Boolean card game is a logical step to teach coding

It’s the most logical thing in the world — if you play your cards right.
Boolean card game is a logical step to teach coding
Adam Donovan who plays George Boole with visitors from Gaelcholáiste Charraig Uí Leighin.

An interactive card game has been launched to teach students Boolean logic — one of the fundamental coding principles which powers the digital world and helps developers build computer games like Minecraft and Candy Crush.

The CEIA, Cork’s Technology Network which represents hi-tech firms, announced plans yesterday to roll out its CEIA Boolean Internet Roadshow to bring the Bo01ean logic card game to schools all over Ireland over the coming months.

The game has been developed to mark the bicentenary of the birth of mathematical genius George Boole, the first professor of maths at University College Cork who developed Boolean logic.

George Boole
George Boole

Boolean logic is a form of algebra in which all values are reduced to either true or false.

The concept is used in computer science because it works with the binary numbering system, and, when true or false values are combined with ‘and’, ‘or’, and ‘not’ commands, computers can be programmed to carry out various functions.

Funded by Science Foundation Ireland and developed in partnership with UCC’s Boole2School programme, the role-playing card game represents the true and false values of Boolean logic as they are found in everyday scenarios.

The game has been designed to be used by schoolchildren as an engaging and fun way to understand logic.

CEIA’s skills and education chairwoman, Valerie Cowman, said while Boolean logic may sound complex, it is actually the simplest of logics and is the very basics of computing.

“Through our Boolean logic game cards, students as young as those in sixth class can understand and have fun with logic,” she said.

The application of logic in everyday scenarios is not obvious to students, even though it is the fundamental basis of every computer, laptop, tablet and smartphone, Ms Cowman said.

Adam Donovan who plays George Boole with visitors from Gaelcholáiste Charraig Uí Leighin.
Adam Donovan who plays George Boole with visitors from Gaelcholáiste Charraig Uí Leighin.

Games such as Candy Crush and Minecraft are clear examples of Boolean logic at work and the Bo01ean logic game will demonstrate how Boolean maths influences our lives, she added.

The CEIA has been working with schools in the Cork region for a number of years to drive the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics agenda.

The Bo01ean logic game was devised by Eamon Connolly, CEIA’s outreach officer, and Brian English, a CEIA board member. It was piloted with students in sixth class before being adopted by science teachers at the Eureka Centre in UCC.

Last month, the Irish Secondary Teacher’s Association introduced the game to their classrooms nationally. It is now being distributed free of charge to students, teachers, and parents through the CEIA website.

Meanwhile, students in schools from over 30 countries around the world are poised to take part in the ambitious Boole2School online maths lesson next Monday, November 2, to mark Boole’s birthday.

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