Help for children's transition to literacy

Part of the Esprit i3 (Intelligent Information Interfaces) programme, the STORIES project focuses on new kinds of information technology based tools that can facilitate the transition to literacy in young children. The tools are focused on the age group from around four to eight years old. The project promotes an approach to learning that is aimed at the development of social, communicative and emotional skills in the context of everyday activities.

The project objectives include developing a wearable camera, called the KidsCam, that can capture short sequences of interest in the child's environment. The device can operate on demand, but can also spontaneously record and retain an episode that leads up to an interesting event. The crucial insight is that events as shown from the perspectives of different children are interrelated. An event such as a fight, anger or joy typically involves several children. Such an event can be recorded from the different perspectives of those involved (adults or children).

The resulting document captures a tiny lesson in living. It can be kept as a memory, or a document for future reference or as a creative production (like the first paintings that children make).

The technology is being applied within two school environments, in Israel and in Denmark. The extreme versatility of the tools is one of the most compelling features of the project. The technology could facilitate the discovery of novel forms of education that contribute to social skills, literacy, communication and cross-cultural understandings.

The STORIES stand illustrates the conceptual, educational and technical elements of the project and progress. Video presentations on display show sessions with children in schools and from one of the workshops.

Contact Walter VAN DE VELDE, Starlab
tel +32 2 721 54 54
fax +32 2 725 51 13
email Wvdv@ping.be
website www.starlab.net/

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