I'm teaching some introduction lessons to a classroom of 6-8 year olds about basic 21st century skills. A fundamental part of this is how computers represent numbers, words and images, which all starts with understanding binary representation of a number.
When explaining this in the past, I have never not confused anyone with notation. For example trying to explain the difference between '11' (binary) and '11' (decimal) is hopelessly confusing because it looks like the exact same thing, and saying 'one one' almost always leads someone to think 'well one plus one is two, what is this dude going on about it being 3'.
I think the problem is that we use the same symbol for decimal and binary notation here, while there is not strictly a reason for it (it's convenient if you already know how it all works, but not before that).
So I'm thinking of using different symbols. Like ● for 'this bit is on', and ⊗ for 'this bit is off', so that I would write e.g.
3 = ●●
5 = ●⊗●
Any ideas on this? Would this help? Are there already other symbols being used for this purpose, symbols that don't rely on the glyphs we use for 0-9?