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Moving is a messy thing...
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Shadow Sovereign
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Default Moving is a messy thing... - 10-31-2006, 07:56 AM

Wow, gabe's got it as bad as I do.... I have moved about 15 times in the past 5 years because my dad is in the military and my parents had gotten divorced, and my mom is too lazy to get a job. There's plenty more reasons, but I'm not gonna go into too much detail.
   
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About avatars and the vision of Alice2
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RealityEscapeArtist
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Lightbulb About avatars and the vision of Alice2 - 09-11-2007, 03:09 PM

The makers of Alice are generous geniuses whom I personally am grateful towards for allowing me to pick up something that normally would take me about two years at some tech school to master. The idea that you could create games, stories, etcetera with relative ease and learning during the process is a great concept.

But if the idea was in fact to have people experiment with making they're own stories or games then you must consider the want for personalization from the developers of those games.

It only makes sense that people want to have the ability to create or modify they're characters who most of which already have background story attached to them (i.e. game-daydreamers who have 20+ notebooks all filled with character designs, plot, side stories, and npc's waiting for the day they'll become a game).

Alice has a vision but most of the people who use Alice do as well and "silly Avatars" as some may put it help the game come to life fulfilling the vision of the developer.

In other words, I personally believe that instead of shunning the avatar, we should welcome the creativity of the developer and allow customizable avatars or avatar upload within the Alice2 realm.

Thank you for you time

-RealityEscapeArtist

Last edited by RealityEscapeArtist; 09-11-2007 at 03:13 PM.
   
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gabe
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Default 09-11-2007, 11:38 PM

RealityEscapeArtist,

Can you point me to a couple alternative forums with fewer restrictions regarding avatar size/type?

I feel that avatars are a small, but important part of forum communication, as they help form one's online identity. But I also want to take into consideration page load and page size.

The template has a static layout so the page doesn't stretch into an unreadable mess as it would using a liquid layout in combination with a large, widescreen monitor.

If avatars take up too much room, there won't be enough room for text to fit comfortably. I could try moving the avatars to the top of a post, but stylistically, I like all the personal info on the left for easy scanning.

If others have comments on this topic, please share them.
   
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DickBaldwin
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Default 09-12-2007, 07:58 AM

Ditto to LanceA's posting on 10-20-2006, 09:51 PM.

Dick Baldwin
   
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A fine forum indeed
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RealityEscapeArtist
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Default A fine forum indeed - 09-12-2007, 09:38 AM

As far as the forum goes, the avatar space allowed is really the norm for most forums. It's actually a fine forum, clean & efficient. I can't really think of anything I'd change. My last post really regarded incorporating original characters in 'game play'.

So in other words, good job with the forum Gabe. I like having a place to go where obviously-more-experienced-programmers can communicate with the rest of us without us worrying about looking stupid for asking a question.

For as much as I've seen it's a very open and welcoming forum. One that actually has an English interpretation to the 'Digitalese' I'm usually confronted with when asking a technical question.

So Thanks

-RealityEscapeArtist
   
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DrJim
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Default 09-13-2007, 01:42 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DickBaldwin View Post
Ditto to LanceA's posting on 10-20-2006, 09:51 PM.
Put me in the dissenter group regarding that. While Lance A has made a lot of very good contributions to this forum, I really don't don't consider that post to be one of them.

First, the calculation is of the members of the Fibonacci Series http://library.thinkquest.org/27890/mainIndex.html . There is no such thing as "a Fibonacci equation". Although several equations are available to calculate the members of the series, it was originally discovered (at least per the accepted legend) by Fibonacci's observations of breeding rabbits.

Second, the Fibonacci series is used as an example of a practical application of recursion although recursion is only one of many ways to perform the task and certainly not always (if ever) the most efficient way to perform that task. If recursionion is to be introduced in introductory CS courses - a bit more discussion as to its advantages and disadvantages, as well as risks (!) is needed. Also, at least as far as I have seen, no distinction is made in the Alice texts between "tail recursion" and the more general case.

Finally, since recursion in the general case can require several methods to operate simulatneously (calculating the Fibonacci series does not, see https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/David_Hellam/7746 ) - I personally would avoid it in Alice, since Alice does not seem to handle multi-threaded code well. The alternative of using a list to emulate a stack also wouldn't work well due to the problems with lists - and numeric arrays don't seem to work well at all.

For a relatively good discussion of recursion (and several other topics), see the Scratch thread: http://scratch.mit.edu/forums/viewtopic.php?id=789 .

For the type of issues that you get into with multiple methods running simultaneously, again see the Scratch forum: http://scratch.mit.edu/forums/viewtopic.php?id=1611 .

