There are tons of ways to do what you need.
The board should be this:
If you can I would suggest to make a board or use a breadboard with tons of switches on it that connects to the 3E board I/O expansion port, that's the big connector on the right. If you need help on how to wire the switches we would be glad to help you.
That first soultion is good especially in the long run, eventually you will need much more I/O's, but maybe you don't have the time/skills/money required to do such a board. There is another option: you could input the data serially, using only a slide switch and a push button. Imagine that: you set the slide to 0 or to 1, then tap the pushbutton, the first bit is then 0 or 1. You move the slider again, give the PB a tap, and so on. That would be painfully slow and cumbersome, and prone to errors, but:
- you won't need any external HW
- you will learn how to sample external data and such (I bet this all thing is for educational purposes)
For the records you might want to use a simulator to test your design, I believe there's a free version of ModelSim, or whatever you want to use. Using simulators is good to test the behaviour of your code in ideal conditions, i.e. no delays or whatever, and for such a simple design it should probably be more than enough.