Literacy as Play

Child Drawing

Though we have seen several games made by libraries to teach information literacy (see related post) the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University has partnered with the Carnegie Public Library of Pittsburgh (with the support of a Grable Foundation Grant,) to create a program that allows children to create their own illustrated story.

Using a simple drag-and-drop interface, the young authors can easily select background settings, scenery objects, and featured characters. The brilliance of this program comes in the nearly limitless avenues through which their stories can progress. By making the system come with all the pieces, the targeted 2nd and 3rd grade audience will be able to let their imaginations run wild.

As there are many branches to the Carnegie Public Library System in the Pittsburgh area, the goal is to make this system accessible to multiple branches. This not only exposes a larger community to the creative tools, but allows the saved stories to be shared amongst a wide range of areas. In short, the students are learning the value of sharing information and creative works.

I am excited to see how this program will fit in to the excellent children’s programming at the CLP. It is easy to see how such a game would provide a seamless transition from such other games as My Sims, Runescape, or Animal Crossing.

I really love the idea of having tools at our fingertips that can produce simple yet effective outlets for our creative thoughts. I recently tried my hand at making a Comic Strip through a Facebook Application called My Comic Slideshows. With any photos you have at hand, you can create multi-panel comic strips complete with voice annotation if you wish. There is something fun about being able to create your own funny pages, but then you realize just how hard it is to be funny. :)

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