Designing a smart toy interactive setting for creating stories

Smart and robotic toys introduce more possibilities than ever for building interactive settings for playful learning. Here we explore their use for supporting the development of storytelling skills in children. Previous research on interactive storytelling prototypes has already shown their potential to this end. However, the focus has often been set on technical implementation issues or using very specialized hardware that may limit their potential to go outside the lab. The lack of a general and integrated application with off-the-shelf affordable components has encouraged our research on how to combine a tablet application with an existing smart robotic toy, so that it supports the creation of structured stories and children's reection on them. Thus, this paper reports on the design and development of a multimedia storytelling application that includes a smart robotic toy, adopting a user-centric approach with iterative design and user-testing cycles.

keywords: Interactive Digital Storytelling, Smart Toys and Robots, Structured Narrative Support, Application for Primary School Children