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A Preview of Alice 3.0, Introductory Programming in 3D December 13, 2007

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Google Tech Talks
December, 12 2007


The mission of the Alice project is to increase and sustain the pipeline of computer science graduates, essential to the growth of technology in a global economy.

Alice is an innovative 3D programming environment for building animations in the form of stories, games, and web-ready videos. Alice teaches programming. Alice version 2.0 is in common use. Alice 3.0 is in active development with a projected launch date of August 2009.

Alice 2.0 has been very successful and enjoyed an adoption rate of 10% in US colleges and is expanding rapidly into high schools. We expect Alice 3.0 to surpass this mark considerably.

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, 3D objects (e.g., people, animals, and vehicles) populate a virtual world and students create a program to animate these objects.

Alice 3.0 will also enable teachers and students to work directly with underlying Java code in a Java IDE. The ability to work with code in either drag-and-drop or in Java IDE mode will support an expansion of Alice 2.0's target populations (previously, high school and pre-CS1) to include CS1 and AP-CS courses. Alice 3.0 is scheduled for alpha and beta testing in a limited number of classrooms during the '08-'09 academic year.


Speaker: Wanda Dann, Alice Director (Carnegie Mellon University)
Dr. Wanda Dann, an active member of the Alice team for the last decade, has recently assumed leadership of the team. She is currently transitioning into a faculty position at Carnegie Mellon University from Associate Professor of Computer Science at Ithaca College. Wanda's research interests include visualization in programming and programming languages and innovative approaches to introductory programming.
With Dr. Steve Cooper and Dr. Randy Pausch, she has published papers on the use of program visualization in teaching and learning introductory programming. Papers have appeared in ACM's Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) inroads, the Computer Science Education Journal, and other related publications. She is co-author of Learning to Program with Alice (2006, Prentice-Hall).
Dr. Dann's leadership as a computer science educator has been recognized in her various roles as SIGCSE Technical Symposium publications editor, special projects chair, program chair, and symposium chair. She is now a member of the SIGCSE Board.

Speaker: Dennis Cosgrove, Research Scientist (Carnegie Mellon University)
Dennis Cosgrove has worked on the Alice system since its beginnings back in the early 1990s when it was a rapid prototyping tool for constructing head mounted display based virtual environments. He played a key roll in designing and implementing versions of Alice which have striven to lower the barriers of entry to 3D graphics and, more recently, to support a gentler introduction to programming.
As the sole designer and implementer, Dennis has enjoyed unchecked, czar-like control over all aspects of the Alice system since the inception of Alice 3 in February, 2006.
Dennis has co-authored academic papers presented at the ACM I3D, UIST, and SIGCHI conferences.
Dennis was selected as the first Computer Science Department "Undergraduate Education Award" winner at the University of Virginia in 1992. He was also selected as a Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science "Outstanding Member of the Community Award," as well as an University wide "Andy Award" in 2001.

Speaker: Caitlin Kelleher, Assistant Professor (Washington University in St. Louis)
Caitlin Kelleher is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Washington University in St. Louis. She completed her doctorate at Carnegie Mellon University working with Professor Randy Pausch and spent her undergraduate years at Virginia Tech.
Caitlin joined the Alice project in 1999 when she began as a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon. As part of her dissertation work...


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