Many of you have asked why we are learning to use Alice. In the late 1990’s the computer programming industry started to see a distinct absence of females who majored in this discipline in college. In an effort to fight this, Carnegie Mellon created a program that would train people how to program, specifically for games. They sought to give it a name that everybody could identify with, so they picked Alice from Alice in Wonderland. Underneath the actions that you see on the screen, is a very complicated, intricate set of code that runs the program. The same is true of programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Flash, Final Cut Movie Software and most Web 2.0 programs. Over the top is a shell that allows the user to make things happen in a safe and user friendly environment. While I have no illusions that all of you will want to become computer programmers, I do want to expose you to the program and possibly spur some interest on your part. Remember my speech at the beginning of the semester. I stated that we would try to explore a variety of programs. Some of these programs you’ll like, others you won’t. Much like life, we can’t always get the perfect situation. However, it is my sincere hope that all of the students who take the introductory computer courses take away practical skills that will serve you in your future and present life. Please keep this in mind as you struggle with some of the assignments and fly through the others. To date we have covered Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Google Sketchup, Google Pages, WordPress and Alice. The exploration will continue. How we get there is the journey that we all share. Enjoy your break and please drive safely. Don’t get into an automobile or a situation that could have consequences for you or others.
Slán go fóill- Which is Gaelic ( the language of the Irish) for Goodbye for now.
Your webpages are due on Friday. Periods 1 & 7 must have them done by the start of class. Period 4 has until 11:00 A.M. due to the in school performance we attended on Wednesday. Please make sure that you either give the page address to me in class or e-mail it to me @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday all classes-We will start our tech reading integration piece. This will last until the end of the semester. Every Friday, we will discuss a tech article submitted by one of your classmates to me. These will be known as tech correspondent reports. It can be anything that is technology related. There are some very good resources out there. Here are some suggested links:
Please make sure they are tech related (computers, video game technology, auto technology, etc.) I will not accept stories about your favorite sports team.
Also, we will start on Monday with a formal introduction to Alice. You can find more information about Alice at www.alice.org. The Alice program has partnered with EA games to build the popular Sims series of computer games. It is a great introduction to programming without having to learn hours of code strands. You will start with the tutorials that can be accessed by clicking on the Alice program that I have installed on all of your desktops. For the first week, I will allow you to work in pairs of two. Once you have finished the tutorials, you are to move on to chapter 1 in the handout packet I have in the front of the class. The exercises at the end of Chapter 1 are due on Thursday at the beginning of class. No late work will be accepted.
As a final note, from now on when we are doing the tech writing/reading piece on Fridays, absolutely no computers are to be on.No games, cellphones, mp3 players, nothing, zilch, nada. Just you, your ears and a piece of paper and writing utensil. Failure to observe this will negatively reflect on your grades and will result in a detention slip. There will be no exceptions to this rule!