NOTE: Storytelling Alice is no longer supported. It is available for download because we still receive some requests and because it provides a glimpse of some of the ideas influencing the design of Alice 3. But, use at your own risk.

Storytelling Alice was created by Caitlin Kelleher as part of her doctoral work in Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. For details on the design, development and evaluation of Storytelling Alice, please see Caitlin’s homepage.

In contrast to the large number of people who use computers and computer programs in their daily lives, relatively few learn to create their own computer programs. Storytelling Alice is a programming environment designed to motivate a broad spectrum of middle school students (particularly girls) to learn to program computers through creating short 3D animated movies.

To enable and encourage users to create animated stories, Storytelling Alice includes:

1. High-level animations that enable users to program social interactions between characters.
2. A story-based tutorial that introduces users to programming through building a story.
3. A gallery of 3D characters and scenery with custom animations designed to spark story ideas.

Storytelling Alice provides a motivating context in which to learn programming. A study comparing middle school girls’ experiences with learning to program in Storytelling Alice and in a version of Alice without storytelling features (Generic Alice) showed that:

– Users of Storytelling Alice spent 42% more time programming than users of Generic Alice.
– Users of Storytelling Alice were more than three times as likely to sneak extra time to work on their programs as users of Generic Alice (51% of Storytelling Alice users vs. 16% of Generic Alice users snuck extra time to program).
– Despite the focus on making programming more fun, users of Storytelling Alice were just as successful at learning basic programming concepts as users of Generic Alice.

Copyright © 2007 Caitlin Kelleher


Kelleher, C. Motivating Programming: Using storytelling to make computer programming attractive to middle school girls. PhD Dissertation, Carnegie Mellon University, School of Computer Science Technical Report CMU-CS-06-171 [pdf]

Kelleher, C. Using Storytelling to Introduce Girls to Computer Programming. In Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat: New Perspectives on Gender and Computer Games. Yasmin Kafai, Carrie Heeter, Jill Denner, and Jennifer Sun editors. MIT Press, in press.

Kelleher, C. and R. Pausch. Using Storytelling to Motivate Programming. Communications of the ACM, to appear.

Kelleher, C., R. Pausch, and S. Kiesler. Storytelling Alice Motivates Middle School Girls to Learn Computer Programming. 2007 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, to appear.

Kelleher, C. and R. Pausch.  Lessons Learned from Designing a Programming System to Support Middle School Girls Creating Animated Stories. 2006 IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing. [ieee pdf]

Kelleher, C. Alice: Using 3D Gaming Technology to Draw Students into Computer Science. 2006 Game Design and Technology Workshop and Conference, pages 16-20 (Invited paper).

Kelleher, C. and R. Pausch. Stencils-based tutorials: design and evaluation. 2005 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pages 541-550.


Storytelling Alice was created as part of the research for Caitlin Kelleher’s PhD dissertation. It has not been heavily tested in the classroom (as Alice 2 has) and no support is available. It is available for download in part because of the overwhelming number of requests received and in part because it provides a glimpse of some of the ideas influencing the design of Alice 3. But, use at your own risk.

Storytelling Alice and Alice 2 share some but not all of their code base. Storytelling Alice includes some functionality not available in Alice 2. Consequently, Storytelling Alice worlds will not run in Alice 2.

There are no curricular materials available for Storytelling Alice. The Alice 2 textbooks are not appropriate for use with Storytelling Alice.

Storytelling Alice is only available for windows-based machines. I do not plan to create versions for Mac or Linux.