TALK is the acronym of Training Autonomous Languages in kindergarten, it was a participatory design project. During a school year TALK has become a digital version of a traditional flannel board composed of a textile based support and a hidden interface that support children interaction through storytelling.
Children plan, craft, create, voice and manipulate flannel figures using the flannel base as a stage. Figures can be easily fixed to the set, and can be made of felt, flannel or wool or any other material (e.g. paper, cardboard, EVA or other fabrics).
The interface is made of three concentric boxes which hold a web cam, pico projector, mac mini and combines a set of lilypad arduino, resulting in design meant to be simple for children to interact with it. To record audio narratives and voice their characters, children need only to open the red box and press a red button. Figure movement is also recorded through a shadow puppet play which is embedded in the blue box To enable playback of the narrative, the blue box should be opened and the button pressed. Playback is obtained through a projection on the set (felt screen) and audio. Every child may have a flannelboard and customize and recreate it according to its interests and motivations, as well as making up and building new characters and figures.
This work is funded by FEDER funds through the Operational Competitiveness Factors Program - COMPETE and by National Funds through the FCT – Portuguese Foundation for the Science and the Technology within the Project: PTDC/CPE-CED/110417/ 2009, Hybrid Learning Materials Project.
The underlying concept of this project is the creation of innovative pedagogic materials that promote experimental, participatory and active involvement from an early age by bringing together the tradition of games and playful activities with the new interactive technological solutions. Our approach is to develop and evaluate a toolbox of Tangible Interfaces using low cost materials, such as paper and cardboard embedded with sensors.
Ana Medeiros, Pedro Branco, Clara Coutinho