Logic Goats (that’s right, goats!)

I’m preparing tutorial for teaching Boolean logic and logic gates and found this amazing papercraft project by Rob Ives, who’s implemented simple logic gate examples using paper craft.

Logic Goats



Here’s how he describes them

The central processing unit lies at the heart of every computer, a vast collection of microscopically small switches and logic-gates. Now, through the power of paper we bring you those same logic gates in goat form.
Presented here are the:

The and-goat will nod his head only in you press the right button AND the left button.

The or-goat nods his head if you press the left button OR the right button OR both buttons.

The not-goat nods his head if you are NOT pressing the button.

The xor-goat (Exclusive OR) nods if you press one button OR the other button but not if you press both.


Do Parents Think Computing Is Important For Children?

Throughout the Kickstarter campaign I’ve been using it as an opportunity to reach out to parents and get their opinion on the new Computing curriculum and general drive to push it into schools.

I had a great email from an old school friend who’s not technical and reflects the general consensus I’ve found quite well:
Hi Dan
It’s essential that children are given the opportunity and access not just to learn about computers and coding but to really understand it.  If my daughter is being taught maths so that the methods and numbers are unpicked and she understands why numbers work they way they do so she can apply that understanding with any set of numbers then surely the same benefits apply when it comes to computers/coding.

I am concerned that even though computers/technology touch nearly every aspect of our lives there is still a ‘mystique’ about them or coding is seen as a ‘dark art’ it must be mainstreamed in education if we are to encourage our kids to learn and be turned on to the possibilities to then go on to choosing a career path that sees them create the next generate of technology or use their knowledge in engineering, science or research (areas that need a boost of entrants).  My son has just started secondary school having only had a limited experience of working with code and it frustrates me to think that this may continue.

Even if your kids are lucky enough to go to an extremely well resourced school their experience and exposure to computers and coding depends entirely on how adept the teacher is with it.  Even then I’m willing to bet that its ‘surface’ learning rather than a deeper understanding.  Too often lack of resources is used as an excuse for not exposing the children to this kind of stuff at all which makes practical solutions such as yours a total win:win.

I want my children to ask why? when they are being taught, and get past the surface learning that provides limited value and does not give them the tools to learn and acquire knowledge and skills as they move through their school years.  Using outside of the box methods to teach them a different perspective on such a critical part of their lives & futures should surely be the top of the list.

I hope this isn’t too ‘soap box’ but its something I feel very strongly about.

The One Thing I Can’t Live Without – Paper!

My friends at the design studio Burning Red are doing a weekly blog task for their newsletter Red Matter and asked me to do this week’s topic which is…

The one thing I can’t live without

My name’s Dan Bridge, I’m a programmer and I spend a LOT of time in front of computers, laptops and tablets. I poke, prod and punch numbers, words and functions into them to make them do useful interesting things. Sometimes they won’t do what I want. That usually means I haven’t told them what I wanted them to do clearly enough.

In order to work out what I want computers to do, here’s the thing I couldn’t live without: pen and paper.

My Note Pad
My Note Pad

Most people think programmers just sit at machines and transfer code thoughts straight from their head into the computer but everything I do I usually sketch out on paper first. So that notebooks are indispensable for me. They let me test things out, order my thinking and add lots of weird doodles and arrows

It’s the one thing I couldn’t live without – work wise!