Saturday, August 15, 2009

Inanimate Alice - Multimedia Fiction and Networked Novels

Came across this site Inanimate Alice and I was overwhelmed with ideas of how to use this in a classroom situation. Inanimate Alice is an interactive multimedia story (known as Transmedia, storytelling across multi media platforms) that grows as the main character gets older. The story starts in a simplistic way and gradually increases in readability and game challenge levels. There are 10 levels, four that have been released so far with Episode 5 coming sometime before the end of the year. All these episodes can be viewed for free!

What I liked about it was how it would appeal to visual learners and non-readers alike. Apart from reading, this is also a fantastic motivator for writing and publishing. I recently wrote a post about 'PowerPoints can be great' and this way of presenting a story lends itself (in simplistic terms for young children) as one that could be created in PowerPoint or Keynote because of the hyperlinking abilities. MovieMaker or iMovie could be used as well more so for the animated effects that could be added.

Have a look at this wiki Digital Literacy -Inanimate Alice, (Pascoevale Primary School) there are some fantastic examples of episodes students have written using PowerPoint.

Flight Paths by the same authors is a Networked Novel where readers can participate by adding fragments, ideas or chapters. Again, these stories would be great motivators for writing.

iTeach Inanimate Alice

Ways to use this in your classroom
  • create their own version of the story making themselves the main character
  • take one of the main characters of 'Inanimate Alice' and build a story around that character and their adventures
  • continue the story and create different chapters in different countries including details that pertain to the culture of that country
  • use special effects of photo editing software (Befunky, Fotoflexer, Lunapic, Picnik, Aviary) for the photos on their story
  • retell the story from another perspective
Available as well is the software tool with an all time site license for $242 (NZ). This allows students to create stories in the same way as Inanimate Alice.
Teachers can request the comprehensive Education Pack which has lesson plans and resource pack. There is also an Education pack available for the, an authoring tool.

What is important to note here is that the Multimedia fiction story cannot exist without the writing; that is what makes it powerful. There are striking images coming at you, but the writing is what leads you on, to think, predict, question and wonder what is next.
I believe that this genre of writing and reading is an important development in our literacy programme.

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