Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Go Ask Alice

Alice 2.0 is an innovative 3D programming environment developed by Carnegie Mellon that makes it easy to create an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game, or a video to share on the web. It uses 3D graphics and a drag-and-drop interface to facilitate a more engaging, less frustrating first programming experience. This is not only a great way to teach math and programming skills to kids, but is also a digital storytelling tool that can be used to augment any type of curriculum.

Alice 2.0 is designed for High School and college students, but there is also a stortytelling version for Middle School Students. My daughter (age 11) downloaded the regular version, watched the tutorials and within a couple hours and created a couple short animations. I decided to try my hand at this as well and put together this short animation in about 15 minutes (okay maybe it shows!):

A new version of Alice is in development now in collaboration with Electronic Arts. This new version will utlize characters and models from the popular Sims 2 game. Hopefully it will also come with better export capabilities. With the current version there is no easy way to save out animations to post or share.

I did download the beta version (2.2) which supposedly saves out .mov files, but could not get it to work. I had to utilize a third party screen capture utility to create the avi example above.

I would love to hear from educators that have succesfully utilized Alice in their classrooms at the secondary school level.

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Books on my reading list

  • A Whole New Mind
  • Designing the Sustainable School
  • Digital Storytelling in the Classroom: New Media Pathways to Literacy, Learning & Creativity
  • Digital Storytelling: A Creator's Guide to Interactive Entertainment
  • How to Grow a School
  • No Homework & Recess All Day
  • The World is Flat