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higher order thinking
is a 3D programming environment created by Carnegie Mellon University 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. In Alice, 3-D objects (e.g., people, animals, and vehicles) populate a virtual world and students create a program to animate the objects (retrieved from
Storytelling Alice, a variant focused on scene development and with additional resources intended to aide the creation of videos, was developed by Caitlin Kelleher for her PhD dissertation. After completing her doctorate, Dr. Kelleher continued her work as the Looking Glass project, which incorporates some social media elements (such as video sharing.)
There are two versions of Alice that you can download to use with students. Alice 2.0 and Alice 3. Most of the materials that are available are on for the Alice 2 version. What is really important is that you can't use Alice 2 worlds in version 3. This is difficult because many of the existing worlds can no longer be used. There are less resources available for version 3. The best ones out there are on youtube from Oracle and there are step by step tutorials from them that designed for teachers.
Resources and Links:
Learning to Program with Alice
2013 Alice Animation Competition: Nature Doc-U-Mentary
Looking Glass Project
1. Alice is provided free of charge by Carnegie Mellon University through the financial support of several other companies, so there will be no cost to you or your students.
2. Students can create their own digital animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game or a video to share on the Web.
3. Creations can easily be shared with others, making this program a good introduction to the interactivity of a Web 2.0 tool.
4. Alice is designed to be used as an introduction to fundamental computer programing concepts without the need for an understanding of a complex computer programming language.
5. Desgined for middle school, high school and college students. Mature elementary school children can learn Looking Glass with some guidance as well.
6. Provides free instructional materials and resources for teachers that are integrating this tool into their instruction.
Researched-based instructional strategies
are included for educators to use in designing curriculum.
8. The program has a user-friendly interface that helps students to grasp the basic concepts of programming and animating, especially if the online help resources are used.
9. As an interactive, creative venture, Alice has great interest potential for most students. Characters and settings are cartoonish and brightly colored, and there are almost infinite combinations of settings,characters and actions. Using this program is very much like creating an animated comic book, which will pique the interest of students from the middle grades to college.
1. The concept understanding and skills required to use this program are not designed for elementary students; however, the Looking Glass variants are more accessible to mature younger students.
2. Due to the potential complexity and size of the files created by users, the program has the potential to bog down and slow over a period of time while working on a file.
3. Like most new technologies, initially, the program is not very user-friendly, so the level of student confusion may be elevated. Once the students complete the tutorials and watch the introductory videos, this level of confusion decreases. Teachers should be aware of this initial problem and be prepared to guide students through the basic use of the problem.
1. Alice is an excellent way to introduce students to the basics of computer programming without overwhelming them with overly-technical concepts and lack of knowledge.
2. Alice is an excellent tool for digital story telling and animations with nearly unlimited applications for student use.
3. Students can work on developing their reading and writing skills to tell a story while learning the basics of computer programming.
1. Students need to make sure they are not breaking copyright laws when using images, sounds, and other Alice files.
2. Projects can be copied by others, possibly leading to instances of plagiarism and cheating.
3. Students can program inappropriate content.
Ideas for the Classroom:
1. Have students re-tell a story by creating a Digital Story on Alice.
2. Have students animate their own stories.
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