Saturday, March 6, 2010

MAC Week #1 Tutorial - The Alice Project

“The road to learning by precept is long, but by example short and effective.”

- Seneca

I passed a Using Apache, PHP, and MySQL class because the instructor provided a library of codes from which the students could cut and paste to complete assignments. From the resources he provided we were able to create interactive forms and simple databases. The Alice Project teaches Object-oriented computer programming with exponentially more support.

Carnegie Mellon created the freely available Alice Project to solve the problem of declining enrollment of Computer Science majors in colleges. The Alice Project uses 3D graphics with drag-and–drop tiles to teach computer programming languages such as Java, C++, and C#. Students learn to manipulate objects in a 3D environment by placing tiles of code together to create a program. They gain immediate feedback and are able to see the relationship between the programming languages in the tiles with the objects in their virtual world.

The concept is not far off from the reading tiles used in elementary schools to teach students to read. In the case of the Alice Project, students are learning to program. There are high school and middle school versions of this software.

This tutorial is probably providential for me. I’m considering expanding my eLearning knowledge and skills to include game design. A program like the Alice Project would make learning computer programming languages less daunting and more accessible.

Carnegie Mellon University. Alice// a free gift from Carnegie Mellon. Retrieved (2010, March 6) from


jbb said...

Love the Alice Project. Excellent summary and observations (love the Seneca quote!)

isaiahveale said...


I first heard of the Alice Project while listening to the audio version of The Last Lecture, a book written and narrated by the late Randy Pausch. He was a professor at Carnegie Mellon and a founder of ALICE.

I agree with you about the power of this program to train users in Java proficiency. I am only sad that due to my current job, being a soccer coach, in a young family and getting my Master's, that I haven't had enough time to get into the program and learn more. I am excited to be able to invest some time this summer when everything is on the back burner.