Being a transportable system, it is easy to move i-Theatre to the most suited place to perform the educational and creative activity.
By placing three panels taken from an internal drawer, the ‘wagon’ instantly turns into a small amphitheatre so that many children can gather round, supervised by a teacher or an adult educator.
Children draw the backgrounds and characters of their story, working alone or in group, and they can prepare a storyboard if already experienced.
At this point, they transform their creations into digital form by using the scanner-drawer and pushing the appropriate button.
The interaction with the digital system, on a touchscreen, is designed so that children can manipulate the character shapes that appear on the screen with a very simple gesture vocabulary (move, rotate, zoom), while the background remains still.
After setting the stage in their desired way, all they need to do is press the ‘record’ button and tell the story , by narrating with their own voices and moving the characters on the screen.
The overall interaction is simple and intuitive to support the animation making, using a basic visual language and a tangible interface based on objects, both of which suit the way children naturally experience the world and the fun related to brick-building games.
The objects of the interface range from: commonplace objects, such as a set of coloured boxes suitable to building and composing the sequence of the movie and some cards to activate special functions (e.g., digital cut); to private objects, owned by the individual child, as the ‘personal container’, represented by a wooden 3D shape that can even be personalized by the child, used to store every digital object (characters, backgrounds, stories) elaborated in the system.
When the animation making is finished, the movie can be watched on the touchscreen or projected on a wide area screen to be shared ‘cinema style’; it can be easily stored in the personal case for future visions or it can be exported to be watched on any electronic device, by using a dedicated USB.
In this way, children can share their creations inside the school, offer them to friends as a gift, to their parents, or maybe even to their grandfather.