Using Program Visualization to Teach Introductory (Object-Oriented) Programming
In this talk, I will introduce Alice, a 3-dimensional interactive animation environment used for introducing novices to computer programming. Alice is freely available from www.alice.org, and enables students to readily direct movies and to build interactive virtual worlds. I will present the technical aspects of the Alice environment, focusing on its usability characteristics. I will then describe our experiences with its use in several settings, including with middle school girls, as a pre-AP programming class in high school, with minority inner-city high-school youth, in community college settings (both to generate as well as retain computing majors), as part of an introductory engineering course, as well as in a pre-CS1 course at the college/university level. Results from several NSF-funded studies will also be discussed.