EVENT: Carnegie Mellon University and Electronic Arts Inc. (EA) will announce a groundbreaking collaboration that can revolutionize how computer programming is taught in the U.S. With input from EA, Carnegie Mellon's popular Alice programming software (www.alice.org), currently used at 100 high schools and universities in the U.S., will reach new levels of visual excitement and usability, especially among young women and minorities. Instead of manipulating numbers and code, the Alice programming language lets students drag and drop 3-D characters — people, houses or animals — into scenes on the computer screen, move them around and tell stories as the student is learning the basics of programming. A great strength lies in making abstract concepts concrete in the eyes of first-time programmers. The numbers of students studying computer science in U.S. colleges and universities has dropped 50 percent in the last five years. National Science Foundation-funded studies show that Alice improves student performance and retention at the college level and inspires middle school girls.
WHEN: 10:30 a.m., Friday, March 10, 2006
WHERE: McKinley Technology High School, 151 T Street NE, Washington, DC 20002
Established by the federal government as a model technology high school, McKinley was chosen as the site for this announcement because Alice is already a mainstay of its curriculum. More than 300 McKinley students use Alice each day to learn computer programming.