Who Uses Alice

Alice is used by teachers at all levels from middle schools (and sometime even younger) to universities, in school classrooms and in after school and out of school programming, and in subjects ranging from visual arts and language arts to the fundamentals of programming and introduction to java courses.

Our goal is to support all ranges of Alice usage by creating and sharing best practices for all of these applications.

Visit our resources sections to see what materials are available to support your vision for using Alice.

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Why is it called Alice?

“This is one of my favorite questions. It always lets me know the question asker is thinking in the correct direction. After all, the ability to name something is a tremendous power, and in this case, there’s a terrific reason.

Alice pays homage to Lewis Carroll, author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Carroll was a mathematician, novelist, and photographer. Most important, he could do intellectually difficult things but also realized the most powerful thing was to be able to communicate clearly and in an entertaining way. This inspires our efforts to make something as complex as computer programming easy and fun.

The name is also a very practical choice. The artwork associated with the Alice books is now in the public domain, its copyright having lapsed. Also, the name “Alice” has several other advantages:

– It is easy to spell.

– It is easy to pronounce.

– It shows up near the top of alphabetical lists.”

Randy Pausch

Research

Research has shown that Alice has a measurable positive effect on performance and retention in computer science education. The team has researched and published their findings in support of the increased retention of “at-risk” students in introductory computer science course when Alice is implemented. It has also been proven to improve up to a full letter grade outcomes in early computer science courses when implemented as a mediated transfer from Alice to Java. You can read more about these studies as well as others here.

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Support and Funding

Alice is provided for free due to generous support for the project from foundations and companies that share our vision.  We are grateful for the opportunity they have provided the project.  Additional support comes from a range of research and curriculum partners and a highly engaged user population.  Without them we would not be able to have the level of reach and impact that we have.  You can learn more about these groups here.

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CMU