The affordances of multimedia portable devices can fundamentally change the ways in which children read and write, perceive and experience stories and foster and conceive creativity. While some educators and scholars enthusiastically claim that children’s creativity can be motivated and enhanced through digital interactions, others struggle to find ways to incorporate digital resources into their regular classroom instruction. The latter is mostly due to an unprecedentedly dynamic and uncensored market for children’s digital resources, such as tablet and smartphone apps, with no official guidance for what constitutes an effective resource and quality interaction.
Our research with a digital story-making/story-sharing app “Our Story” shows that the possibility to create and share stories in multimedia formats supports parent-child interaction at home, creative exploration in schools and children’s social skills in special needs classrooms. The Our Story app is freely-available online for Android tablets or iPads and can be used as an effective and creative tool for children aged 2-8 years at home or in schools.
Our latest study with Our Story (Kucirkova & Sakr, 2015*) shows that there is a complex interrelationship between the properties of digital and non-digital text-making resources and the socio-cultural norms associated with them, which impact on distinct facets of a child’s creative expression. For example, the number of options for editing, or possibilities for multimedia input all affect children’s creative expressions and adults’ support for it. Thus, despite the popular discourse that continues to view digital resources as detrimental to young children’s creativity, our research shows that different facets of resources shape children’s creativity differently, regardless of whether they are digital or not.
* Kucirkova, N., & Sakr, M. (2015). Child–father creative text-making at home with crayons, iPad collage & PC. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 17, 59-73.
Dr Natalia Kucirkova
The Open University, United Kingdom
‘Our Story’ iPad/tablet app, http://www.open.ac.uk/creet/main/projects/our-story