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Peer Review

Inanimate Alice

by Kate Pullinger , Ian Harper , Chris Joseph


Overall Numeric Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 4.75 stars
Reviewed: Sep 23, 2008 by Teacher Education
Overview: Inanimate Alice is an interactive story. It is immediately engaging for readers from intermediate elementary grades through adults. As the stories progress, the interaction increases and the content is longer. The stories become more complex as the child (Alice) becomes older in the stories.
Type of Material: Digital Storytelling
Recommended Uses: Use in 4th-8th grade classrooms in small groups or individuals. It would be inspirational as a hook for a storytelling project. It engages both book lovers and gamers, so reluctant readers might really be brought into the process.
Technical Requirements: Flash, Adobe Flash Player
Identify Major Learning Goals: 1. Engage readers in good stories 2. Use current interactive technology 3. Model good storytelling
Target Student Population: Intermediate, middle grades, language arts methods classes, reading classes for teachers.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Basic computer skills are needed to get the most out of the site.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: Inanimate Alice is content that falls under new media. The content progressively increases in its interactivity and it is purposely designed that way. Additionally, the length of the presentations increases. The quality of the presentation is exemplary. There are currently 4 episodes and the plan is to have more than 10 episodes, each of which is self-contained. It is engaging and uses current technology to involve students. The downloadable pedagogy packets are strong from a reading/language arts perspective.
Concerns: Some of the downloadable packet is written in technological language which would difficult for the average user. The material is most appropriate for intermediate, upper elementary and above.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The downloadable Pedagogy Project lesson plans are very effective. The lessons excel in developing creative aspects of writing. It goes far beyond pencil/paper tasks. The stories themselves are intriguing and might really engage reluctant readers.
Concerns: A school district that doesn't have the resources for scanning, podcasting and doing the digital storytelling would not be able to use the pedagogy packets effectively. The site might be especially difficult for students who are visually impaired. We are not sure how screen readers would be able to decipher the materials.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: The pictures on the right hand side allow movement within the story after an element has been introduced. It is available in several languages. At times, readers can choose to continue the story or play a game which still requires reading.
Concerns: We are not certain whether visually impaired readers would have access to the site using a reader. Speed seemed to be controlled from within the site. Faster readers would have to wait for the next page and could be discouraged.

Other Issues and Comments: The software that is sold which allows teachers to create their own digital stories is only available for PCs.