Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Teaching Multimodal Literacy with Inanimate Alice

Inanimate Alice is an interactive multimodal digital novel told from the perspective of Alice the main character. This transliteracy fiction story tells the story of Alice from the age of 8 years old. She gets into all sorts of interesting and often dangerous situations as they travel the world wherever her fathers work takes them. In each episode Alice is a few years older and the writing style, the games she creates, and her artwork develop accordingly. Alice is highly imaginative, and a developing game designer whose games are incorporated into the story. The reader interacts with the story on each ‘page’ in different ways and experiences a combination of text, sound, music, images and game play. The entire story is planned to be told over 10 episodes, the first was released in 2005 and there have since been another three episodes with Episode 5 been released on the 1st December 2014. The series is written and directed by Kate Pullinger and produced by Ian Harper.

Inanimate Alice has been used as an exemplar of a digital storytelling and has been widely recognised as an example of transmedia storytelling. Considering the multimodal world of internet and gaming there are not many good examples of this type of literacy and schools have been slow to recognise the value of using and teaching multimodal literacies. For some ideas check out the learning experience of my students and myself on our wiki. This is a record of an entire unit I taught based on Inanimate Alice to my Year 6 class (http://inanimatealice-aperspective.wikispaces.com). The fun part about ‘reading’ Inanimate Alice is that afterwards students can use what they have learnt to create their own episodes of Inanimate Alice, and even have them posted on the official website.


Inanimate Alice is an exciting and engaging story that has captured the imaginations of every class I have shared it with, and the teaching and learning possibilities are very broad. Not only that but the website is packed with extra student resources and teaching support materials, like the ‘Starter Activities Booklet’, the ‘Teachers Education Pack’, and links to the curriculum. One of my favourite resources is ‘Alice’s School Report’ which is a set of narratives in a graphic novel style of Alice’s adventures in other countries.


In The Classroom: this video shows an example of how a teacher is using Inanimate Alice in the classroom. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SZ0uSwIDKk


Interview with Kate: my Year 8 students loved Inanimate Alice so much they arranged a Skype interview with Kate Pullinger. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eliJOj0-jlA


The Website: on the 1st December 2014 Inanimate Alice Episode 5 will be released on the website. The website will also be getting a whole new look plus some extra features like a gallery of student created content and a developers journal. http://www.inanimatealice.com


This is your chance to dive into transliteracy with all the support and scaffolding you could possibly need as a teacher. It will provide you with so many opportunities to explore the multimodal literacies of our 21st century. They are relevant and I promise you they are fun and engaging. Give your students a chance to meet Alice and go on an adventure.


Inanimate Alice Episode 5 Trailer