Children’s story authoring with Propp’s morphology
Hammond, Sean Paul
This thesis applies concepts from Vladimir Propp’s model of the narrative structure of fairy tales (Propp’s morphology) to a story authoring tool for children. A computer story authoring application based on Propp’s morphology is developed and evaluated through empirical studies with children. Propp’s morphology is a promising model of narrative for a children’s story authoring tool, with the potential to give children a powerful mental model with which to construct stories. Recent research has argued for the use of computer-based interactive narrative authoring tools (which enable the construction of interactive narrative computer games in which the player can affect or change the plot) to support children’s narrative development, and a number of interactive narrative systems use Propp’s morphology as their underlying model of narrative. These interactive narrative tools have many potential learning benefits and a powerful motivational effect for children, who enjoy using them to create narrative games. The potential of an interactive narrative system based on Propp’s morphology to support children’s construction of narratives seems great, combining Propp’s rich narrative model with the motivational benefits of interactive narrative. Before the application of Propp’s morphology in an interactive narrative game creation tool to support children’s writing could be pursued, it was necessary to study children’s story writing with Propp’s morphology. How can Propp’s morphology be represented in a story authoring tool for children? Can children apply Propp’s abstract narrative concepts to the task of creating their own original stories? How does using Propp’s morphology affect the stories written by children? Using the Propp-based authoring tool that is presented in this thesis children were able to grasp Propp’s abstract concepts and apply them to their own story writing. The use of a story authoring tool based on Propp’s morphology improved some aspects of the narrative structure of the stories written by children, and children reported that they enjoyed using the tool and felt it was helpful to their story writing. This thesis lays the foundation and identifies the methods for further study of children’s appropriation of narrative structure by constructing stories using a story authoring tool based on Propp’s morphology.
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