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Brian Scarbeau Insights from a seasoned Computer Science Trainer

In my Honors Programming I class this semester I have 18 students. Ten males and eight females. I'm extremely happy because this is the largest amount of females that I've had in a programming class.

We are starting to use Alice and already I can see the excitement of all students working with the software.

Alice is an innovative 3D programming environment that makes it easy to create an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game, or a video to share on the web. Alice is a teaching tool for introductory computing. It uses 3D graphics and a drag-and-drop interface to facilitate a more engaging, less frustrating first programming experience.

Alice is a gift from Carnegie Mellon University and is quite popular with programming students. I'm looking forward to the next version of Alice. Electronic Arts has agreed to help underwrite the development of Alice 3.0 - a popular, object-oriented, Java-based computer-programming environment created by Carnegie Mellon researchers - and provide essential arts assets from "The Sims™" -the best selling PC video game of all time.

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For those that want to teach Alice there is much support here. I only use Alice for a couple of weeks and it really does give students confidence in learning OOP, decision making and repetition.

I use Learning to Program with Alice textbook by
Wanda P. Dann, Ithaca College
Stephen Cooper, St. Joseph's University
Randy Pausch, Carnegie Mellon University

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Next week, my students will learn how to design a game on a field trip to Otronicon at the Orlando Science Center. They will attend a workshop on Designing Games and then will use that skill to design a game in Alice.

I'll post some of the finished products at a later date.

Posted on Thursday, January 17, 2008 3:29 PM | Back to top

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