Archive for November, 2009
This was actually the idea that lead to the creation of this blog. It wasn’t necessarily the only idea on the table to discuss, but it was the motivation for this blog.
The basic premise behind this idea is two-fold. First, our education system in America is great at teaching the “how” and very poor at teaching the “why”. How many times have you heard a student ask when they would actually use the information that they were being taught? Second, there is a lot of other useful information that would be helpful for students when it comes to personal and career situations.
Here are some examples:
1. Beyond balancing a check book, when did a teacher ever explain a practical application for algebra or calculus?
2. In English class did a teacher ever explain that reading and writing would increase your vocabulary, spelling accuracy, and help you write reports and emails later on in your career?
3. In college, did a professor ever tell you that your first employer will probably want a copy of your transcripts and see the classes you did poorly in or withdrew from?
The list of examples could go on forever and hopefully you’re getting the point. So here is the solution, if we can make time for sex education, we can start a “Here’s Why Program” to teach students why they need to learn what learning and how it will impact their lives in later years. The greatest benefit from a program such as this is that students will now understand the “value” of the education they are being given. The “how” provides the foundation, but the “why” brings credibility and “value” to the students efforts. Not every student will “value” their education and some will place more “value” then others, but a simple program such as this to bring the real world into the classrooms could have tremendous benefits for the education of our youth.
If you knew that the calculus formula you had the learn and solve on test is used by automobile engineers to calculate the noise in the cabin from wind while driving, all of a sudden the stupid math formula you have to study now becomes cool because you have an “understanding” of its use.
I feel very strongly about this idea in particular so please pass this on and use the comments section below to submit useful pieces of information on topics taught in school and what the real world application is and hopefully something will come of this. It’s very important that we continuously improve our education system and continue to invest in the youth of our nation.
This is a short one, but to all the developers out there and future developers… if you want to be the best, you must think like a user. As technology becomes more prevalent, software (user interfaces) is going to become a bigger part of all our lives. You can now purchase a robot vacuum or lawn mower or control your air conditioning unit through the Internet. Every appliance already has a computer in it, even your toaster, so it’s only a matter a time before your toaster has a user interface to go along with it. Hopefully the person writing the code for that toaster read this post.
Machine language is something that is not part of our day to day, which is why we have user interfaces, and GUIs are supposed to be easy, intuitive, and reliable for the user. So software doesn’t begin with the code, it begins with the user. Put yourself in the shoes of the user and think like a user. Make your software simple and intelligent.
The Best Developers Think Like Users!