In both cases, the discussion - in a forum primarily targeting grade schoolers (and which allows - and even encourages (gasp) - very cute avatars) - is better than anything I've seen in this forum, which is supposedly targeting high school and first year college students.
   
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lanceA
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Default 09-13-2007, 03:48 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJim View Post
... If recursionion is to be introduced in introductory CS courses - a bit more discussion as to its advantages and disadvantages, as well as risks (!) is needed. . .
Point noted DrJim - as well as the fact that most of the sources you quote are from Scratch.mit.edu., however you might have missed my intent in posting the previous message. I was not specifically talking about having an avatar compute Fibonacci numbers or even circular linkedlists. (I have an avatar that allows anyone to click on it and play the old game of Pong. Gabe's setting prevented me from using it when I joined ). I was simply making a statement about using Alice ,and hopefully this forum, to present a good understanding of programming techniques.

As to the use of recursion, it is a requirement of the AP that students have a good understanding of how to solve a problem using recursive calls and shows up more than once on both the A and AB Exams. I do concurr with you that it is incumbent upon the person presenting the data to make the student aware of stack overflows, out-of-memory errors, etc. which can occur if the programmer does not have a good understanding of when and how to use recursion in a program.

What makes it even more confusing is trying to explain to young "programmers" the difference between linear recursion and exponential recursion or infinite recursion and conditional recursion - knowing when to use each recursive method is important, but you already know that. Unfortunately for the students. the AP requires that we teach them recursion.

I use the Sierpinski gasket (C. Herbert), Towers Of Hanoi (Dann, et al) and exercises in Joel Adams book as introductory examples of how to use recursion. I have found that if students can visualize how recursion works they can understand it better once they move into a pure programming environment and prepare for the Advanced Placement Exams.

Keep up the good work in responding to all of the questions appearing in this forum.

lanceA

Last edited by lanceA; 09-13-2007 at 10:11 PM. Reason: typo
   
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DrJim
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Default 09-15-2007, 06:20 PM

Lance A - to borrow your opening sentence - "points noted." I also share your desire to use Alice and hopefully this forum, to present a good understanding of programming techniques, and you and Dick Balwin have really been major contributors towards that goal.

Never having taught programming and with almost no understanding of Java - about all I can contribute is to help overcome some of the initial problems and maybe keep a bit of interest up in those forum users who share my own interest in animation, graphic and related subjects. But Alice is only a tool to learn how to use tools designed for those application. It is only a marginally useful tool for those applications themselves - one of the messages that seems to get lost in the technical details - and not just for animation and graphics but for many other applications as well.

Similarly, recursion is an excellent subject to use to as a basis to explore a lot of interesting math and CS concepts - it would be really nice if a student, as he prepared for the AP's, really had time to get exposed to these. If you can acomplish this - and meet the challenges of "teaching to the test" - you will also have acomplished what seems to me to be a minor miracle. I continue to wish you the best of luck and give you, and all of the others trying the same task, high marks for even trying.
   
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lanceA
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Default 09-15-2007, 07:17 PM

Thanks DrJim -

I don't qualify as one who can ". . . meet the challenges of "teaching to the test".
I don't teach to the test - I teach Critical Thinking, Deductive /Logical Reasoning Skills, Problem Solving, Critical Questtioning, Computer Science, etc.

I am using ALICE to help students new to computer science visually "see" what happens when a program executes.

What do you do for a living?



PS - My 9th grade class this year swelled to 18 from last years 9. I believe it had something to do with ALICE.

Last edited by lanceA; 09-15-2007 at 07:21 PM. Reason: I just needed to say this . . .
   
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DrJim
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Default 09-15-2007, 07:42 PM

I'm sure you're faced with the challenge of "teaching to the test." If you can meet that pressure without actually "teaching to the test" - and instead acomplish what you list as your goals, more power to you. Hopefully you can insprire others to do the same.

Personally I'm a retired engineer and engineering manager interested in animation and filmmaking. My "hands-on" engineering background was almost exclusively with hardware, however as a manager my projects included several medium-scale software programs for "trusted system" avionics and medical electronics. Fortunately, I had a great bunch of experienced programmers as the core team for those projects.

My interest in Alice came about from observing the problems with computer science education as a "consumer" of the "product." It was not at all unusually to see a new grad (assuming you could even find and hire one in this country) with a "deer-in-the-headlights" look about six months into his first "real" program.

I think you are right about one of the benefits of Alice being that it gives the student quick, highly visual, real time feedback as to what he has actually programmed. It's embarassing - but nothing worse(!) - to see your object just sit there or go off in the absolutely wrong direction. In less graphics environments, even figuring out you have a problem can be a challenge.
   
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