Scaffolding children's collaborative story-telling through constructive and interactive story-making

Gelmini-Hornsby, Giulia (2012) Scaffolding children's collaborative story-telling through constructive and interactive story-making. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

The main aim of this research was to investigate how children's collaborative storytelling could be scaffolded through technologically mediated resources and how these resources can be made more effective by scaffolding around them. The benefits of providing children with resources, encouraging them to construct their own representations and to interact with each other while they make their story were investigated with respect to the quality of their subsequent storytelling.

The first piece of work presented in this thesis is a qualitative case study aimed at exploring how the collaborative storytelling task could be resourced with and without technology, as well as the effectiveness of scaffolding around the technology through adult guidance, and whether the potential benefits could be maintained once the additional guidance was withdrawn. Although the study found that the (technology mediated and non-technological) resources provided did not support for children's engagement in discussion and storytelling, providing scaffolding around these resources was effective at promoting discussion and good collaborative storytelling. Specifically, adult guidance designed to encourage children to articulate their story ideas through questions was shown to benefit children's engagement in discussion and the quality of their collaborative storytelling. Moreover, the children continued to engage in discussion and to produce well structured, rich and coherent stories once the additional guidance was withdrawn.

The second study presented in this thesis was of an experimental nature. It built on the findings from the case study by employing more structured resources as well as making the task more ecologically valid for the children through the introduction of a real audience and the matching of the participants with familiar peers (i.e., school mates). The study investigated the benefits of encouraging children to construct their own representations by comparing a task where children were presented with pictures they could manipulate and a task where children were encouraged to construct their own dynamic drawings over these pictures. The study found that children's collaborative stories were longer when the children were encouraged to construct their own dynamic drawings. The stories were also qualitatively better, as they contained more structural elements and were richer in style. However no differences were found between the stories in the two tasks with respect to extent to which children were able to build coherently on each others' contributions. This is argued to have been due to the fact that little shared understanding was established among the children about their collaborative story as a result of a lack of engagement in interactive discussion.

The third study was also experimental in nature, and it investigated the benefits of complementing children's construction with scaffolding specifically aimed at encouraging them to discuss their story as this was being made. The study compared a task where children making a story together were encouraged to construct their own dynamic drawings with a task where they were also required to use a set of question prompts to discuss their ideas. It was found that when they were required to engage in reciprocal questioning, the children discussed their story more. The quality of the children's collaborative stories was also better when the children were supported through question prompting. Not only were the stories longer, but they also contained more structural elements and were richer in style. Moreover, when they were telling their stories, the children built more coherently on each other's contributions. Finally, a correlation was found between the number and type of questions asked by the children while they were making their stories together and the quality of the stories produced. These findings suggest that the engagement in discussion combined with the construction of dynamic drawings encouraged children to articulate and elaborate on their story ideas, therefore enabling the production of longer and better stories. Also, the children's engagement with each others' ideas may have facilitated the establishment of a shared understanding about the collaborative story, thus making it possible for children to build on each others' ideas during storytelling.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Ainsworth, S.
O'Malley, C.E.
Keywords: Storytelling, authorship, collaboration
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Psychology
Item ID: 13911
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2014 09:37
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2016 21:33
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/13911

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