StoryMat: A Play Space for Collaborative Storytelling

Kimiko Ryokai and Justine Cassell
Gesture and Narrative Language Group
MIT Media Laboratory
20 Ames St, Cambridge, Massachusetts
+1 617 253 7211
{kimiko, justine}

Collaborative storytelling plays an essential role in children's lives. Listening to and sharing their stories and ideas with others are activities through which children make sense of their world, and practice their language skills [3]. And yet, some children (for example, those hospitalized with long-term illnesses) do not have the luxury of co-temporal co-spatial playmates. Meanwhile, while computers are emerging in the world of today's children, there is a lack of computer mediated systems that support children's voices in everyday play, particularly in collaborative contexts. StoryMat is a computer-mediated system to support children's everyday collaborative storytelling, even in the immediate absence of playmates.  In this paper, we present the design and prototype of StoryMat: a soft interactive play mat that records and recalls children's storytelling activities.

Keywords: collaborative storytelling, recording/recalling story, soft interface