[Edu-sig] Edu-sig Digest, Vol 22, Issue 26
ajsiegel at optonline.net
Wed Jun 29 16:40:53 CEST 2005
Not be beat a dead horse, but the truth is I don't think Alice is dead yet -
the Prentice-Hall text book will probably rescue it a bit from obscurity,
and maybe do more for it than that. Pausch always has a chance as long as he
stays out of the way of an environment of a true meritocracy. In that sense
I think he has found the correct arena to make his mark - after years of
groping toward it.
Carnegie Mellon University\ Entertainment Technology Center \
Design Director Randy Pausch:
>>"I hasten to point out that
>>the number of computer science majors in America last year
>>declined by 23 percent"
I am not surprised to see Pausch bring up this statistic in connection with
his promotion of Alice. There is a fine line between promoting one's work
and charlatanism. I have my own opinion on which side of the line Pausch
is on in presenting Alice as an connected to and as an Antidote for this
>>But this is much more advanced than Logo was,
>>to the point where it can be used for a full semester course at the
Alice could in fact be used for a full semester course at the college level,
as long as it imposed. But when given a choice between working with Alice
(when it was promoting itself as a virtual world building tool) and Panda3d,
exactly 100% of the students chose Panda3d. Perhaps has something to do
with the fact that Alice is no longer promoting itself as a virtual world
building tool. College level education, in general, still has too many merit
forces at work.
But where Pausch is headed with Alice, there is true difficulty in
distinguishing between the illusion of learning and learning. Or the
illusion is good enough for most purposes - when the goals of exposing
children to technology remain as vague as they are being allowed to remain.
I am sure that exposure to Alice in an enforced curricula *does* have a
measurable impact. All there is left to do is to assert that whatever this
impact is, it is the intended impact, and then that this impact fulfills
some important learning mission. Illusion becomes reality,
I was heartened to see that in a current thread on python-list in response
to a poster's request for guidance about programming exposure for young
folks, David Handy's book was mentioned, Logo mentioned a number of times,
Squeak was mentioned - but Alice was not.
But it ain't over until its over.
And I don't believe we have heard the last of Alice yet.
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