Narrative Construction Kits: "Who Am I? Who Are You? What Are We?"

Marina Umaschi Bers

This paper proposes narrative construction kits as powerful tools to help children and teenagers explore identity and values as dynamic complex constructions. The metaphor of a construction kit suggests that users can combine building blocks (e.g. aspects of the self), program them with storytelling behaviors and try them out in interactions with others. By integrating storytelling and computation these kits also support the development of knowledge about narrative and programming. Three examples of narrative construction kits designed and tested by the author with children and teenagers are described: SAGE, the webbased Kaleidostories and the 3D graphical multi-user environment Zora. Differences and similarities, design principles and lessons learned are presented.

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