HCII ~ School of Computer Science ~ Carnegie Mellon University

Collaborative Storytelling with a Virtual Peer

Sam Waving When children tell stories with their peers, they naturally collaborate: co-authoring, corroborating, criticizing, in essence, acting as active listeners. And, their reliance on one another, as well as the creative collaboration itself, benefits their literacy development. An interactive system that engages children in collaborative narrative might be able to have a similarly positive effect on children's development. However, due to the spontaneous nature of improvisational play among children, the problem is a challenging one from both a technical, and a behavioral standpoint. Click here for publications.

This research seeks to design, build and evaluate a virtual peer that can collaboratively build a story with a child. By modeling the roles, speech acts and turn-taking behaviors children use while storytelling, we hope to create a system that can elicit collaborations from the child.

The project has three goals:
1. Analyze children's collaborative behaviors during storytelling and build a model of the different roles taken by the children, as well as their associated speech acts and turn-taking cues.
2. Use this model as the basis for an implementation of an interactive storytelling peer where keyword spotting, natural language processing with commonsense reasoning, and nonverbal cues to floor management are used to realize a real-time collaborative interaction between children and an embodied conversational agent.
3. Evaluate the engagement and educational potential of the collaborative system.