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Learning programming: Alice

Posted by malcolmdavis on May 23, 2007 at 7:19 AM PDT

I skipped the last day of JavaOne to make it back for the first ever Alice Film Festival.

Alice http://www.alice.org/ is a 3D Authoring system from the Stage3 Research Group at Carnegie Mellon University. The focus of Alice is to get students drawn in to the world of software, by providing an intuitive interface for novices. None of the obvious programming constructs exist such as main method or function descriptions.

The success of the project was demonstrated last weekend, as UAB held the first ever Alice Film Festival. The festival provided an opportunity for Alabama K-12 students to create animated movies using Alice and submit them to a competition. Movies were shown at a special event and awards given in several categories. Entries were made as from students as young as the fourth grade.

The real success for the festival was the enthusiasm from my third grade daughter. As soon was we left, she asked if we could get Alice. At dinner, my children talked about all the things they saw.

Alice 3.0:

The next version of Alice will include a code donation from Electronic Arts (EA). EA is providing the characters from the Sims 2 series to enrich the Alice environment. Additionally, Alice 3 will include Java code generation, and ability to extend the Animation with Java in an IDE environment.

Many thanks to Dr. Jeff Gray for organizing the event. My children and I enjoyed the films.

UAB Alice Film Festival:
http://www.cis.uab.edu/programs/alice-festival/

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