Genie

  • 2006

Use a magic mirror to find and set free Genies trapped in objects around a building.

Genie allowed children visiting the Magna Science Adventure Centre to find and set free Genies trapped in objects around the building by Mardi, an evil wizard.

Magic Mirror screen on a tablet PC showing the mirror waking up

To free the Genies, children used a Magic Mirror, created by Magna the Magnificent.

The Genie is an RFID tag, and the Magic Mirror is a tablet PC with an RFID reader.

Two girls standing writing on their magic mirror PCs

As well as trapping the Genies, Mardi stole their stories and memories.

Magic Mirror screen on a tablet PC showing Mardi the Evil Wizard throwing the magic lamps into the furnace

Magic Mirror screen on a tablet PC showing Magna the Magnificent

Magna has built the Magic Mirrors and put signs where each of the Genies has been trapped, but not even he is powerful enough to give them new stories.

Only the imagination of young people can do that.

The Genie talks to the child through words on the Magic Mirror, and asks questions about itself and its world. These questions are the missing memories that Mardi stole.

The child answers by writing and drawing on the Magic Mirror, and so gives the Genie new memories and a new shape.

Writing

Tr3ses17pg7carapowers

marytowerpisa

marywind

"he eats clouds and drinks rain. which makes him quite clean and he often breaks wind that don't smell"

bigfamgrlstrangeland

Trspirepg19meeting

(the one above is my favourite)

Tr2ses24pg19fam2grlsmetgenie

Tr2ses26pg11yngfamladbattle

"Battle was in the north castle lots of people came to the castle and killed him He could not do anything at all." [written by a 5 year old boy]

Tr2spirepg12words

Tr2spirepg23genie3

Tr1ses15pg14bigfamgrlgenie1

Tr3ses17pg14caragenieprince

Tr2spriepg14genie1

From my blog post at the time:

"The formal assessment of Genie focused on how it measured up against “learning outcomes” for a school visit.

That was a straightforward place to start and the results were very positive, though based on a small sample over only two days.

But next time I’d also like to gauge it a little bit more on its own terms, in the way that I’d understand the success of a book for example.

Was it really using a magic mirror to free trapped Genies, and does writing a story bring them to life?

It was that idea that stories are real and have a life (and are what we use to give things value), and that if everything has a story, then everything is alive, that struck me about RFID in the first place."

There are strands in Genie - hidden or trapped creatures, invisible worlds, creative writing questions about the creature, the treasure hunt structure, drawings of the creatures - that run through to Free All Monsters!

The fantastic illustrations for the story were done by a Sheffield company called Finger Industries and the Mardi and Magna story was written by Ann Sansom, who I've worked with lots on things like City Poems and Anywhereblogs India.

Because we only had three tablet PCs (this was in the days before ipads) I also made a choose your own adventure book version.