story intractable, Arduino and sensors are applied in the creation of story. Kids will have chance to interact with different sensors, making different choice, and in this way to conduct the direction of narrative. Here are some example scenes of the interactions.

  1. In a cold winter morning, a beggar comes to hero’s house and asks for a cup of water. Now the kids can pour the hot water into a cup on temperature and weight sensor; They can also give the cold one as well as gives nothing. Different choices will affect the response from beggar, in which way leading the direction of development.
  2. when the hero in story comes to a locked door, kid can choose open the locker with key or destroy it with hammer. He can pick up real key or a small hammer from the toolbox and put it on the weight sensor. After the sensor calculate and figure out what the kid select, the story will go on based on the choice.
  3. It comes to a puzzle solving scene. Kid need to answer a question by giving a correct number, which can be inferred and reasoned from prior story. This action will be accomplished by counting sensor. Whether kid gives the right answer of not will lead to different results.

3) An instructor will bring the story material to the class (Computer & well-connected, pre-programmed Arduino). Children can make decision for the main character in “crossroad” of the story to read/watch the corresponding line. After each kid accomplish reading one version,  those who read the same ending can group together talking about their choices and whether or not do they like the ending/do the ending make sense/ their expectation of ending. Then they can go back to read other lines of the story, making comparison and discuss with other students.

 

Relative Learning Theories:

Constructivism:  For young children, story reading is one way of learning about the world, and making sense of the casuals in stories is the start of learning about the big class of “life”. Proposed by developmental psychologist Jean Piaget, constructivism argues that people construct knowledge by  making sense of something new and internalizing it into existing schema.

 

Collaborative Learning: In the discussion phase of this activity, students are supposed to share opinions with other students and learn from their perspectives, which makes the process collaborative learning.

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