Inanimate Alice and the Maker Movement

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iTeach Inanimate Alice

Last week, I wrote a post about gamification in Inanimate Alice.

Today, I’m going to discuss what makes Inanimate Alice an ideal complement to the Maker Movement, which is gaining popularity in schools and libraries alike.

Think of the Maker Movement as DIY for technology. It’s not just a passing fad – web tools like KidsRuby, Gamemaker, Scratch, Storify and Mozilla Webmaker make it possible for people of all ages to learn to code, build games, and re-mix media. For libraries and schools, the Maker Movement means new opportunities for promoting digital, media, visual, and critical literacies (21st century literacies).

Enter Inanimate Alice. This transmedia storytelling project inspires students to create their own digital storytelling projects as a way to continue Alice’s adventures. It’s fan fiction for Inanimate Alice, and as students create these new stories, they are developing digital, media and visual literacy skills. They are using critical literacy to deconstruct and reconstruct Alice’s story into something entirely new.

In that way, Inanimate Alice (and other transmedia storytelling projects) provide natural and authentic extensions to the construction of new knowledge. Sounds very constructivist. It should, because that’s what the Maker Movement is.

After my post last week, I had the opportunity to talk to Ian Harper, the producer of the Inanimate Alice series. He is very interested in bringing it into U.S. classrooms. I believe libraries make a great entry point for that goal.

I can envision school and public libraries developing YA programs around Inanimate Alice. In the style of a one book, one community program, the series can be used as a central theme for everything from digital novel discussions to maker activities for digital storytelling and gamemaking. That could become a launching pad for integrating Inanimate Alice into school curricula. In fact, you can go to the Inanimate Alice web site and download an Education Pack of lesson plans that are aligned to the Core Curriculum. Working with an instructional designer, you could also develop activities beyond the Language Arts for subjects like Social Studies, Math and even Science.

So, I am on a mission of sorts to help Mr. Harper bring Inanimate Alice to U.S. schools and libraries. The quality of Inanimate Alice and the potential it presents for promoting 21st century literacies just make it too good for any librarian to overlook this gem!

Check out Laura Fleming’s post on how she represented Inanimate Alice at the recent Brooklyn Storymakers Maker Party. She even includes links to some of the students’ creations.

If you have incorporated Inanimate Alice into your library programming, please share your experiences.  And if you are interested in bringing Inanimate Alice to your library, contact me @hovious on Twitter!

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