Wayang Authoring - A Web-based Authoring Tool for Visual Storytelling for Children

By: Dr.-Ing. Wahju Agung Widjajanto (April 2011)

Zweitgutachterin: Prof. Dr. Andrea Sick


This research focuses on the development of the Wayang Authoring tool as it aims to assist children in creating and performing stories, developing an appreciation for cultural artifacts, and enhancing intercultural empathy while building a young storyteller community in a virtual world. This study seeks a framework of interaction design of an authoring media which is appropriate to support children’s narrative development. The concept of the tool is based on the narrative element of the ancient Indonesian art form wayang, a traditional two dimensional shadow puppet theater. To understand the user’s requirements and the cultural dimension, children and professional story performers who use wayang have been involved in the design process. In order to evaluate the tool, several workshops have been conducted with children from different cultural backgrounds as well as with their teachers. Wayang Authoring is composed of three elements: the imagination-building element, the creative acting element and the social interaction element. Children take existing materials as an inspiration tool, imagine what they themselves want to tell, create a story based on their own ideas, play with their creations, share their stories and creations with others, and reflect on their experiences at the end. This virtual creative production tool is expected to provide a space for young people to change their role from a simple user to a (co-)creator in the virtual and narrative worlds. The core contributions are in the field of web technology for storytelling. The uses of web-based authoring media enable children to put themselves into the process of developing stories. When they are connecting stories, they are connected and immersed with other children as well. They have to act and play by themselves or with others within the stories in order to experience the narratives. They train to have the skills to interact, to share their ideas and to collaborate constructively. This makes it possible for them to participate in today’s media-driven culture. This research found that a better understanding of how stories are crafted and brought to life in a performance tradition offers a better design of interaction of an authoring media. The handling of cultural artifacts supports the ability to understand different cultural codes and to pursue the learning process surrounding the original culture behind these artifacts.