I was invited by my friends at the School For Poetic Computation (SFPC) to share some teaching tips with fellow design and technology teachers following their Learning to Teach, Teaching to Learn conference from last week. It is based on my Digital Platforms class for 2nd year students at Shenkar College‘s Visual Communication program (and previously at Parsons and Bezalel) I usually prepare the class in advance with a blogpost so here goes:
- Traditional phones ceremony
- How are you doing?
- Our plan for today
Robot Get Out!
I will be standing at the middle of class with an instruction note pasted to my back:
This robot comes pre-installed with a speech interface only.
Program it to leave the room.
The students would have to define logical instructions to program me to leave the room. This will often include:
- defining the hardware (the body)
- defining the joints
- defining movement
- defining mathematical parameters
- defining the memory
- creating a function
- passing variables to the function
- defining loops
- breaking out of a loop
- collision detection
- and more…
The assignment is amusing, awkward, sometimes frustrating and slightly painful (for me), but it is very challenging and gets them to learn a lot in a fun way. I didn’t invent it but I couldn’t find the original source, I think it was someone at MIT. If you find out who it was, please @mushon me.
From Paper to Screen
- Atoms → Bites
- Paint → Light
- Color plane → Pixel grid
- Static → Dynamic (format)
- Static → Dynamic (content)
- Finalized product → Networked, connected, linked, rendered, standards based
- Printer → Coder / Printmaking → Coding
- Traditional design patterns → New and constantly evolving design patterns
- Limited distribution → (potentially) unlimited distribution
- Technical constraints → Technical constraints
- Gathers dust → Requires maintenance
- The work ends when you launch → When you launch, the work only begins
A building isn’t something you finish, a building is something you start
All buildings are predictions, all predictions are wrong
—Stuart Brand / How Buildings Learn
What is the smallest unit in the screen?
Some words about vectors vs. pixels and about bitmap, grayscale and sub-pixel rendering.
How the internet works?
- What is the cloud?
- What’s front-end?
- What’s back-end?
- What does the browser do?
- How is the page rendered?
- Show Firefox’s 3D visualization of the BOX model
Content Structure and Presentation
- The separation methodology
- The difference between interaction design and visual design
- The role of the designer in the technology world is to speak for the humans
Other tips and tricks we won’t have time for
- A Week Without Google
- Using blogs for teaching:
- Don’t give everybody feedback in class
- Use some critiques to define parameters for critique on the whiteboard (then have students post the picture on the blog)
- Commenting right after class: yourself + 2 others
- No comments from me before there’s a comment from the student
- Use blog comments as starters for class conversations
- The sociometric test
- Mapping with your feet
- Design / Engineering stereotype disclosure – what do designers think of engineers? what do engineers think of designers?
- Visualize Small Data
Example of a class blog (it’s in hebrew, but if you’re brave, try auto-translate)
My article on teaching with blogs:
When Teaching Becomes an Interaction Design Task: Networking the Classroom with Collaborative Blogs
Video my NYU Media Culture and Communication made:
*image credit: Taeyoon Choi / SFPC