Monday, March 14, 2011

BINARY - There's an App to LEARN that! And its a GAME!

Binary Game Window9.jpgLast week I had the pleasure of chatting with Jerry Bush, Program Manager Learning@CISCO. I must say, it sounds like CISCO has an amazingly innovative culture that allows them to experiment with new technologies and ideas around learning. Check out their Games Arcade. Lots of great desktop games...with a few recently ported over to mobile technologies.

While we had a great conversation in general about eLearning, mobile devices, and serious games, I loved hearing about their new FREE iPhone/iPad app called BINARY. Be aware that there is another binary game app NOT created by CISCO that costs $.99. The CISCO binary game is FREE.

Now, I like to think of myself as having a little bit of geek cred. And of course every self-respecting geek has a full and complete grasp of the ultimate geek language - BINARY....right? Well, I know enough now to know that I only had a simple-man's grasp of what binary is. I knew binary was a string of 1's and 0's. And I also knew that a string of one's and zeros "added" up to a larger number. But I guess that's about as far as my lesser-geek knowledge went. The BINARY game was exactly what I needed to fill in the missing pieces in my knowledge base of binary.

This is the type of content that works great in a my opinion. There are no instructions. You just start playing. Its exactly how I like to learn. The game also helps you learn "the code" in both directions. In some cases you are given the 1' and 0's in the proper positions and asked to give the answer on the right side of the "=" sign. And in other cases you are given the number and then by tapping the 1,0, chicklets you set up the binary code to equal the given number.

Okay, so that doesn't sound like much fun does it? Well, notice in the image above how the different rows are stacked? Yea, they just keep coming. More rows after more rows. This forces you to learn to think in binary...FAST. And what you soon learn is that there are patterns in binary code. So at a certain point you stop "doing the math" and just remember the patterns. Which is exactly how the brain learns to process complex information. But I'll leave the brain science stuff to others. Give it a try. If you already are certain that you know binary then you will still get a good idea how simple game mechanics can make learning fun...and fast.

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