CMU-Q showcases Mindcraft Junior, Alice Middle East at National Science Research Week
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q) showcased two programs that promote computer science learning among school-aged children at the 2019 National Science Research Week. The event was organized by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in Qatar, in coordination with the National Fund for Scientific Research.
At the event, CMU-Q introduced Mindcraft Junior, a new workshop that introduces children in late elementary and middle school to concepts in computer science. CMU-Q holds regular one-day Mindcraft workshops throughout the academic year for high school students. Mindcraft Junior is adapted from the main workshop to be accessible and engaging to younger children.
CMU-Q also showcased Alice Middle East, an educational software program that teaches students fundamental programming concepts. Originally developed at Carnegie Mellon’s main campus in the US, Alice was adapted for Qatar by researchers at CMU-Q, with support from a National Priorities Research Program (NPRP) grant from Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF). With the support of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, Alice Middle East is now part of the curriculum at all Qatar government schools that teach information communication technology.
Mindcraft and Alice Middle East are programs within the Hamad Bin Jassim Center for K-12 Computer Science Education. In 2018, CMU-Q and Jassim & Hamad Bin Jassim Charitable Foundation joined forces to create the center, with the goal of promoting learning in the area of computer science from a young age. Nearly 3,000 students have attended a Mindcraft workshop in the past three years, and about 5,000 students study Alice Middle East as part of their high school computing education.