Alice is a 3D virtual worlds programming environment that offers an easy way to create animations for games and storytelling. Since 2008, Duke Professor Susan Rodger has led a two-week summer program training teachers to use Alice to help promote computer literacy among young students.
ITEST project Scaling up an Innovative Approach for Attracting Students to Computing shares its materials and lesson plans developed from its workshop series on its website. Originally used and created as part of a workshop series for middle school and high school teachers to learn how to incorporate Alice into their own lesson plans, the curricula provided are designed for use with middle school and high school students.
In this experience report, we share our experiences in growing a community of practice for middle and high school teachers focused on teaching introductory computing with Alice. We have offered professional development for over four hundred teachers, teachers who each year provide nearly 2,000 students with an introductory computing experience in courses during the school day.
In order to get students interested in computing, we teach middle school teachers of different disciplines programming with Alice and work with them on integrating computing into their discipline. Alice provides an interface for novices to create animations easily and quickly, which is attractive to and fun for students. We have been developing Alice curriculum materials for integrating computing into middle school disciplines for six years.
The Adventures in Alice Programming project integrates computing into schools by providing professional development to middle and high school teachers of all disciplines on innovative ways of introducing computing and computer programming and in incorporating computational thinking into their disciplines.