Worth a Wow: Inanimate Alice

The first word that flew out of my mouth as I first interacted with Inanimate Alice was “Wow.”  I didn’t want to be hasty in making judgments, so I continued with episodes two and three—continuing to say “Wow.”  As I wrapped up with episode 4 and additional research of what kids are doing with their own productions, again—you guessed it, “Wow” tumbled out of my mouth.  Now, this could mean that I have a limited vocabulary, but I’ll choose to believe it means that Inanimate Alice is worth a “Wow” and consideration in education.

Inanimate Alice Description: Inanimate Alice is an enaging transmedia story written by Kate Pulinger, directed by digital artist Chris Joseph, and produced by Ian Harper.  It gets progressively more challenging as Alice gets older in each episode.  The reader interacts with Alice as she matures, lives in various cultures, and explores technology with her imaginary digital friend Brad.  In episode one she is 8, and in the final episode four she is 14.  Suspense propels readers to follow Alice in episodes to China, Italy, Russia, and England. Readers are encouraged to fill in the gaps and create their own stories.

Experience and Applications: I began interacting with Inanimate Alice with my kid, but I freely admit that I couldn’t wait and jumped ahead after I tucked her into bed.  We had a blast going through the lesson plans together, modifying them in our own ways. It didn’t take but a minute for me to see how setting, tone, character, rhythm, symbolism, etc. were coming alive before my child’s eyes, ears, hands, and imagination in a way that I didn’t begin to fully experience until my undergraduate English major courses.   Inanimate Alice, the lessons, and student examples seem to give a glimpse of what may be to come and how this generation of digital natives can process, consume, and generate literature in a variety of ways. 

Inanimate Alice Resources:
Laura Fleming wrote A New Model of Storytelling on Edutopia that also caught my attention.  Laura seems to have a passion for this topic and to be a great resource for a newbie such as myself who is beginning to explore transmedia storytelling in education.  She blogs about it at EdTech Insight. Read Laura’s informative post on Digital IS here about Inanimate Alice!  Browse additional information on Digital IS about transmedia storytelling in education.
Further Reflection and Related Possibilities:  In the grander picture, this all relates to my What’s a Book? Is this a Book?  and to Illuminated Text and Kinetic Typography Bring Reading to Life posts. This also reminded me of Storyrobe and Storykit apps, where for the past year my daughter has created stories that include pictures, words, and sound effects (the piano for a menacing shark).  Transmedia storytelling and these types of apps seem to have the ability to empower students as writers and readers to interact with the written word in a way that involves the senses and meaningful connections to reality.  This is a topic we owe to ourselves and students to continue to explore!  How can you envision using transmedia storytelling like Inanimate Alice?

Happy exploring and interacting!

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