Educational design research and Twine

Developing the "Fantastinomio" for digital storytelling in schools


Design-based research in education (also known as educational design research, EDR) has long been making an argument for context-based, participatory and iterative design of educational interventions. At the same time, free software has enabled the community-based development of applications that resolve shared problems.

In recent years, free software applications like “Twine” have been driving the revival of text adventures and independent game development. Interactive digital narratives, or nonlinear, branching multimedia stories hold numerous advantages for education, as they are able to convey knowledge in a play-based, multiperspective fashion.

In this presentation we will look at the “Fantastinomio”, a simple storytelling creator based on Twine. Inspired by the ideas of Gianni Rodari and the “grammar of fantasy”, it has been developed with the participation of South-Tyrolean and Portuguese elementary schools to promote collaborative, subject-related storytelling that can be adapted for numerous learning goals. The case is made for a dialogue between free software and educational design research, as both orientations share similar goals and can benefit from each other.