The Magic of Inanimate Alice

A transmedia digital-born story experience awaits students worldwide.

GUEST COLUMN | by Ian Harper

CREDIT InanimateAliceThis December, students around the world will be transported into an interactive, multi-sensory literacy experience with the release of Episode 5 of Inanimate Alice. With the launch this latest Episode, we are inviting school districts to sign-up for a new pilot.

Inanimate Alice is a transmedia storytelling project that marries text with sound, movie and gaming elements to create an experiential story crafted to build digital literacy skills for today’s youth. In this digital-born story, readers are transported into the world of Alice Field, a globetrotting girl who wants to be a game designer.

Watching them discover new ideas and discuss them, as I work as a facilitator rather than the keeper of knowledge, was priceless.

With the release of Episode 5, the creative team has produced over one and a half hours run time of densely populated, audio-visual narrative. As a producer, the quality, intensity and the length of this latest episode makes me proud, and it will surely thrill today’s digital savvy learners.

Some elements that will delight game-minded learners and teachers include:

Districts that sign-up for the pilot will, for the first time, be able to download Alice onto local servers and computers. Images and video footage, scripts, music and sound effects files, artwork and animations will be accessible that can be used to create lesson plans and remixed by students for their creative work.

Pilot districts will also have a unique opportunity to work hand-in-hand with our experts to create lesson plans to further enhance the impact of Alice in the classroom.

Like so many students today, Alice is growing up digitally. In Episode 5, students will “step into her world,” and create their stories and art based on the Alice series. Educators can help students find their spark for building literacy skills by using any number of the classroom activities or the inspirational and motivational homework assignments, all created in collaboration with a steering group of qualified educators.

Thousands of ‘early-adopting’ teachers across the US have already been using Alice. In a recent article, 2013 Kentucky Teacher of the Year Kristal Doolin wrote that “watching them discover new ideas and discuss them, as I work as a facilitator rather than the keeper of knowledge, was priceless.”

Inanimate Alice is that wonderful thing, a universal story with the power to engage students of all abilities and nationalities. Students can learn a lot from Alice who, having traveled widely from an early age, is sympathetic to the plight of others. Multi-cultural, multi-lingual and a would-be multimedia artist, Alice is a champion of ICT education and the empowerment of girls in a male-dominated world.

We are committed to maintaining this aspirational story for free online in perpetuity so students and educators around the world can enjoy it.

A recent report from Digital Promise, “Improving Ed-Tech Purchasing,” points to the challenges districts face when trying to identify potential game-changing programs. As one assistant superintendent put it “If there’s a good vendor out there doing wonderful things, it’s hard to find that vendor.”

We believe piloting Inanimate Alice’s Episode 5 is the precisely what is being recommended by Digital Promise in its report.

It wasn’t simply that Inanimate Alice is another good story to read with your class, but rather, according to Doolin, an opportunity to change “the trajectory of the classroom.”

Ian Harper is the producer of Inanimate Alice. Watch teacher Kristal Doolin transform her class with Alice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SZ0uSwI  If you would like to discuss a pilot project, please write directly to Ian at ian@inanimatealice.com

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