For some time now I have been meaning to download and play with a program called Alice. I heard about it along with millions of others when listening to the Last Lecture by Randy Pausch on YouTube. My thought was that this might be something the Kitten might like and after playing with it I still believe that. It was both more and less than I expected. You can create pretty complex virtual worlds by dropping in objects and telling them how to act. It doesn’t feel like programming, but I suppose that is the point. It is meant to be a unique tool to learn programming in a different way and if it felt like regular programming then that wouldn’t be true. The program is not really meant for kids as young as the Kitten, but I still think it might be fun to work on something together. There was a brief tutorial that came with it that showed me enough to have fun with it, but I am thinking of tracking down a used text book from the classes that get taught using Alice. There is another version called Storytelling Alice that is meant for middle school kids, but the tutorial is about writing a story to have a boy kiss a girl and while the Green Girl might think that was at least funny I am thinking to Kitten would still be put off by that. Or at least a dad can hope.
David on Rise of the Machines