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is a textbook necessary?
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ira
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Default is a textbook necessary? - 10-10-2006, 08:21 PM

I will be teaching a half-year Java course starting in late January, and Alice seems like the way to go.
Do you feel a textbook is a necessity, and why? I am only asking because another textbook will be a tough sell in my high school. So, I am looking for all opinions.
Thanks!
   
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gabe
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Default 10-11-2006, 06:37 PM

Perhaps some educators can provide some input here.

As a person who has seen Alice being taught in class, having a textbook seems to be a highly beneficial thing, unless you have developed your own teaching materials. Both the Dann/Cooper/Pausch and Herbert books are less than $50, which is a lot less than most programming texts.

I will step aside and let the teaching experts take over.
   
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Default 10-12-2006, 02:48 PM

Hi,

I am one of the Alice textbook authors. I would like to reply from a more philosophical perspective. I think that first learning to program is one of the harder things students will learn to do, and theat it is very helpful for students to have an associated textbook as a backup to the instructor and to the labs they do in class. It is not that it is impossible to create excellent supplementary materials for your students to use as a replacement for a text -- it is certainly possible to do this; but, it is a time consuming process for the instructor, and you are still stuck with the color photocopying costs for getting your materials to the students.

I took a quick look and found beta copies of our Learning to Program with Alice text available for under $10 at www.amazon.com and at www.abebooks.com. (I am sure that other copies are available from other book sellers as well.) The beta version has some errors, and is basically a black and white photocopy of a Word document, but it least it gives students something to fall back on. (As as aside, authors get no commissions from the sales of used books, so I am not making this recommendation in order to receive any money myself.) I think the students will do better if they do have a text when they learn to program -- as well as a great teacher and fun labs and assignments on which to work.

Just my $0.02.

Steve
   
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thewhiterabbit.
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Default 11-02-2006, 08:55 AM

I DONT THINK THE TEXTBOOK IS REQUIRED, BECAUSE IN OUR CLASS WE JUST MESSED AROUND FOR A WEEK, AND KNEW EVERYTHING, THEN GOT MAD WHEN OUR TEACHER BROUGHT IN THE BOOK, BECUASE WE WERE BASICALY REDOING EVERYTHING THAT WE ALREADY DID.

SORRY FOR MY CAPS, I AM POOR AND LIVE IN GEORGIA, AND DONT HAVE MONEY TO BUY A NEW KEYBOARD.
   
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Ok so White rabbit is right next to me... um I'm in Wisconsin
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Default Ok so White rabbit is right next to me... um I'm in Wisconsin - 11-02-2006, 09:04 AM

I have to agree with Rabbit on this. The book isn't nessicary. I had the same deal with the instructor introducing the book later. It is does explain things if you don't have an instructor.. What I would recommend is that Teachers buy a few copys of the book to Loan out to students who want to use the at home, or for students learning alice on their own. I prefer to just be creative in alice.. seeing as how programing doesn't have one set way of doing things.
   
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I agree With Rabbit, but the book is useful at times.
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Default I agree With Rabbit, but the book is useful at times. - 11-02-2006, 09:06 AM

I have to agree with Rabbit on this. The book isn't nessicary. I had the same deal with the instructor introducing the book later. It is does explain things if you don't have an instructer.. What I would recommend is that Teachers buy a few copys of the book to Loan out to students who want to use the at home, or for students learning alice on their own. I prefer to just be creative in alice.. seeing as how programing doesn't have one set way of doing things.
   
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Link Is One Cool Dude
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thewhiterabbit.
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Default Link Is One Cool Dude - 11-02-2006, 09:09 AM

I Guess It Can Help, But Doing Lessons From It Are Slow And Tiresome.

But Double Posting Is Annoying Dude, Dont Do That.
   
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Ya.. double post sorry..
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Default Ya.. double post sorry.. - 11-03-2006, 08:44 AM

I was trying to Rename the post's title and apperently it just made a new post with a new title, but the same general conntent.
   
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thewhiterabbit.
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Default 11-03-2006, 08:45 AM

Ok, Sorry, Its All Cool.
   
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Default 11-03-2006, 08:52 PM

ira, if you are teaching 6-8 grade you probably want to at least request a desk-copy of Alice In Action. Pre-AP I would suggest the Learning to Program with Alice, and if school funding supports it, Charles Herbert's book although I found it rather weak and dis-jointed.

In January look for Adams' new book to be released which integrates Alice into a high school Java curriculum. There is also, the yet to be released, Shelly-Cashman book.

With all that said, EA will probably release Alice 3.0 before the 2007-2008 year and all these books will be obsolete!

Good luck,
   
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