Rodger, S. H., Hayes, J., Lezin, G., Qin, H., Nelson, D., Tucker, R., ... & Slater, D. (2009, March). Engaging middle school teachers and students with alice in a diverse set of subjects. In ACM SIGCSE Bulletin (Vol. 41, No. 1, pp. 271-275). ACM.


Type: Practitioner

Purpose: "This paper describes the integration of the Alice 3D virtual worlds environment into a diverse set of subjects in mid- dle school, including the development of tutorials, example worlds and lesson plans. In the summer of 2008 our expe- riences with middle school teachers included three-weeks of training in Alice and guidance in the development of lesson plans. Our experiences with middle school students involved two one-week summer camps of instruction in Alice" (p. 271).

Findings: "We found both the teachers and the students strongly engaged with Alice. The teachers created lesson plans with Alice worlds to interactively teach a topic and other lesson plans in which students build an Alice world on a particular topic either from scratch or using a template world. The students in the Alice camps had both instruction in Alice and free time to develop Alice worlds of their choice. We found that the students used a large variety of basic Alice concepts and computer science concepts in the worlds they built in their free time" (p. 271). "As both weeks went on the students were very engaged with Alice and were always asking for more free time to work on their own worlds. After five to six hours of Alice each day, we still had difficulty getting them to stop, turn off their Alice worlds and logout at the end of the day. We received several notes from parents after the camp was over stating that their child enjoyed the Alice camp..." (p. 275).

Recommendations: "We have found that Alice can be used starting as early as 3rd grade, but in more depth starting in 5th grade. Learning basic concepts, stu- dents will know enough to write simple stories or project reports. Some of the starting concepts to focus on are using built-in methods, writing their own methods, scene changes, and camera control. Lists were fairly easy concept for mid- dle school students to grasp and can also be taught early. As students move through middle school they can continue to learn and apply more complicated Alice constructs. Teach- ers can also encourage Alice’s use by creating Alice worlds to introduce or discuss topics, or template worlds students can build on" (p. 275).