FAQ

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][custom_headline type=”center” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h2″ accent=”true” style=”margin-top: 0;”]Frequently Asked Questions[/custom_headline][gap size=”30px”][columnize] Children of today are the computer coders of tomorrow. At the moment, the world of coding is dominated by mathematicians, scientists and engineers (in a male dominated industry). But it shouldn’t be this way. Coding is very creative – it’s not just about geeks. We need to encourage diversity and creativity in coding to ensure that in the future our computer programs appeal to as much of the population as possible. When you see children playing with Bits & Bytes it’s an amazing experience. It appeals equally to both boys and girls and its flexibility encourages creativity. Bits & Bytes is a tool that helps prepare children for the world of coding regardless if they are 4 or 11. [blockquote cite=” Ian Livingstone (CBE, Founder – Games Workshop)” type=”center”]”Coding is creative, poets make the best coders. Code is empowering. Get them coding and you won’t hear a squeak out of them”[/blockquote]With any new game we understand people might have questions or things they are unsure about. If you have a question then please ask us here or we might have already answered it below.[/columnize][gap size=”-80px”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row no_margin=”true” padding_top=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” border=”none”][vc_column width=”1/2″][feature_headline type=”center” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h4″ icon=”question”]Playing the Game[/feature_headline][accordion id=”faq-1″][accordion_item parent_id=”faq-1″ title=”What happens if a player is blocked in by walls and they cannot reach Ram?”]In the case where a player has tried all possible routes to reach Ram but every route is blocked by a Wall then the player (on their turn) can nominate to remove any Wall. Once the Wall has been removed the player can then have their normal turn.[/accordion_item][accordion_item title=”Can a player leave the Grid (i.e. they are on the far left side of the Grid and then turn left and try to move forward)?” parent_id=”faq-1″]No. A player cannot leave the Grid (where the Grid is defined by the starting layout of cards – the default starting Grid is 8 cards x 8 cards).[/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”faq-1″ title=”Once a player has used their Instruction card what happens? Can they only play a card once?”]No. In the standard game a player receives one of each Instruction card (i.e. Move Forward, Turn Right, Turn Left, Turn Around). On their turn they show the other players the Instruction card they want to play and then move their Programme as per the Instruction card. The player keeps their Instruction cards (does not hand them over, only shows the Instruction they want to play to the other players). When playing the Advanced Rules on a players turn they receive all the Instruction cards and must lay out all the cards necessary for their Programme to safety reach Ram (home). A card can only be played once. If they succeed they have won the game, if they do not reach Ram safely then it is the next players turn with all the Instruction cards (and this continues for all players until somebody reaches Ram). Please note: a player cannot turn and move on the same turn. This is two moves.[/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”faq-1″ title=”When I set up the game I have Grid cards left over?”]This is correct. The default Grid size is 8 cards x 8 cards = 56 cards, but we have included 60 Grid cards in the game. The additional cards are used to adjust the difficulty level (for example: players could remove the 2 CPU cards, or a Player could remove 2 Wall cards and replace them with Blank cards, etc). Before starting the game the players must agree on the degree of difficulty and remove 4 Grid cards. The default game would require the players to remove 2 Wall cards and 2 Blank cards.[/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”faq-1″ title=”How do I use the FUNCTION gem card?”]The player should play these on their turn, either on its own on in conjunction with an Instruction card. A player can only use the FUNCTION card once (on one turn). The use of the FUNCTION card is limited only by the players imagination – so if a player can play the card in such a way that allows them to reach Ram then great, however they can’t simply say “DO move me UNTIL i reach ram” or something similar as their FUNCTION needs to use individual steps (commands/instructions). There are only three valid methods of playing the FUNCTION card and they need to be phrased correctly. The first two methods are:
  • IF… THEN… For example, the player could say IF there is a wall in front of me THEN remove the wall
  • DO… UNTIL… For example, the player could say DO move me forward UNTIL i reveal a wall
Other valid examples of using the FUNCTION card (for these two methods) include: “DO move forward UNTIL i reveal a wall” “DO move forward and then turn right UNTIL i hit a wall” “MOVE FORWARD and IF i reveal a bug THEN turn right” (in this example the player has played an Instruction card and the FUNCTION card) Of course if the player reveals a BUG or a CPU (special card) then the player’s function has failed (unless their FUNCTION took into account they might reveal a BUG or CPU) and the normal rules for the revealed card applies. If a person finds two FUNCTION cards then they should be able to nest the cards i.e. play the two FUNCTIONS at the same time. For example: DO move forward IF find a bug THEN turn right UNTIL i hit a wall The final valid method for using the FUNCTION card is RUN PROGRAMME. For this method the player places out in front of them multiple INSTRUCTIONS (using the left over Instructions cards) in the sequence they want their Programme to follow on the ONE turn. Once the  Player has laid out every Instruction/Step then the player should say “RUN PROGRAMME”. They can then move their Programme through each instruction/step (still following the rules and revealing the card in front of them before moving forward):
