TellTable: Creative Storytelling on Microsoft Surface


June 1, 2009


Xiang Cao, John Helmes, Sian Lindley, and Abigail Sellen


Microsoft Research Cambridge


TellTable, a system created in the Socio-Digital Systems group, utilizes Microsoft Surface technology to provide an interactive storytelling experience, similar to how children would tell stories using physical toys. Children can create various digital characters and sceneries on Surface, made out of photos taken of real world objects and environments as well as finger paintings. By manipulating these characters using multi-touch gestures, children can narrate, act and record imaginative stories together, before sharing them with friends later on.

TellTable was deployed in a primary school, and received overwhelmingly positive feedback. It has seen crowds of kids create stories featuring characters as diverse as Ninja chickens and rampaging teddy bears. Teachers were also enthusiastic about the potential of TellTable as an education tool, to help children develop communication skills and to create interactive tutorials when teaching foreign languages.