Using Alice in CS1
How Effective is the Graphical Pedagogy?

Joan M. Lucas
Department of Computer Science
State University of New York, Brockport


As the Computer Science field continues to reel from the dramatic enrollment declines of recent years, many have argued that we educators must make the computing discipline more attractive and less intimidating to students. One such approach is to use a graphical environment in the introductory courses. The most popular current incarnation of this philosophy is Alice. Alice is a visually-oriented system that allows students to build and control their own "micro-worlds". Students effectively become "movie producers" as they add characters to their world and control the actions of these characters.

In this talk we present an overview of the Alice software and review the literature concerning its use. How effective is Alice in conveying fundamental principles such as the object-oriented paradigm? What issues arise in the transition from this fun environment to Java or C++?

Colloquia Series page.