Shrinking a Big World.
(opens new window)Taking something large and packaging it into something short, sweet and understandable is a designers passion. Taking a step back it is also a programmer and teachers passion.
Yesterday I had the honor to give a top down talk and tutorial of a web site manager to my Senior Seminar group. This included all the logic behind a site managers functionality down to the implementation using PHPSimpl (opens new window)
It was really great to be able to explain my passion for the web and visualize it on a whiteboard to people who initially could not grasp even a part of the process, to in the end being so excited about the system they wanted to run to a computer and start coding.
My first attempt to get the group involved was to trace through a web manager and go into detail about how everything connected, this failed miserably. So taking a step back I reverted back to my love for design and took a high level approach and then lead down to the actual code.
A whiteboard is the best teaching tool in my opinion, you can sit at a computer all day and look at code and understand but without seeing the relationships between everything coding can only go so far. Understanding the whole system only breeds better system development, less chance of code clash and fewer bugs.
What it comes down to is the ability to take the huge world of a program, a site, or a collection of sites and package it up to give relevance to the actual user. We do this when creating navigation for a site all the way to creating features for the content management system which houses over 200 sites.
The best programmers, designers and educators can take the massive amounts of data and sum it up, package it and deliver it directly to the brain to influence excitement and energy into the students and process.
My hat goes to all those teachers out there who get to practice this passion to inspire, keep up the good work.