Get ready for ISTELive 21! Launch the site now.
Edtech Solutions
Network Summit
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Blocked-Based Coding To Create Interactive VR Worlds Using Alice

Listen and learn

Listen and learn : Snapshot

Sunday, November 29, 9:00–9:45 am PST (Pacific Standard Time)

John Balash  
Eric Brown  

Join the Alice team as we showcase their new VR toolkit demonstrating how easy it is for students to create animated stories, interactive worlds and games for VR while learning design thinking, computational thinking, basic programming skills and the design challenges of VR using a block-based coding environment.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Mac, PC
Participant accounts, software and other materials: If you would like to follow along in the Alice software you can download for free from We will be demonstrating the version of Alice 3 that includes publishing to the player and VR. Currenlty this version can be found here:

We will bring thumb drives with the software for any participants that decide at the time of the session.

Topic: Augmented, mixed & virtual reality
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, Computer science
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Empowered Learner
  • Students understand the fundamental concepts of technology operations, demonstrate the ability to choose, use and troubleshoot current technologies and are able to transfer their knowledge to explore emerging technologies.
Innovative Designer
  • Students develop, test and refine prototypes as part of a cyclical design process.
Creative Communicator
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

More and more teachers are engaging with VR technology in the classroom. There is a lot of consumption of content being introduced but not many platforms for the creation of VR content by students. Many of the tools that do exist don't intentionally teach as part of that content creation process or are not entry level tools. The purpose of this session will be to make educators aware of the free Alice technology platform and resources for engaging students in content creation for VR. Alice is a block based coding environment that allows students to create stories, interactive worlds, and games in 3D. The team launched a player application that allows students to easily run their worlds in VR. This session will teach attendees the basics of how Alice works and how to run student created content in VR. It will also showcase the free curriculum that is available for teaching with Alice including newly designed lessons specifically for teaching about designing for VR.


This outline assumes this is a snapshot session, a longer create session or workshop would extend overviews to longer tutorials with all attendees creating and experiencing their worlds in VR.

Welcome and History of Alice (5 minuntes): This will include the history of the Alice platform as an early prototyping tool for VR in Randy Pausch's VR research lab.

Demonstration of the Platform (5 minutes): This will be a fast demonstration of using the tool to create and run a VR world using Alice. The demonstration will show the full pipeline from opening Alice, adding objects to a scene, programming quick interactions, to running in VR.

Challenge to Audience - Offer to anyone who has Alice or wants to get it (will provide on thumb drive to audience) to create and run their world during the session. Invite any attendees to come up and experience Alice VR worlds throughout the session.

Overview of Scene Building in Alice (5 minutes): A quick overview of 3D scene building in Alice including a demo of importing a user created model. Any attendee is invited to follow along.

Overview of Coding in Alice (5 minutes): A quick overview of the Alice block based coding environment and how it applies specifically to coding camera movements for VR such as ride behavior or different controlled movement interactions through events. Any attendee is invited to follow along.

Share Audience Created Worlds: Invite anyone who has created a simple Alice VR "hello, world" to come experience it in VR and share their experience.

Overview of Alice Curricular Approach (5 minutes): Showcase Alice free lessons available online including design lessons and the teams approach to iterative design and how to integrate a unique designing for VR lesson into the broader Alice curriculum.

Showcase Student Created Worlds (5 min): Showcase some student created VR projects from early beta testers and adopters of the Alice VR integration.

Supporting research

There is lots of research related to the use and benefit of VR in the classroom. There is less related to the benefits of authoring content for VR. We hope that our platform can be used to help grow this research.

More [+]


John Balash, Carnegie Mellon University
Eric Brown, Carnegie Mellon University

Eric Brown is the Director of the Alice Project. Eric first came in contact with the Alice project while having the honor of having Randy Pausch as a Professor while a graduate student at the Entertainment Technology Center receiving his MET in 2006. Eric’s previous work includes co-founding ImpactGames to influence society and promote change through interactive media and consulting with a number of companies on product design and development and game based educational products. He also holds a BFA in Painting with focused studies in education and computer graphics from Washington University in St. Louis.

People also viewed

Examining the Role of Learning Presence in Online and Blended Courses
Teach CS remotely with Microsoft MakeCode
Teaching Computational Thinking to Exceptional Learners: Lessons From Two Diverse Classrooms