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Using a Collaborative Virtual Role-Play Environment to Foster Characterisation in Stories
Article

, University of Edinburgh ; , University of New Mexico, United States

Journal of Interactive Learning Research Volume 14, Number 1, ISSN 1093-023X Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC

Abstract

This article reports the results of a field study evaluation of a virtual role-play environment, Ghostwriter, which was designed as a preparation activity for writing stories. It examines the effects Ghostwriter has on characterisation in children's imaginative writing. Ghostwriter is based on a commercial computer game. Two children and one role-play leader interact with each other in a perceptually realistic virtual world. Each role-player controls an avatar representing a character in the adventure story. Children can move these avatars around in the virtual world, and can communicate with others by sending and receiving typed messages. The virtual role-play environment was evaluated in a field study with 60 children aged between 10-12 years. The characterisation in stories written after using Ghostwriter was compared to the characterisation in stories written under normal classroom circumstances. The stories were compared using a new, fine-grained analysis scheme for assessing children's writing. The main result is that the stories written after 6 Robertson and Good the virtual role-play contained more indications of characters' relationships, particularly as portrayed through dialogue, than did normal classroom stories. Expert evaluation of the role-play sessions and resulting stories supports the view that the virtual role-play environment is particularly beneficial to children with low literacy standards.

Citation

Robertson, J. & Good, J. (2003). Using a Collaborative Virtual Role-Play Environment to Foster Characterisation in Stories. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 14(1), 5-29. Norfolk, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved November 13, 2019 from .

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