What are "computational cards"

It is a simple card game, where cards are computational elements; computing machines can be defined, built and animated in a concrete way by disposing cards and moving pegs around them, following formal rules. (Consider taking a look a the starter kit)


Principles and characterstics

No mathematical knowledge needed to understand and use it. In CS courses, computing machines are usually introduced using mathematical definitions, even classical exercises are usually based on algorithms taken from number theory (eg factorial, Fibonacci); this do not scale to children.

A physical, mechanical metaphor for reasoning about computation so to enforce the idea that computation is a property shared by many different system, some of which made up with a few simple pieces. We want to hide formal semantics inside real world objects, and animate their behavior by game-like simulations.

Direct manipulation and learning-by-doing. With our tool students can define their own computational elements, extending the basic set; it should be easy to explore problem-solving and design methodologies.

Cheap support (paper), wide availability (web-based simulator) and individual learning. The tool is both web and paper-based, so every school can print the basic kit; so even when it is not possible to have a PC for each student, our tool can be used on individual basis.

Andrea Valente
Aalborg University in Esbjerg - DK
email: av@cs.aue.auc.dk
homepage: www.cs.aue.auc.dk/~av