Alice Programming Language..

This is a discussion on Alice Programming Language.. within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; Don't get a chance to come to this board much anymore..but would like to still chime in from time to ...

  1. #1
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    Alice Programming Language..

    Don't get a chance to come to this board much anymore..but would like to still chime in from time to time...

    Alice is the new language of choice for many colleges/universities now in teachin introductory programming...

    CS Textbooks are now out or out shortly on Alice...

    Here is a quick article/overview..

    User-Friendly Alice Programming Language May Get Friendlier


    By W. David Gardner, TechWeb Technology News

    Carnegie Mellon University said Monday that it is teaming up with computer games provider Electronic Arts to improve the university's www.alice.org Alice programming software, which is used at high schools and universities to introduce students to programming.
    Noting that the number of students studying computer science at U.S. colleges has plunged by 50 percent in recent years, Carnegie Mellon indicated that an improved Alice could help stimulate interest in programming.

    The Alice programming language allows students to drag and drop 3-D characters into scenes on computer screens and eschews the manipulation of numbers and code. Carnegie Mellon said the Alice programming language is currently in use at about 100 high schools and universities.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I know we are very loyal to our languages we program in...but what do all of think of this new teaching language- in particular those that are in school or have had years of experince...
    Mr. C: Author and Instructor

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    Code Goddess Prelude's Avatar
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    >Alice is the new language of choice for many colleges/universities now in teachin introductory programming...
    God, I hope not if my first impression is accurate. Let's see:
    Learning to program a computer is hard.
    Well, duh! Programming a computer is hard, why should learning to do it be anything but?
    Rather than having to correctly type commands according to obscure rules of syntax, students drag-and-drop words in a direct manipulation interface.
    Drag-and-drop programming? We're nowhere close to having that in any useful capacity. These students will learn something that's worthless and they'll end up being completely lost on the job.
    Code:
    Alice makes programming more accessible to girls as well as boys.
    *sigh*

    >Noting that the number of students studying computer science at U.S. colleges has
    >plunged by 50 percent in recent years
    If students drops a CS course, it's extremely likely that the field wasn't for them to begin with. No amount of sugar coating reality will change that.

    >but what do all of think of this new teaching language
    I think it's a joke. The idea is sound, but we lack the experience with such solutions to do it well. Maybe in ten years or so we can look at pushing the idea more, but at present, it's simply ridiculous and ends up being a solid slap in the face to the students who are hurt by it.
    My best code is written with the delete key.

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    high school, sure, college, no way.

    Plus if college students drop out of CS, I doubt it will be because of the computer programming courses. We'll see, but I doubt most serious programming teachers will look at this and see it as a beneficial alternative.

    Carnegie Mellon Collaborates with EA to Revolutionize And Reinvigorate Computer Science Education in the US
    You had me at EA...Revolutionizing Education when they can't even revolutionize the gaming industry, EA can really go to hell.
    Last edited by indigo0086; 12-20-2006 at 06:29 PM.

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    Well here are some excerpt from the preface of a Alice programming book

    Why Alice...

    "Alice by itself isn't all useful if our goal is to train people so that they can be professional computer programmers...it is intended to position students so that they can learn them (other languages) better..."

    "The Alice language has a grammar and syntax like other programming languages...it is constructed in such a way that we do not need to memorize the grammer and syntax of the language...The use of Alice fosters persistent learning about computer programming and perhaps more importantly, about many concepts fundamental to all of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.."
    Mr. C: Author and Instructor

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    These students will learn something that's worthless and they'll end up being completely lost on the job.
    I think that it's a good way to gain exposure to the general ideas of programming. I think that if they find alice interesting then they may delve deeper into the world of algorithms and pick up a real programming language.

    Many coders here got into it because of an interest in games (pretty pictures!) and many, including myself, have gone way off the deep end in terms of the math, science and low level aspects of coding.

    So, yeah, seems like a good foot in the door.
    I'm not immature, I'm refined in the opposite direction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BobMcGee123
    I think that it's a good way to gain exposure to the general ideas of programming. I think that if they find alice interesting then they may delve deeper into the world of algorithms and pick up a real programming language.
    I don't doubt that, they won't really have a choice. They may change what the introductory programming curriculum entails but they won't change the whole computer science curriculum. I mean I started off in java which is relatively easier than C++, though it has the same syntax it's a nice introductory since the later courses all use C++ and other languages. I guess as long as they are learning how to program before how to learn the language. Though I hate that EA has a hand in it.

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    and the hat of wrongness Salem's Avatar
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    > Noting that the number of students studying computer science at U.S. colleges has plunged by 50 percent in recent years
    Now is this down to
    a) outsourcing
    b) the lack of jobs if they get a degree
    c) that universities no longer accept anyone who can recognise the on/off switch, which is how a hell of a lot of people got into the field in the first place on the back of the .com boom.
    d) it's seen as difficult and geeky, and there are plenty of other softer options to go for.

    > The Alice programming language allows students to drag and drop 3-D characters into scenes on computer screens
    They tried this 50 years ago with COBOL. The thinking then was, well if it contains lots of long English words like "ADD 1 TO TOTAL" then that would make it a lot easier for less skillful people to learn.
    This isn't the case at all, because once you get past the "hello world" stage, the act of solving the problem becomes dominant, and the syntax of the language becomes irrelevant.

    Here's another example
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logo_programming_language

    *edit - downloads the alice source code*
    Wow. C, C++ and Java
    Somewhere along the line, there's always some C in there.
    If you dance barefoot on the broken glass of undefined behaviour, you've got to expect the occasional cut.
    If at first you don't succeed, try writing your phone number on the exam paper.
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    l'Anziano DavidP's Avatar
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    *shudders*

    hehe...I used Logo ages ago. It was the very first programming language that I learned, back in the 8th grade. We used some sort of version for DOS...I still have the interpreter on my external hard drive actually.
    My Website

    "Circular logic is good because it is."

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    Interesting language. It's basically just functional programming without Lisp's intimidating syntax.

    I don't know how I feel about kids being introduced to programming via a functional language... but I'm not an educator, so who am I to say?
    Callou collei we'll code the way
    Of prime numbers and pings!

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    Crazy Fool Perspective's Avatar
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    If it helps get more people interested in computer science then it's a good idea in my books. Sure they'll eventually have to learn real programming, but it's more like the marijuana that can lead to the pure cocain that is C/C++


    Enrollment is down, and decreasing. Not just the number of courses dropped, or the number of students dropping out of CS. While this means that my salary can only go higher, it's very disturbing for the field in general. We need computer scientists.

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    Mayor of Awesometown Govtcheez's Avatar
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    Mister C, you're an idiot.

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    Ethernal Noob
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    Quote Originally Posted by Govtcheez
    Mister C, you're an idiot.

    how terse.

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    Crazy Fool Perspective's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by indigo0086
    how terse.
    There's a bit of history there....

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    *repetitively clicks on "history" expecting a link*



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    Code Goddess Prelude's Avatar
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    >*repetitively clicks on "history" expecting a link*
    Just do a search, silly.
    My best code is written with the delete key.

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