Chapter 7 – Halftime performance

Week 7: February 27, 2023 – March 4, 2023

Blog entry by Damian Xie

Summary of the week: On Monday, we went to Highland Elementary School to conduct a PPT-based storytelling playtest for the first graders, which was very well received by the children. And after the playtest, we had a roundtable discussion with the teachers who teach at the elementary school, who generously shared their experiences as storytellers and suggestions for storytelling styles. We spent two days on Wednesday and Thursday to finish the PPT production and rehearsal for the half presentation, during which both the programmer and UX designer brought out preliminary prototypes to help us present the finished product during the presentation. On Friday we were the last group to finish our presentation with enthusiasm and fluency.

Storytelling playtest in Elementary school

With Anthony’s help, we were able to connect with his former alma mater, Highland Elementary School, and on Monday, four members of our group went on a storytelling playtest.

Based on our existing storybook “This is owl”, we created a simple linear animation by using PowerPoint to present and demonstrate the story to the first graders, we found that the children were very keen to speculate on the subsequent development of the plot and to interact with the storyteller.

We also found that the children’s interest curve peaked when there were animated effects that required interaction, and they expressed a strong desire to express themselves in response to the narrator’s questions.

The children were actively involved in the interactive storytelling
A group photo in front of the school after successfully completing the playtest

Round table meeting with teachers

At the end of our playtest, we had a roundtable meeting with the in-service teachers who gave us valuable advice on the following areas.

  • 1 – Recommended the right type of stories and specific author information, e.g. Mo Williams, and animal world stories.
  • 2 – Learn to control the children’s activity during the interactive storytelling process, as it can be counterproductive if they are too active.
  • 3 – Children of different ages have different preferences for stories.
We had a great time talking with all the teachers at the school.

Half presentation preparation

Since our Half presentation is coming up on Friday, we are all working very hard to prepare for this presentation. First of all, in terms of our interaction design, we have carried out the third iteration of the interface, and Felicia has made new visual effects based on the existing feedback.

Our beautiful new version of the interface!

Yanyan has completed the prototype of the program part, and there is a demo to show in the half presentation.

our programming prototype

presentation rehearsal

We rehearsed the presentation on Wednesday and Thursday and kept adjusting and iterating our PPT content based on our presentation. We carefully designed each page and did our best to improve all the visual details, such as color guidance and coherence, graphic-based and text-based content presentation, until Thursday evening when we finished the official version of the PPT.

Thursday’s rehearsal we also wanted to do our best, so we all practiced very hard until 10:00 p.m. I believe that our efforts will be rewarded!

Is 10:00 P.M. everybody is tired!

Half presentation

Here is the link for our presentation:

ETC Pittsburgh Projects, Fall 2023, Halves Presentations – Day 3 – YouTube

Finally, we came to the formal debriefing session. After observing the excellent debriefing results of the previous groups, we were under considerable pressure as the last group, but we always remembered to keep our enthusiasm and focus. The audience was full of questions and seemed very excited about our final product!

Yeah, we did it!

It has been a very busy and fulfilling week, and marks the halfway point of our entire semester project. Despite the many difficulties and challenges we have encountered in this fumbling process, we have still come this far, and we should all be proud of what we have accomplished on this journey!

Although we have completed a good Half Presentation, there is still a lot of work to be done in the coming weeks and we need to work hard to speed up our tool design and come up with a clear and understandable product for our soft opening.

Let’s keep working hard next week!