Damian Gordon


Using analogies has long been used to help explain complex ideas in teaching. One of the most important ideas that a computing student must understand is the basic architecture of a digital computer. Since the late 1960s the standard teaching approach used to explain computer architecture is the Little Man Computer (LMC) Paradigm. This research seeks to expand upon this standard explanation through the use of a relatively recently developed technique called Extended Analogy. Extended analogy seeks to combine regular analogy with exaggeration or dramatic emphasis. In this case the LMC paradigm is extended by use of Samuel Beckett's play "Krapp's Last Tape". The students were presented with a range of exercises based on the play, including creative tasks such as writing a poem, writing a dramatic scene, and drawing pictures. They were designed to take cognisance of learning styles and, in particular, a new model of learning styles developed by the author. The complete process was assessed qualitatively and received a mostly positive reaction.