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DC1 vs DC2

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  • bwv1079
    Tim, I am the owner of an original DC1, and original DC2, a Minds on Toys DC1v.2, and a very proud and happy owner of the new Evil Mad Scientist DC2 wood
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 24, 2013
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      Tim,

      I am the owner of an original DC1, and original DC2, a Minds on Toys DC1v.2, and a very proud and happy owner of the new Evil Mad Scientist DC2 wood edition. I have no connection with Mad Evil Scientist other than as a customer.

      In answer to your question, I think the two Digicomps complement one another. They are both valuable and both have different things to teach.

      First of all, the new version works much better than the original, and is really a work of art. Evil Mad Scientist deserves a lot of credit for improving on the attractiveness and reliability of the original.

      I would say that while the fun in the Digicomp 1 is in programming it to get the output bits to show you the answer you wanted, the fun in the Digicomp 2 is in watching the machine do math and in admiring the mechanical beauty of what it does and how it does it.

      My 7 year old daughter, in 2nd grade, now has an understanding of binary math after about an hour of playing with the DC2. She loves to program simple arithmetic problems into the DC2 and watch it "think' and "calculate". It counts, adds, multiplies, gets the complement of a number, subtracts, and divides. She has already told her teacher about it and asked me to bring it in to school to show her classmates how it works.

      In summary, I absolutely love my new DC2, perhaps more than I love the DC1, and the wood version definitely works better than the original, and has way more charm. Actually, I think it's the coolest thing I have ever seen. I find it mesmerizing to watch the balls work their way around the flip flops. It reminds me of the kinetic sculptures one finds in airports. But yes, it is just a mechanical semi-automated arithmetic unit (just like an electronic computer ?). I plan on buying a second one to have as a backup.


      Off topic: I love the manual that comes with the Minds on Toys DC1 v. 2. Way better than the original manual, and alone worth the price of the DC1v2. So, Tim, thank you very much for that.
    • Knurly
      Thanks, a particularly informative comment among several opinions. As maybe the only one here with all four items (PLUS a young daughter), you re in a unique
      Message 2 of 3 , Feb 4, 2013
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        Thanks, a particularly informative comment among several opinions. As maybe the only one here with all four items (PLUS a young daughter), you're in a unique position to compare "learning value." It's entirely reasonable that a smoothly working version of the DC2 would captivate a 7-year-old -- or to anyone, for that matter. (Rolling-ball devices in general seem to have that effect on people!) The fact that your daughter now understands binary math gives me a new appreciation for the DC2's potential... Would I be wrong to suppose that you yourself had a slight hand in helping her forge the connections? That's generally the way it works. Very few so-called educational toys instruct entirely by themselves. As I see it, they bring potential lesson(s) to the surface, but it usually takes some outside guidance (parent, teacher, manual, mentor) to deliver the instruction or develop the learning. BTW I appreciate your kind words about the DC1v2 manual, where I did my best to add value to the original toy.

        That said, I usually advise parents that they should hold off on introducing a DC1v2 to a child younger than about 12. IMO it's too tricky to build the kit, and the logic/programming is too sophisticated. After all, the manual had to be written "to" a certain reading level, and "for" a certain user. Perhaps with a 7-year-old, maybe the best thing would be to put the DC1 on a high shelf, tantalizingly out of reach, for a few years? Or maybe there's a way to bridge from DC2 to DC1? If there is, you'll find it. (Parents generally ignore my advice anyway.)

