Digital tools for young storytellers

How will tomorrow’s children become eager storytellers and conquer the written word? Together with Berättarministeriet (The Ministry of Storytelling), KTH's Stefan Stenbom studies how digital technology can encourage children to tell stories.

Visual interpretation: Stefan Stenbom sitting in red stairs with a laptop.
Stefan Stenbom, Dr and Lecturer at the Department of Learning.

Getting children in socioeconomically under-privileged areas to express themselves by mastering the written word is Berättarministeriet's mission. The foundation arranges writing workshops for school classes between ages 8-10 in Stockholm and Gothenburg. Together with researchers at KTH, they aim to identify creative – digital - methods that encourage storytelling.

– Digitalisation has been the biggest revolution in the field of education during my lifetime. Not only it facilitates learning, it will also develop the role of a teacher, says Stefan Stenbom, researcher in Digital Learning at KTH.

Berättarministeriet is particularly keen to support children who do not have parents that can back them up in school. In areas with high unemployment rates digital knowledge gap is the most evident. Stefan Stenbom believes that everyone has different learning abilities hence digital technology can be very helpful in storytelling. 

According to new directives from the government, the school system has a responsibility for developing children’s digital skills. The first step in the collaboration between KTH and Berättarministeriet involves interviewing teachers at primary school level about their views on digitalising the school system.

– We’ve asked how teachers are using digital tools today and their notion of what ‘digital competence’ is. It’s clear that many people are doing exciting things, but they are also concerned about how to implement digitalisation, and what this means.

The interview-based study will result in a list of clear needs. Afterwards Berättarministeriet will be able to make a difference in Swedish tuition for both teachers and students. According to Stenbom, it is yet impossible to predict the results, technically it can be anything at all.

– That’s something we’ll have to develop together with Berättarministeriet. We are responsible for the research’s perspective while they are good at finding suitable activities for children,” says Stefan Stenbom, concluding:

“When I retire in 2047. I’d like ‘digital learning’ to be like electricity – we don’t think about it, it’s just there. It’s ‘learning’, full stop.

Text: Anna Gullers
 

Facts

Project: “Technology supported storytelling for engaged student learning”.

Participants: KTH (The Department of Learning in Engineering Sciences) and Berättarministeriet
Funder: Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation.

Virtual room for Math studies

As a spin-off of the success of Mattecoach online, Digital Learning at KTH has developed a platform TalkMath, a software program for students and teachers that makes it easy to study along with others – without having to meet IRL.
“It’s like a digital version of students’ study group in a library. The platform is open to everyone and could in principle work for any subject, but now we’ve built it for Mathematics because we’re at KTH,” says Stefan Stenbom from Digital Learning.
In a virtual study room you can, for example, chat with each other (anonymously if you wish), share a whiteboard or program together using an embedded programmig simulator.