David Kleeman: Discovering Storytelling Possibilities with Technology


David Kleeman speaking at Launch Kids

In a talk at today’s Launch Kids conference at Digital Book World 2016 called “Children’s Global Media Landscape,” David Kleeman, senior vice president of global trends at Dubit, discussed how artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality are changing how kids consume stories. With smartphones and tablets allowing them to access limitless amounts of content, Kleeman argued that storytelling not only exists through books but also games and apps.

Based on surveys primarily from 1,000 families in the United Kingdom and 1,000 from the United States, Kleeman said that while content may be king, it’s not influential without discoverability. One thing promoting discoverability is artificial intelligence, which—like IBM’s learning tool CogniToys—is received best when pitched the right way.

Virtual reality and augmented reality are also seeing growth and playing a larger role in kids’ experiences with content. However, many questions remain with these storytelling formats: for instance, while video games consist of a director to guide you through them, how will allowing a kid to be his/her own director affect their experience?

Regardless of these new technological developments, Dubit’s data shows that 70 percent of kids still prefer print over ebooks. The challenge, Kleeman stated, remains in “getting kids to put down their devices to get that book across the room.” Another challenge is that kids have too many options for content. “On tablet, everything completes with everything else,” Kleeman explained. “When everything is a home button away, it’s hard to keep their attention on one thing.”

Kleeman revealed that tapping other interests also promotes reading and writing. In a Dubit study, researchers asked kids to bring them their favorite toy and book and almost every kid brought back a Minecraft book. “It doesn’t just extend to reading but also writing,” Kleeman explained. “In some UK schools, educators are using Minecraft as tool to get reluctant writers to write. it’s a literacy experience. Tapping into interests they already have is critical.”

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