The story, the touchscreen and the child: how narrative apps tell stories

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

Digital children’s literature is a relatively recently established field of research that has been seeking for its theoretical base and defining its position and scope. Its major attention so far has been on the narrative app, a new form of children’s literature displayed on a touchscreen computational device.

The narrative app came into being around 2010, and immediately attracted the attention of the academics. So far, various studies have been conducted to explore its educational potential, but very few have investigated the app for what it is in its own right. To bridge the gap, this study has explored the nature of the narrative app and the essential principles of its narrative strategies.

As the subject of this study concerns a variety of disciplines, this research has been conducted in an extremely interdisciplinary way in order to develop a thorough understanding of the narrative app. In general, it has consulted scholarship in children’s literature (picturebook studies in particular), narratology, computer science, game studies, social semiotics, film studies, media studies, communication studies, electronic literature and game design.

With this interdisciplinary approach, this study has attempted to define the subject of the study, identify some tendencies in its development, and most importantly, develop an original theory of storytelling and a narrative map that may be able to explain the intrinsic methods used in the narrative app storytelling as well as other digital and non-digital storytelling. The findings of this study seem to suggest that the narrative app does not display any essential differences from the codex and other forms of literature in terms of its narrative strategies, but it appears to have great potential to truly innovate storytelling.

It is suggested that this study may provide an effective theoretical scope and methodology for the study of the field of digital children’s literature, which may offer the potential to strengthen this field of research. The theoretical framework constructed by this study may be applicable to some educational approaches to the narrative app, and may also be useful for teaching new literacies.

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Iben Andreas Ch...