Inspiration

Our earlier parents survey among 168 parents shows that 60% parents have an overwhelming desire to greaten their children's creativity, better share own ideas, and problem-solving skills. However, parents think traditional apps are more like a closed box, with the predefined path inside and “not designed to help develop creative thinkers.” (Resnick, 2007). The traditional app confined, rather than help with children's creativity.

What it does

Build a Story provides an open conversation with children, to guide children to create their own imaginative stories. Once the story is created, Build a Bear will capture the imagination by retelling the whole stories.
This will help the child's practice in language use, narrative building abilities, development of causal reasoning skills, creative problem solving and clear communication through speech abilities. (White,2012).

How we built it

This experience is designed by following the spirit of creativity. According to MIT Media Lab, creativity is a spiraling process in which children imagine what they want to do, create a project based on their ideas, play with their creations, share their ideas and creations with others, reflect on their experiences. By working with Educational professionals, we created "Build a Story" by combing Amazon Alexa and IBM Watson technology. We are also developing our own algorithm to improve the experience.

Challenges we ran into

The biggest challenge was to design an experience which extracts most imagination from children, and keep the experience fun enough. We tried the spectrum from predefined path game to Dungeons & Dragons style, then to the current stage of the open conversation. Our children test shows that while most children were aspired by their own created story, some children need extra help for the next story plot generation. So we are working on the AI technology for next story prediction.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

This idea received initial investment from the College of William and Mary.

What we learned

  1. A kid product must be fun and strong interactive with children because children have a very short attention span.
  2. A successful kid product should bring educational value to parents

What's next to Build a Story

We are working on a Ph.D. machine learning program to build the story prediction function to help children generate next story plot when they get stuck. The predictions are calculated real-time within the current story context. and consisted of two levels of prompt. o First level prompt: If children have difficult to produce next story plot, the system will able to generate concepts candidates based on the current story context. These candidates is used for sparking children's idea. For example, “A bunny is hungry, she went to a restaurant, what happened next?” The system generated prompt might be “Can you think something about a carrot?”. This prompt is at the stage of the minimum viable product. o Second level prompt: Similar to the first level prompt but will provide complete story plot prediction. In above case, the second level prompt might be: “Bunny called the waiter and ordered a fried carrot.” This prompt is at the stage of the minimum viable product.

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