It’s Tuesday, October 18, 2016, and time for Science at ClickSchooling!
Age Range: 11-18 (Grades 6-12, with parental supervision)
This website offers “Alice” – free educational software from Carnegie Mellon University that teaches students computer programming in a visual, 3-D environment. It makes it easy to create animation for interactive games and videos and much more.
The description from the website best explains it:
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. In Alice, 3-D objects (e.g., people, animals, and vehicles) populate a virtual world and students create a program to animate the objects.
In Alice’s interactive interface, students drag and drop graphic tiles to create a program, where the instructions correspond to standard statements in a production oriented programming language, such as Java, C++, and C#. Alice allows students to immediately see how their animation programs run, enabling them to easily understand the relationship between the programming statements and the behavior of objects in their animation. By manipulating the objects in their virtual world, students gain experience with all the programming constructs typically taught in an introductory programming course.
When you get to the site you can read the latest news and media coverage about Alice software and then click on the menu items that include:
- About Alice – Explains how Alice works – and provides promotional videos you can watch to better understand how to get started.
- Downloads – Get Free downloads of the software designed specifically for middle school students and/or high school and college students that will allow you to get started learning computer programming in a fun and engaging way.
- Teaching – Alice provides instructional materials to support teachers and students in classrooms. Resources include textbooks, lessons, tests, and more that you can download and print out.
NOTE: Some of you may have heard about “Alice” in the context of media coverage about one of the developers, Randy Pausch. Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University professor, died of pancreatic cancer on July 25, 2008 at the age of 47, leaving behind his wife and three young children. He gained world-wide attention through an inspirational “Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” in which he recounted how he achieved his childhood dreams of becoming a football player, experiencing zero gravity, and developing Disneyland attractions. There are lessons in his last lecture for all of us. You can view it here. Parents, as always, should preview the lecture to determine suitability of content for their own children.