Sunday, August 20, 2006

Mathcast Storyboard

Structure: split pane, left/right, two realms of action, synchronized.

Format: I'd recommend targetting HDTV's 16:9 format.

Left pane: Victorian in the movies look, pulling some leather- bound volume, perhaps fiction, off the shelf (looks like some library in Borges, or maybe @ Sunnydale High, Giles standing by).

Right pane: more futuristic graphical instrumentation, showing exploded DocBook XML in an illuminated tree diagram (more like some Klingon control panel).

Action: actor on left thumbs through book, her or his focus (sometimes 1st person) flitting to pictures, across pages; while meanwhile the illumating cursor jumps around in the scrolling XML tree to the corresponding nodes.

Audio: paper shuffle, muffled reader noises (sotto voce perhaps) mixed with electronic bling.

The point of this action: record that the parts of a book may be represented in a tree structure, and encoded in human-readable, machine-parsable XML.

Curriculum objective: gradually increase a student's comfort level with XML, with previews of and forays into such markups as SVG, XHTML, MathML, DocBook, X3D plus roll-your-own XMLs (and/or SGMLs if you must).

Obviously such a storyboard could be implemented in lots of different ways, even given these stylistic stipulations (sort of "Victorian meets Vulcan"). That's OK. A storyboard is like a class template, capable of spawning any number of special case instances.

Experiment with switched panes, top/bottom etc. Keep in mind that future includers may be looking for convenient splice points inside your segment.