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Teaching Digital Literacy & Tech With a Story-Game Series

Inanimate Alice http://inanimatealice.com/ is a born-digital, ever-expanding transmedia storyworld that tweens and teens can read/play online for free and (soon) on a number of platforms. They then use the assets (music, sound, images, interactives) and a range of tech tools, along with the story framework, to create their own interactive stories and simple games.

 

The novel began as an entertainment, an exploration of electric literature, but educators and students around the world quickly adopted it for classroom and informal education use. They shared case studies, produced free educational materials, and posted collections of student stories (Google "Inanimate Alice" "Episode 5").

 

The hook is that Alice, the narrator, is a true digital heroine, an aspiring game designer and animator who travels around the world with her family. A bit lonely, she drew a boy named Brad, who lives on her player, and grows up along with her.

 

In her first episodes, she's 8 years old, living in remote northern China, and her Dad has gone missing. In subsequent episodes, Alice tells increasingly complex tales in other countries as she enters her teens. Each episode includes an embedded game, created by Alice.

 

Episodes 6-10, created in Unity, will be full-fledged story-games that players/readers can explore in 3D.

 

The Inanimate Alice website won the AASL 2012 award for top sites for educators.

 

Education Services Australia has adopted Alice for digital literacy instruction and commissioned a series of 12 interactive journals that students mix-up, mash-up to create multimedia stories. They have also commissioned Alice journals for second-language instruction in Japanese and Indonesian.

 

A grassroots project, with no marketing or advertising, Alice attracted thousands of educators and tween/teen fans around the world and millions of page views and continues to grow.

 

It's an excellent example of engagement with a robust storyworld (including games, community collaboration) and episodic, flexible content that invites learners from age 8 to teen to explore a range of curriculum topics: digital literacy, tech tools, ESL/ELL, language learning, literature and storytelling.

 

Here's a look forward from the producer, Ian Harper, by an education and literacy expert, Bill Boyd: http://literacyadviser.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/alice-through-the-looking-glass/

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