Week 2

First Day in the office

I am sharing an office with two other summer undergrads from Duke. There is another office beside ours where several other students are working on another project for Professor Rodger (JFLAP).

Today I read an article about what the ALICE group did last summer: Engaging Middle School Teachers and Students with Alice in a Diverse Set of Subjects . This gave me an idea of why there is a lot of excitement over using Alice as a teaching tool to get kids interested and engaged in computer programming concepts before they make decisions about what their future career path will be.

The rest of my day was spent learning Alice. I went through some of the tutorials that were made last summer for introducing Alice to "non-programmers" including teachers and students. While learning the ins and outs of the program I also made notes on the tutorial's accuracy and readability.

First Tutorials in Alice

I found my way to the Duke Visa Services Office this morning. This may be the last of the forms I have to fill out... at least I hope so. I think I have filled out my name, birthdate, address... about ten times in the last week or so.

bunny in Alice saying I love AliceToday in the office I mainly focused on going through the tutorials in Alice. I also downloaded the latest version of Alice 2.2 from their webpage. I read through some of the "Learning to Program with Alice" textbook and skimmed the rest. The image on the left is from one of the first tutorials. I was able to make the bunny jump and say "I love Alice" in about 15 mintues.

Today is Wednesday which means it is research sharing lunch for all the computer science summer research workers. There are about 20 undergrads and 1 grad student working for various professors. We introduced ourselves and gave a quick description on the research project we are working on. One of the students then gave a short presentation.

Paperwork and Intro Alice Tutorials

I worked on getting my website up onto the server today. This meant trying to get access to the right networks and finding a desktop computer that I could log into. Then it was onto paperwork for DREU to make sure I don't drop the ball on my travel expenses and tax forms. It feels like you don't get very far some days when you are learning a new computer system for the first time.

Alice tutorial screen shot of Jack, Jane and horseA day would not be complete without some more Alice Tutorials. I have been writing down some of the frustrations or confusing portions of the tutorials I am going through. Generally I find the steps are very well explained it is just minor details that would make it easier for me.

More Advanced Alice Tutorials

I worked on the more advanced concepts in the Alice tutorials. I also looked at the updated tutorials that Liz has been working on. I think I am starting to figure out the formating that Alice uses with events, functions, parameters, loops and others. I am also seeing the need for transferring of methods from one world to another or setting up a template worlds. Deborah mentioned that this was possible so I will search out a tutorial or check out the textbook next week for this.

Professor Rodger took the Alice team out for a working lunch today at the Twisted Noodle. The food was great and we discussed what was going to be happening in the next few weeks.

The Weekend

I had a chance to go to the beach on Saturday with two of my apartment-mates and their friends. We went to Wrightsville Beach about a 2 hour drive to the east. The weather was perfect, the water was warm and the sand was soft. We found the perfect spot and enjoyed the day in the water, throwing a football or Frisbee and walking down the beach. After church on Sunday I relaxed and caught up on some emailing and reading.