This year, the Singapore ITSC ran the programming contest, code::XtremeApps for the second time, but with a twist – we added a Junior category specifically for children 12 years and under. We toyed between using Squeak and Alice. In the end we decided to use Alice as the platform for the contest.
Alice was created by a team lead by Randy Pausch who wanted to create a better way to teach computer programming. I cannot but agree with him more. My two sons, who are eight and ten, took part in the contest and I think they did learn a thing or two about coding.
Thanks in a big way to the breaking of boundaries and old thought processes, Randy was able to conceive of and help direct the creation of a tool like Alice. I am sure there are legions of new coders who would have learned about object oriented programming without even knowing that they were doing object oriented programming. Sadly, on July 25 2008, Randy passed away from pancreatic cancer.
Please take a moment to watch his Last Lecture for it is really thought provoking.
Here’s to you Randy!
PS: A great NYT article as well.