Dream Traveler: A Collaborative Storytelling Experience

Jillian Suzanne, MA 2016 Rhode Island School of Design Master’s Thesis: The Playful Exchange | Purposeful Play and The Art of Deeply Noticing

Dream Traveler is a storytelling model that uses purposeful play to initiate creative collaboration with meaningful and authentic exchange to help guide youth toward self-empowerment. An important consideration of Dream Traveler is the construction of a ready-to-use toolbox. Designed to assist and inspire parents and educators, who do not feel they have the imagination or creative talent to work with youth in this manner. Engaging with Dream Traveler enables dreamers to question the world around them, develop problem-solving skills, gain critical awareness, and participate in opportunities to effectively make decisions necessary to create personal change. A meaningful dialog, even guised within a fantastical story can cover countless topics of concern as they flow in and out of an experience fashioned around purposeful play.
Purposeful play provides opportunities for inquiry-based learning, during which children explore answers to their questions through hands-on interaction with materials, build their questioning skills, and enhance their understanding of key academic concepts. A recent research summary for the Minnesota Children’s Museum “The Power of Play” supports these findings: “In the short and long term, play benefits cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development…When play is fun and child-directed, children are motivated to engage in opportunities to learn.” 
Gamification uses an empathy-based approach (such as design thinking) for introducing, transforming and operating a service system that allows players to enter a game-full experience to support value creation for the players and other stakeholders. My goal is to impart skills to aid self-regulation and promote creative problem solving while inspiring empowerment. Using mental visualization exercises and prompts to assist and inspire story conception, youth are taught to breath, focus, and recognize how to regulate control over their bodies, thoughts, and responses.
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