StoryBOX (in Dutch called Spelfabriek) facilitated game-based language learning. Pupils learned to express themselves by physically linking words and concepts to their everyday lives.

Research shows that, in Dutch elementary schools, the results of language education are disappointing. In particular non-technical aspects, such as comprehension, are hard to teach. Waag's educational pilot StoryBOX focused on contextual language education. StoryBOX consists of tangible, technologically enhanced objects that facilitate learning by playing. This engages pupils to explore language, in an educational format that bridges formal and informal learning.

StoryBOX stimulated the use of the senses in language education. It enabled those who teach group three of Dutch elementary schools to create a flexible, physical environment in which pupils explore language using technologically enhanced interactive objects.

Interactive blocks

StoryBOX created an accessible and intuitive gaming environment for learning language and meaning. Gaming environments provide a safe and exciting place to experiment and explore the world. By playing games, cognitive and behavioral processes are being practiced, such as problem solving, vocabulary development and social skills. StoryBOX adds value for both teachers and pupils, by providing them with innovative tools. Pupils connected words and concepts to their everyday lives, using blocks enhanced with displays, sensors and other electronics.


Prototyping fulfilled an important role in the design process. By quickly materializing concepts, new ideas were generated and tested. Prototyping StoryBOX resulted in a fully functioning StoryBOX prototype that was evaluated in classrooms and was ready to be used.

This research was supported by the GATE project, funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Netherlands ICT Research and Innovation Authority (ICT Regie).

Project duration

29 Apr 2010 - 29 Feb 2012




  • Uva -ILO
  • Radboud Universiteit
  • HKU
  • Basisschool Piet Hein
  • De Kleine Kapitein
  • Marloeke van der Vlugt


  • NWO