I always like finding examples of classroom work that is soundly pedagogically based, is future-focused and involves the use of ICTs in authentic and appropriate ways. I blogged a couple of years ago about Inanimate Alice, the story story of Alice, growing up in the early years of the 21st century. It uses a combination of text, sound, images, and games as Alice takes us on a journey through her life from the age of eight through to her twenties.
This morning I received an email pointing me to some of the work being done by teachers with this story. In New Zealand Inanimate Alice has been promoted by the National Library, and they report an active user base of teachers using the resources they provide to support the work students are doing with the story.
Among them is the work that Shaun Wood has developed with his class taking the story of Alice to Samoa, where they have written their own sequence of events, based on their own research – it is a fine effort clearly demonstrating the depth of investigation the story has inspired. The kids appear so keen to work on “what comes next?”
And there’s plenty of support for teaches who are looking for creative and imaginative ways of using this story with students. In the US, Laura Fleming, an elementary school librarian and media specialist in New Jersey, has taken on the role of “curator of the Inanimate Alice archive”. Laura has created an Educators tab on Alice’s Facebook page and is building a list of valuable resources there.
Among the resources are two educator packs that I’ve had a chance to browse and I think will be extremely useful for teachers seeking to use Inanimate Alice to teach digital literacy, character development, making connections, building schema, to teach critical thinking and evaluation, and more!
The first is an pack containing resources and lesson plans, focusing on the development of digital literacy. There are four lesson plans in this resource, addressing:
- Connections between story and medium
- Linking homodiegetic narration and autobiography with music and sound
- Autobiography and multimodality
- Exploring character development
Each plan is supported with a collection of student resources ready for use in the classroom.
The second pack contains a further four lesson plans supported by student resources. They cover:
- Exploring character development and paragraph structure
- Appreciating difference; Aboriginals, oral stories and podcasting
- Dealing with life; peer pressure, friends and school
- Life skills; focus on transportation
Reading through the plans it is easy to imagine how a range of other ideas could spawn from using this resource. To access these resources you simply need to register to receive a link to download them for free. It would be good to see some more NZ examples uploaded on the facebook page 🙂
2 thoughts on “More on Inanimate Alice”
Thank you for your mention of our blog. Both my students and I have really had fun with the process of critically analyzing inanimate stories as readers and writers. The final stories they created are fantastic and I am a proud teacher.
However I must thank Ian Harper and all the other educators who have left so many excellent teaching resources and student samples. This made teaching and guiding my students through the intricate world of multimodal literacy a breeze. I highly recommend Inanimate Alice as literacy experience.
Your update on ‘Inanimate Alice’ is much appreciated, Derek. It is the enthusiasm of the likes of Shaun Wood that is helping to make the series not just a “read only” digital text but an active and dynamic environment where user-generated content plays a vital part in the overall experience.
Teachers in New Zealand have taken Alice to their hearts. We know of many who are actively developing materials based on the series. Thanks to your blog some more have found their way to Alice.