How Computers Really Work: A Children's Guide

Jeffrey Reynolds jeff at
Mon May 8 00:33:12 EDT 2006


Interesting article. Actually, I have been amazed at how well kids  
understand the workings of computers compared to even heavily  
computer using adults! Also the kids usually grok this stuff when  
they dont know it pretty quickly, but i have explained some simple  
concepts to adults over and over and they never seem to get it. I  
guess it probably has to do with the kids growing up with computers  
as something there all the time so the concepts are not as abstract  
to them. But i do agree that it is an important concept that the  
modern student needs to have a firm grasp on, especially as computing  
gets more ubiquitous in the future.

Yes this would be something easily done in Rev. The biggest hurdle is  
content creation, its a big subject to be taken on here. This is why  
you see so many of these kinds of prototype projects/grants, but  
fewer of actual finished products that are done well, its just  
expensive to do the necessary content creation and production work.

The content could be very engaging and since its all connected  
material/concepts it would be something that would keep drawing you  
through the content (some subjects its hard to make clear paths that  
kids can follow or explore).

I would be interested in working on something like this if we could  
get the other talents needed (like writing and art) lined up. I have  
designed and produced many multimedia apps like this and am always on  
the lookout for interesting content that is needed and crying to be  
taught well.

I wish gonick would do a cartoon guide to computers, he would nail it  
and make it fun for kids and adults alike!


jeff reynolds

On May 7, 2006, at 1:00 PM, use-revolution-request at  

> Hardware's not been our particular problem (yes, my Frankenlab  
> STILL runs
> OS 9!).
> We have some POC microarchitecture sim that's Classic-only (I've just
> tried to Google it but, well, ignorance is bliss and I can't rightly
> recall: CPUSim?  I dunno).
> BUT, while looking for the thingy we're tied to, I came upon this  
> article:
> "How Computers Really Work: A Children's Guide," [authors: Shirley
> Crossley, Hugh Osborne, and William Yurcik, published in the  
> Proceedings
> of the Workshop on Computer Architecture Education (WCAE),  
> Anchorage AK
> USA, May 2002.]
> This just seems SO DOABLE in Rev...
> Any thoughts, fellow educators?
> Judy

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