Alice Offers Creative Entry Into Coding

SciGirls

, an Emmy Award-winning PBS KIDS TV show, recently aired an episode where students learned to code to promote social justice.

The platform they used, called Alice, was created at Carnegie Mellon University and is free for students and educators to download. Alice is an object-oriented, open source system that features a drag-and-drop interface that allows users to create 3D-animations, stories and video games.

“Our production team recognized Alice as a great tool for our girls to create an animated short film, plus a welcome opportunity to model the use of high-quality, accessible and free educational software for our viewing audience,” said Angie Prindle, SciGirls series producer. “We consulted with Alice Curriculum Specialist Don Slater early in the process and he shared information and encouragement that supported us during development.”

Prindle said Alice was one of several programming options the team considered, and the girls in the episode, Kanah, Margaret and Eh Lay selected Alice to use.

“They loved the realistic style of art, the character customization options and range of movement capabilities in 3D,” Prindle said.

The girls also met Alice Project Director Eric Brown, who was in Minneapolis, where the show films, for a conference. Both SciGirls and the Alice project have received funding from the National Science Foundation.

“Eric celebrated the girls’ achievements and encouraged them on their path — which connects to our mission to empower girls everywhere to be creators — and not just consumers — of technology,” Prindle said.

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