        /Tim - Minds-On Toys


        --- In friendsofdigicomp@yahoogroups.com, "bwv1079" wrote:
        >
        > Tim,
        >
        > I am the owner of an original DC1, and original DC2, a Minds on Toys DC1v.2, and a very proud and happy owner of the new Evil Mad Scientist DC2 wood edition. I have no connection with Mad Evil Scientist other than as a customer.
        >
        > In answer to your question, I think the two Digicomps complement one another. They are both valuable and both have different things to teach.
        >
        > First of all, the new version works much better than the original, and is really a work of art. Evil Mad Scientist deserves a lot of credit for improving on the attractiveness and reliability of the original.
        >
        > I would say that while the fun in the Digicomp 1 is in programming it to get the output bits to show you the answer you wanted, the fun in the Digicomp 2 is in watching the machine do math and in admiring the mechanical beauty of what it does and how it does it.
        >
        > My 7 year old daughter, in 2nd grade, now has an understanding of binary math after about an hour of playing with the DC2. She loves to program simple arithmetic problems into the DC2 and watch it "think' and "calculate". It counts, adds, multiplies, gets the complement of a number, subtracts, and divides. She has already told her teacher about it and asked me to bring it in to school to show her classmates how it works.
        >
        > In summary, I absolutely love my new DC2, perhaps more than I love the DC1, and the wood version definitely works better than the original, and has way more charm. Actually, I think it's the coolest thing I have ever seen. I find it mesmerizing to watch the balls work their way around the flip flops. It reminds me of the kinetic sculptures one finds in airports. But yes, it is just a mechanical semi-automated arithmetic unit (just like an electronic computer ?). I plan on buying a second one to have as a backup.
        >
        >
        > Off topic: I love the manual that comes with the Minds on Toys DC1 v. 2. Way better than the original manual, and alone worth the price of the DC1v2. So, Tim, thank you very much for that.
        >
      • bwv1079
        Tim, Thanks for your comments. I certainly agree, my daughter wouldn t have understood the DC2 without my input. I also agree that she is too young to learn
        Message 3 of 3 , Feb 10, 2013
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          Tim,

          Thanks for your comments.

          I certainly agree, my daughter wouldn't have understood the DC2 without my input.
          I also agree that she is too young to learn the DC1. She did ask to see it, but I don't plan on letting her work with it until she is older, 10 to 12, at least. Waiting a few years will also give me more time to try to understand it better myself ;-)

          We also played with the Dr. Nim, game, also manufactured by ESR. Dr. Nim really seems to think. After playing it a few times, I showed my daughter the secret as to how Dr. Nim wins, by "counting" to 4. Finding out how simple Dr Nim really is was fascinating for her. She made the connection between Dr. Nim being designed, or "programmed" to play, and the way Siri on my iPhone can answer questions. As simple as Dr, Nim is, and despite the fact that it can't really be programmed by the user, it distills out a lot of what the Digicomps are trying to teach. But the other toys, along with the DC1, will have to wait until she's older.

          By the way, I'm probably the only member of Friends of Digicomp who is not a programmer . While I took some programming course in college, I don't have a formal
          Computer science background. I became interested because a friend of mine had a DC1 when I was a kid. It stuck in my head ever since. It took the development of Google to enable me to figure out what it was that my friend had.

          I also have several Radio Shack computer logic toys, a JR01 I just found on Ebay; a DEC learning Lab h-500.……most of which I haven't had a chance to play with yet, but my kids are still young……… Of course, I'm really doing this for myself. I'm trying to figure out how computers work. The kids are just an excuse to buy the toys. Each toy does get me closer to understanding what I want to know, but I'm not there yet.

          My ultimate goal is to build the Paper clip computer with my kids. http://bitsavers.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de/pdf/paperClipComputer/How_To_Build_A_Working_Digital_Computer_Jun67.pdf )

          Anyway, these are all very great in their own way. I'm glad to see that they are still available.

          Thanks,

          Alex



          --- In friendsofdigicomp@yahoogroups.com, "Knurly" wrote:
          >
          > Thanks, a particularly informative comment among several opinions. As maybe the only one here with all four items (PLUS a young daughter), you're in a unique position to compare "learning value." It's entirely reasonable that a smoothly working version of the DC2 would captivate a 7-year-old -- or to anyone, for that matter. (Rolling-ball devices in general seem to have that effect on people!) The fact that your daughter now understands binary math gives me a new appreciation for the DC2's potential... Would I be wrong to suppose that you yourself had a slight hand in helping her forge the connections? That's generally the way it works. Very few so-called educational toys instruct entirely by themselves. As I see it, they bring potential lesson(s) to the surface, but it usually takes some outside guidance (parent, teacher, manual, mentor) to deliver the instruction or develop the learning. BTW I appreciate your kind words about the DC1v2 manual, where I did my best to add value to the original toy.
          >
          > That said, I usually advise parents that they should hold off on introducing a DC1v2 to a child younger than about 12. IMO it's too tricky to build the kit, and the logic/programming is too sophisticated. After all, the manual had to be written "to" a certain reading level, and "for" a certain user. Perhaps with a 7-year-old, maybe the best thing would be to put the DC1 on a high shelf, tantalizingly out of reach, for a few years? Or maybe there's a way to bridge from DC2 to DC1? If there is, you'll find it. (Parents generally ignore my advice anyway.)
          >
          > /Tim - Minds-On Toys
          >
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