  • If the Programme reveals a WALL or a BUG the Programme is returned to where they were on the Grid before they played the FUNCTION card
  • If the Programme reveals the CPU the normal rules of encountering CPU are played (i.e. the game is RESET)
  • If a FUNCTION card is revealed then the player can remove it from the board and use it later
[/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”faq-1″ title=”In the basic/standard game can I just point to the Instruction card rather than having to show it?”]Yes. As players begin to master the game they start to understand the cards and what they do. A player can simply state what card they want to play (i.e. TURN RIGHT). Alternatively they can lay the cards out in front of them and simply point to the INSTRUCTION card they want to play. It is really up to the players how they want to issue their INSTRUCTIONS – but bear in mind the normal rules apply. If a player is playing the FUNCTION card or is playing the Advanced game then they should lay out the cards in front of them so it is clear to all players what they are trying to do (when developers actually code it is important for them to add commenting to their code so anybody else reading the code understands what the code does – by ensuring players do lay out cards in front of them when performing an advanced move, like playing a FUNCTION card, so all players can understand and learn from it).[/accordion_item][/accordion][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][feature_headline type=”center” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h4″ icon=”trophy”] Benefits of Bits & Bytes[/feature_headline][accordion id=”faq-2″][accordion_item parent_id=”faq-2″ title=”How does Bits and Bytes teach children computational thinking?”]The term computational thinking is not used to describe how computers think (computers don’t think after all) but it describes the process behind programming a computer. Computer programmes are a series of steps and by playing Bits and Bytes children learn to think in a stepped approach (i.e. Turn Left and then Move Forward). They also learn to sequence instructions together to achieve their goals – they are learning algorithms![/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”faq-2″ title=”Apart from computational thinking what other skills are children learning?”]Great question! And there are far too many to answer in a short note. However here are a few to get you started… At a young age children need to learn how to break problems down into their individual components (or steps). This is one reason why we emphasise that a player turning is one turn (a player can not turn and move on the same turn). It sounds simple we know, but children immediately think turning and moving is one step and not two steps. This is a fundamental part of computational thinking as well as being a key component of problem solving (understanding that a solution to a problem involves many steps/components) – a skill that will be invaluable later in life and for all subjects. Further to the above, evaluating problem solving methods in Maths and Science subjects in the new curriculum (in England primary schools) is a key skill to be taught, and this is also supported by Bits and Bytes. The game has been deliberately designed to familiarise children with the world of computer programming/coding in very subtle ways. For example, the font used is commonly found in code editors/development environments; the terms used are common computer terms/expressions; the Function gem introduces children to the function command and how it is used – a key element of computer coding. The Back Story of the game explains (at a high level) how computers actually work. When you run a programme on a computer it lives/exists in the Computer’s RAM (Random Access Memory) and the brain (or overlord) of the computer is the CPU (Central Processing Unit). Through our testing we found children had no knowledge of how computers physically worked but after playing the game they were then asked questions about how computers worked and they knew the answers simply from recalling the back story to Bits & Bytes. Bits and Bytes prepares children for the world of coding, so they can leap right in. Bits and Bytes even supports early years literacy. The font is child-friendly with clear graphics to support non-readers and early readers alike in reinforcing recognition of the initial sounds and spelling of character names. The character names are largely decodable, further encouraging word / grapheme recognition – for example, BIT is a CVC word (consonant –vowel-consonant). The earliest decoding and blending of sounds within words happens this way and Early Years reading books are largely decodable to support early readers.   And there is many more…[/accordion_item][accordion_item parent_id=”faq-2″ title=”How does Bits & Bytes encourage diversity?”]Bits and Bytes has been especially designed to be gender and ethnicity neutral (for example, colours typically associated with certain genders are avoided). The game appeals to both boys and girls. The rules are customisable to suit young children as well as older children. The affordability of the game was an essential criteria when designing the game – we didn’t want the game to be reliant on expensive technology (thus limiting the learning of coding/programming only to those who can afford computers, tablets, etc). Did you know for the price of one “netbook” (that 1, possibly 2, children can use at the same time) you could buy 10 games of Bits and Bytes (teaching up to 40 children at the same time the fundamentals of computer coding). The size and packaging of Bits and Bytes was another essential design element of Bits and Bytes. We wanted the game to be compact so it could fit into hand luggage (to be as portable as a tablet is) and it was critical for the game to be easily stored in a class room without taking up precious space.[/accordion_item][/accordion][/vc_column][/vc_row]
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