I’m guessing that a lot of educators share my thought process when looking for new curriculum or materials to use in classes. I want to keep my classes fresh and new, so what I use has to be engaging, but it also has to be quality and reflect the goals and objectives I want students to achieve. I was excited to have the opportunity to attend the Alice 3 and Java Institute for Community College Faculty a couple weeks ago, and am even more excited to start using Alice 3 in classes after attending! In case anyone reading teaches anything Computer Science related, I thought I’d share a little about what Alice is and what we learned over this 4 day institute.
“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 freely available teaching tool designed to be a student’s first exposure to object-oriented programming. It allows students to learn fundamental programming concepts in the context of creating animated movies and simple video games.” http://www.alice.org/index.php?page=what_is_alice/what_is_alice
Imagine being able to teach logic, and introduce students to the concepts of programming by letting them actually program without worrying about syntax. That’s exactly what Alice will allow you to do. I really like how easy it is to create in Alice, but also how seamless the transition to Java is. Below you can see how this simple scene is written in Alice, then the same scene looks in Java. So you can teach the concepts, the language, the terminology all in Alice, and have students build much more complex programs than they could in Java or another language. Using a plug-in for NetBeans, you can import your Alice program straight into NetBeans so that you can see how it looks in Java, then make any modifications you want.
|Nemo scene in Alice|
|Nemo scene in NetBeans, using Java|
I think the Alice Team did a great job not only teaching us about Alice, but also in constantly supporting and updating the program to make it better and easier for teachers to use!