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Researching and designing learning environments with Internet technology for children Alice C. Mello Cavallo, Alva L. Couch, Downing Cless, Marina Bers Tufts University Arts, Sciences, and Engineering Departments of Computer Science, Drama and Dance , Child Development. What is Forum Theater ?.

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Vft poster presented at tufts university center for children tucc

Researching and designing learning environments with Internet technologyfor childrenAlice C. Mello Cavallo, Alva L. Couch, Downing Cless, Marina BersTufts University Arts, Sciences, and EngineeringDepartments of Computer Science, Drama and Dance, Child Development.

What is forum theater
What is Forum Theater ? Internet technology

  • Augusto Boal

  • Bertolt Brecht

  • Paulo Freire

Vft poster presented at tufts university center for children tucc

What is Virtual Forum Theatre Internet technology?

  • Web-based environment for creating collaborative digital drama.

  • Digital drama is a multimedia presentation of a dramatic play using digital means, including audio, images, and video.

  • An open constructionist learning environment, or microworld (Papert, 1990).

  • A Computer Supported Collaborative Learning -CSCL and multi-user virtual environment – MUVE.

  • Based on Forum Theater (Boal, 1974).

  • Safe environment in which to play out different responses to conflict.

Goals of qualitative research
Goals of qualitative research Internet technology

  • Understand how Internet-based drama learning environments can enhance learning of expressive fluency, argumentation skills and self-confidence in disenfranchised children.

  • Work with those children to develop their technological fluency through expressive arts, and at the same time help them to develop a critical awareness and a rehearsal for social change.

Research questions
Research questions Internet technology

  • How does learning take place in this technology/theater environment with respect to developmental stages?

  • What are the distinctions between learning in a virtual, Internet based one? How does the technology help this process?

  • How can we design on-line collaborative environments that are sufficiently open and powerful to facilitate such learning interactions?

Why vft
Why VFT Internet technology

  • Disadvantaged children usually do not have the possibility to communicate or express themselves freely.

  • This might impact the full development of their argumentation skills and problem solving. They might become shy and apathetic.

  • VFT can give them one vehicle with which to improve their expressive fluency.

  • VFT aims to establish an electronic environment of free expression that exploits and builds upon the anonymous characteristics of Internet interactions.

  • At the same time children can become more acquainted with the technology that might be essential for their future work life.

Vft poster presented at tufts university center for children tucc

VFT Internet technology will allow participants to :

choose pictures from an existing gallery of characters, props and scenery

import pictures of props, scenery and characters

draw props, scenery and characters

create and animate own characters

video tape the whole play using web-cams

modify existing frames of the actions and dialogs

play the dramatic production on web-browsers

Vft poster presented at tufts university center for children tucc

  • Children physically located in widely separated areas can: Internet technology

    • share their experience with others in the same situation,

    • safely elaborate their struggles,

    • pursue points of view and formulate solutions to the same kind of problems that their peers experience in another part of the town, state or country in which they live.

Vft poster presented at tufts university center for children tucc

  • suggest a change in frames of actions via web chat Internet technology

  • role-playing and trials of solutions to conflicted and oppressive environments.

  • propose a new on-line solution to an existing conflict.

  • interact with peers on the WWW in order to help validate or invalidate the solution.

    This allows us study the extent to which this online validation works in aiding children in the process of expressing themselves.

Audience Internet technology

  • Target audience for our study is minority children age 10 to 13 : Brazilian, Afro-American and Latino.

  • Otherwise:

    • Any school age children, especially the most shy ones.

    • Existing Theater of the Oppressed groups.

    • People who want help with personal issues.

Design architecture
Design Architecture Internet technology

Dramatic faces
Dramatic Faces Internet technology

Gui storyboard
GUI Storyboard Internet technology

Vft poster presented at tufts university center for children tucc

Real One playing SMIL Internet technology

Qualitative methods
Qualitative Methods Internet technology

  • Based on Qualitative Research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory (Strauss 1998). Utilize the “soft-nosed” positivistic approach (Miles & Huberman, 1994), and ethnographic analyses (Spradley,1980) as needed.

  • Interview children, survey their peers and parents, videotape workshops with children; create transcripts of their work and computer generated logs of their creation and interactions.

  • Analyze and interpret their play and how they interact over the Internet when creating it in order to understand their learning progress.

Problems Internet technology

  • Do we get IRB approval ?

  • Do we have enough time to finish the prototype ?

Conclusion Internet technology

  • Through this applied research we will create a mini study in order to verify the theoretical background and how the children interact with the prototype.

  • We expect our qualitative study to show positive and effective results in the learning of expressive arts, engagement and self-confidence through the use of VFT.

  • We hope to get enough feedback from the children in order to adjust our design and future implementations.