Storytelling using Computer Animation with Alice
Bloomsburg University’s Summer Experience for Young Women 2007
Tuesday, June 26,
Below are resource materials that I developed in 2007 for Bloomsburg
University's Math & Science Summer Experience for Young Women, an
outreach program for middle school girls. This week long program consisted of a
variety of 2 hour sessions on a wide range of topics in math and science. Mine
was titled "Storytelling with Computer Animation using Alice" and I'm
pleased to say that it was very well received.
Alice handout for students and parents:
Story outline (the basis for our workshop):
Sample worlds (based on our story outline):
The girls were allowed to work individually or in groups of at most three.
Most chose to work with one or two friends, however a few girls chose to work
alone. There were 15-20 girls per session. I built my story along
with the girls, with my work projected on a screen for all to see. In our
2 hours, we completed scene 1 and started on scene 2.
What I learned: This was my first attempt at putting on a workshop such
as this and I learned the following:
- Have at least one helper. We had college students (math majors)
who were helping in a variety of ways with the overall program. They
had no Alice experience but had done a little programming. They
floated around the room and helped by answering questions. I got very
positive feedback from the helpers about Alice. One young
woman, who was home schooled prior to coming to BU, was going to tell her
mother about Alice so she could use it with her younger siblings.
- Give a limited amount of time for them to create their main character
using shebuilder. They enjoy this part very much but creative
differences do arise within a team that can slow down the process.
- The afternoon session went more smoothly than the first. I had a
better idea about how to pace the presentation and where the students were
going to have trouble. I went to a "give me a thumbs up" approach for
each team to signal to me that they had implemented the particular part of
the story we were working on and they were ready to move on.
- For a 2 hour session, I would not attempt to do two separate scenes
again. In fact, I need to get better at incorporating multiple scenes.
In the morning session, as we started the second scene, most teams struggled
with it (e.g. loosing sight of their main character) and then we ran out of
time. In the afternoon session, I took these steps much more slowly,
which avoided the frustrations, but then we didn't get as far.