Alice is a free, open source software used to create animated ‘worlds.’ It provides the opportunity for teachers to expose students to using basic code and experience programming.
This is my Alice world. I had to use Screencast-O-Matic to be able to upload it here, since the ‘export as movie’ option is not currently functional. Hopefully it’s viewable!
In my last course I completed a Flash tutorial and I found this assignment similar. While I feel comfortable with placing basic objects and effects into my world, I can tell that this program can do a whole lot more. Some of the programming reminded me of VBA scripting, but I would need a workshop or a whole day with no responsibilities to learn the full potential of Alice.
I would love to use this software just to teach my students problem solving and troubleshooting, which are both NETS Standards (along with Creativity). As far as teachers using this, I’m not sure how quickly they would adopt something that requires so much time to learn. This is where a 1-to-1 laptop program would come in handy since students could work individually on their project during a class period. For teachers, PD would only be useful for those interested in using it, and they would require a whole day or multiple session workshop for either pay or Act 48 credits.
For a classroom teacher, some of the worlds would fit into Medieval, Ocean or other units, and teachers could offer creating an Alice world as a form of assessment after reading a book. For instance, students could create a world from the book the class is reading. Students could present their worlds to the class or upload them to a class website/wiki for the rest of the class to view and comment on. Students could (in a perfect world) upload their creations to YouTube or TeacherTube to share with other students at different schools who have read the same book or studied the same unit.
Please let me know if you have used Alice and/or if you have any other suggestions for its use.