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Participation With Inanimate Alice

Written by Laura Fleming
June 17, 2011

In the 1990s, Bloom’s Taxonomy was redesigned to better reflect learning in the 21st Century. At the top of the new pyramid is ‘Creating’ in which students create new products or point of view. Participants in transmedia narratives are inspired to repurpose the content and generate their own, thus encouraging creativity and innovation taking them all the way to the top level of the taxonomy. In the case of Inanimate Alice, it is the inspiration of her story that motivates students to want to create their own. Students around the world have used critical literacy skills to deconstruct the digital text as readers and have used the knowledge they gained to write and create their own next episodes of Alice using the same character, theme, and style. Using the same techniques and strategies that author Kate Pullinger has used to create the text, students are encouraged to co-create developing episodes of their own, either filling in the gaps or developing new strands of the narrative. Next episodes of the series have been created on PowerPoint, which take Alice on further adventures around the world at various points in her life. In addition, students have created interstitial episodes that fill in the gaps in Alice’s story.

Students who engage with this story are motivated to apply the principles of this narrative to their own traditional writing. In my own classroom, students were able to take the multimedia concepts learned in our Alice study and apply them directly to their personal narratives. They storyboarded their own lives and through the addition of sounds, music, images, and interaction they successfully enhanced their own writing. In addition, students were able to take strategies used in reading a digital novel and transfer those skills into reading a traditional text. In my class again, we spoke about how we learn about characters in traditional novels (i.e. character thoughts, actions, external character traits, internal character traits, characters reactions to problems and challenges, dialogue). Then we talked about what elements are important for learning about characters in a digital story (music, sounds, visual images, games, etc….) Students being taught how to read this digital novel were extremely connected to Alice as a character. They learn to weave all of the ‘special effects’ into their understanding of story both as readers and writers.

Inanimate Alice creates a virtual circle of storytelling where transmedia meets co-creation inspiring many learners to write and create next episodes in the Alice series. These next episodes have taken Alice all over the world and on some extraordinary adventures.

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