Bringing Boys And Girls To Computer Science With 'Alice'

"Duke University computer scientist Susan Rodger is hoping ice skaters, cute animals and fearsome dragons will bring new talent to her field. With support from the National Science Foundation, she and collaborators nationwide are using the power of storytelling to draw younger students into programming. An animation program called 'Alice,' invented by the late Randy Pausch of Carnegie Mellon University, allows student programmers of all ages to create their own worlds without realizing they're actually writing code." Incidentally, this software is among the resources the YouthLearn team included in the Technology Curriculum Guide we developed for SEDL's National Center for Quality Afterschool. "Rodger recalled the rush of introducing fourth-to-sixth graders to Alice during an annual event that brings elementary school girls to the Duke campus to meet with female professors. 'They learned Alice for half an hour, and then they got to create a world with it,' Rodger said... They were creating little stories with Alice, and in the process they were programming. They didn't know they were doing programming, but they were.'"