Soliciting suggestions about IF for education

I posted this to RAIF, but since I know there are readers here who don’t follow RAIF closely:

Graham and I have been talking about a revamp of the Inform website, and one of the things we’d especially like to add is some support for teaching with Inform and/or interactive fiction in general. But since neither of us has any actual experience of presenting Inform in a classroom, we’d love some feedback about what it would be most useful for us to offer. Particulars follow the cut.

The Inform website is in the process of being revised, and we hope to add two things that may be of interest to teachers, librarians, and professors:

— occasional news, highlighting interesting projects being done with Inform 7
— a section of the website dedicated to Inform and IF in the classroom.

Since this is now at the planning and design phase, we’d be interested to hear from you. We’re especially hoping for

1. Accounts, however brief, of people actually using IF or (especially) Inform 7 for educational projects. What did you do with it? What level or age range were the students? What succeeded? What didn’t? If you’d like to have your project showcased in a news story on the site, are there images of your school or quotes from students you’d like to share?

2. Lesson plans, tutorials, hand-outs, links to websites, etc., which you’ve created and would like to share with other teachers or professors. We would, of course, provide full attribution and not claim any sort of copyright on these; the idea is just to help other teachers find resources for their projects.

Some of the IF-related teaching projects we know about are already linked from

but we’re aware there is probably more out there — and of course we wouldn’t want to host any materials actually on the Inform site without invitation from the authors.

3. Any requests or suggestions about what sorts of resources would be helpful to you: are there documents you would have especially welcomed? Information that was hard for you to find? Guidelines about age-appropriate IF for various levels?

2 thoughts on “Soliciting suggestions about IF for education”

  1. It was my last semester in academia, so looking through my files it seems I wasn’t very aggressive about archiving, but when I taught a Programming Languages survey to senior Computer Science majors I gave them the Inform translation of the French poem for amusement, and then offered extra credit for anybody who wrote something in Inform. Unfortunately, there were no takers, but then it was the last semester for most of them, too.

  2. Fantastic idea! I am a high school biology teacher and nonprogrammer. For some time, I’ve had the idea of writing IF-type games that require students to use correct actions and vocabulary terms as part of the learning process. This might help more students get engaged with the course content to a greater degree and will (hopefully) emphasize the relevance of the terms and processes, as well. Titles might include “Respiration – a walk through the mitochondrion” or “The Nitrogen Cycle”, etc. I created a couple of fairly complex non-science games for my own kids in the Alan 3 language, which was quite easy to learn. Am just now learning I7. (Didn’t get far a few years ago when I tried I6). What would really be nice to have for the purpose of learning and teaching Inform 7 is an in-depth tutorial to demonstrate _and explain_ step-by-step how to build a game that uses many complex features. The manual is great; the examples in it are great; but, I am thinking more along the lines of an expanded version of “Disenchantment Bay” (from the I7 recipe book) to show, in one document, how the process of planning, writing and coding IF unfolds. Easy for me to say – I know something like that would take a tremendous amount of time. OK, I’ll stop here.

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