Project partners: Cooperative Innovations, University of Sheffield

The aim of this project is to establish ways in which XR can provide new storytelling opportunities for children. XR Stories funding will support the design of a new platform (Storyland), and a set of tools to enable children to tell the stories that are important to them.

Storyland will provide children with the chance to create a narrative from both assets they create themselves and those from the story worlds they already inhabit. Cooperative Innovations, the company leading this project, aim to create a tool which is not only engaging and innovative, but also accessible and inclusive. The team are aiming to create content which is world-leading in challenging issues around accessibility and engaging marginalised audiences.

The project aims to develop content that is reflective of the Primary Curriculum for English, and informed by relevant education research. The team will be working with Dr Becky Parry and the School of Education at the University of Sheffield to ensure the project is informed by recent research and education policy, curriculum and practice.

The team will create a playable demo, and undertake user testing as part of the project. The demo will consist of groups of children working together to create a ‘Storyland’ and perform a story in it. The demo groups will be carried out with children of a range of different ages and abilities, ensuring that the needs of children with disabilities and those who experience communication difficulties are met. The workshops will be designed to encourage collaboration and to play to each individual child’s strengths, passions and skills.

Storyland will work with VR headsets, providing children with an immersive experience of the world they’re constructing, where they can embody the characters they’ve created. The project will also develop an iPad app that will offer a window into what’s happening inside the headset and as a way for children to add their creations from the physical into the virtual world.

Information for parents:

Storyland is a place that exists in the digital world that children can access either using smart devices or VR headsets. It’s a place they can make their own using their drawings and props from the books, television stories or movies they love.

Groups of children can work together to create something in their very own ‘Storyland’ and then perform a story in it.

In the VR headset children get an immersive experience of the world they are creating and can embody characters. The tablet app offers a window into what’s happening inside the headset and a way to get things from the physical world into the virtual world.

Cooperative Innovations’ approach is informed by a combination of Primary Curriculum for English and other relevant research. Their aim is to encourage collaboration and to play to everyone’s strengths, passions, and skills.

Children will be able to take on any or all of the following roles:

  • Designer – In VR they can use a simple tool to paint in 3D, making props, decorations, or character avatars. Using a smart device they can add their own hand drawn elements into the virtual world.
  • Writer – Children will be able to choose from a selection of narrative structures, think about how many characters there will be and write a script for each character to follow, all through a smart device.
  • Director – Children will be able to make editorial choices such as the location, what the weather is like, or the time of day. They can then manage and record the performance, keep everyone to the script, and help the cast.
  • Actor – Children will be able to act in the headset to embody the characters, view their performance, check it, and maybe try another take.

Categories: Performance