Human Computer

This video is a copy of an 8mm film shot in the early 1960s to serve as a record of some work done in Mathematics by children at Shakespeare Hall, Greatfield High School. It illustrates how they became involved in Binary Numbers.

This video is a record of some of the work done in mathematics following the article HUMAN COMPUTER published in THE TEACHER on 2nd August 1963. It was later featured in the article MODERN MATHEMATICS FOR THE OLDER SLOW LEARNER in the magazine REMEDIAL EDUCATION (1968)

The video opens with some samples of two-state systems. Things like heads/tails, open/closed, on/off, right/wrong. There is a brief glimpse of a computer which sat alongside some simple ‘ready reckoners’!

Binary Numbers for these children were illustrated by standing up and sitting down. The video shows how position value of 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 …. Is established (in reverse order) and how numbers can be translated into binary. For example 12 would be 1100. That is and 8, a 4, no 2s and no 1s.

The system was then used to do calculations ranging from 23+15= to 4 25/32 + 3 23/32. The last one because the whole line of children is in action!

Having gained confidence with Binary Numbers children sent messages to each other in binary code but we never thought of calling them ‘text messages’!

Today these pioneers will have retired, hopefully with their laptops.


If you want to access the video online then here are a number of links:

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